Language Games to Play with Your Child in Waiting Rooms

“Waiting room”… appropriately named! We wait with our children in hockey arenas, dance studios, dental offices, in traffic and in grocery store check-outs. Keeping our kids engaged in a fun activity usually makes the waiting time much better. Having activities to do that don’t require any props are the key to “happy waiting”.  My kids would ask to play games that were “inside my head”.
Here are a few games from inside my head…

Higgy Piggy

To play Higgy Piggy, you create a riddle and the answer is two rhyming words. This is best played with kids who understand the concepts. It targets synonyms and rhyming.  One person comes up with the question and the rest, guess. For example: Q: What is my favourite bug? A: Best pest Q: What does a cold ship wear? A: A boat coat.

I Spy

Waiting rooms are often limited in colour but to target adjectives, you can also pick an item by its shape, size, texture etc. “I Spy with my little eye something that is yellow or round or a parallelogram or tiny or bumpy”.  Everyone takes turns guessing what is spied.  The winner of the round chooses the next object.

20 Questions

This is also a fun game for kids of all ages that targets question generation and convergent thinking skills. Everyone agrees on the category or group they will all pick from (for example animals, food, sports). When it’s your turn, choose an item from this category. Then, everyone asks yes or no questions about your item and tries to guess what it is. For example: It’s an animal. Is it a pet? No. Is it a farm animal? Yes.  Does it lay eggs? No. Does it moo? No. Is it pink? Yes.

Tell a Tale

Someone starts by making up the beginning of a story…perhaps something dramatic like “Once upon a time in a creeky old house….” The next person adds to the story….”there lived a three-legged orange monkey”. Each person takes their turn connecting an idea to the story. It encourages everyone to think creatively!

Cherry and Pit

This activity is an excellent conversation starter and an opportunity to support each other. When it’s your turn, you tell about the best part of your day…the cherry and the worst thing about your day…..the pit. Matching your response to the others cherry or pit with cheers or support is an excellent social language skill for children to practice.

I’m going on a Picnic

This is an alphabet/memory game. Start the game by saying “I’m going on a trip and in my suitcase I will pack A for alligator shoes” (or any word that begins with A).The next person says “I’m going on a trip and in my suitcase I will pack A for alligator shoes, B for a broom” The next person tries to remember everything the person before them brought and adds an item with the next letter of the alphabet. Chances are, the waiting will be over before you get to Z.