Thursday, October 9, 2008

13 Ideas for Keeping Kids Occupied in the Check-Out Line


There are plenty of reasons to keep your kids busy while standing in line for the cashier. There's all that candy that's just "calling their name," the trashy magazines that you probably don't want little eyes perusing, and that propensity toward fighting tired, bored and hungry kids are famous for.

So here are some ideas:

1. The smiling game. Two people stare each other down and use all of their facial contortion comedy and creativity to make the other person smile first. (This game is usually easier to determine a winner than the staring game in which the first person to blink loses).

2. Use the time to practice times tables, spelling words, or bible verse memorization

3. Play "I spy" if you have younger kids or "20 questions" if your kids are older.

4. Come up with grocery awards with silly categories. For example if the category were "best hair" your kids might decide that a head of broccoli wins or a dust mop. Other categories might be "prettiest color," "best dressed" (for most attractive packaging), "best smile" (I can just picture a couple of kids getting a hilarious kick out of giving that award to the raw chicken drumsticks) "best at rolling down a hill," "loudest noise when you eat it." And of course, each child might want to have his own award "If I were a grocery, I would be..."

5. If your kids are older and you have a particularly long line, you might want to do a Yes/No Riddle.

6. Adults usually get tired of thumb wars really quickly, but if you made a policy that cashier lines are the only places where you will engage in them with your kids, they might learn to look forward to standing in line!

7. Before you get up close enough to see, let each person guess the first letter of cashier's name. The person whose letter is closest wins! You can let each player guess an actual name to go with their letter as well. Wouldn't they be excited if they actually guessed it on the nose one day!

8. Have a little bag of toys only for the grocery store. These can be little hand/eye coordination games like bearing ball mazes, catch the ice cream scoop on the cone, etc.

9. Do tongue twisters!

10. Play the quiet game. The person who can go longest without speaking is the winner. You would think that children would see through this one immediately as an adult ruse for peace, but its funny how many times kids will get excited about it!

11. Encourage your kids to make up a story using the objects in the grocery cart.

12. Have your kids play rocks, scissors, paper an absurdly large number of times (e.g. best out of 39) for some small prize (extra piece of gum, front seat on the way home, etc.)

13. See who can come up with the grossest sandwich idea using three different items in the cart.

What are your tricks for a stress-free grocery-line experience?

10 comments:

siteseer said...

You have a lot of good ideas. I should print them out for when my little one is big enough to play. Right now she is just easily distracted. My little one is my granddaughter. My own kids I would have just beaten to within inches of their lives and they believed me lol

Jen said...

Cute ideas!

Michelle M. said...

What a great list! I am definitely going to try some of these.

I just did my first Thursday Thirteen.

Lori said...

I see you're a thinking woman. Personally, I could never make it past screaming, threatening and praying (LOL).

Crazy Working Mom said...

What great ideas! Thanks for the suggestions. I will definitely remember these in the future.

My TT ~ My CrAzY Wednesday (Morning)

aliceaudrey said...

I'm a bad mommy. When my kids were young and squirmy I would only keep them occupied with games like these for a little while. Then I let them scream so the check out clerk would get a move on. Hey, it worked.

aliceaudrey said...

I'm a bad mommy. When my kids were young and squirmy I would only keep them occupied with games like these for a little while. Then I let them scream so the check out clerk would get a move on. Hey, it worked.

Lori said...

I see you're a thinking woman. Personally, I could never make it past screaming, threatening and praying (LOL).

Crazy Working Mom said...

What great ideas! Thanks for the suggestions. I will definitely remember these in the future.

My TT ~ My CrAzY Wednesday (Morning)

Michelle M. said...

What a great list! I am definitely going to try some of these.

I just did my first Thursday Thirteen.