Boredom buster games for your preschooler

Every parent has faced this dilemma. You have a minute of downtime between activities and your kids are bored. As an adult, it’s usually not a big deal to wait 15 minutes. As a preschooler, it’s a lot more difficult. Your preschooler gets antsy, whiney, or even rambunctious when they have to spend some time waiting for the next fun thing to happen. 

When you’re faced with a few minutes of downtime and your kids are jumping off the walls, you need a boredom buster. Some parents pull out a phone or other digital device. But, let’s face it, you aren’t always prepared with fun activities and you don’t always want to resort to technology to entertain your kids. Thankfully preschoolers are entertained with a few simple games. Try these no-prep activities the next time you’re stuck in line with bored kids. 

Scavenger hunt

Although it’s easier to play outside, you can start a scavenger hunt with your kids anytime and anywhere. Simply come up with a list of 5-10 things that you child could find within your direct line of sight and send your preschooler out to find them. You can make a list of specific items, or a more generalized list such as “something round,” or “something fuzzy”. Make sure to play it in a safe space where you’ll be able to see your kids during the hunt.

Eye spy

A favorite of young kids everywhere, eye spy can be played anywhere from the car to the doctor’s office. In this game, turns saying, “I spy with my little eye, something (describe the item)” Most preschoolers do well with a basic description of the item (such as color or size). Jazz the game up for older kids by being more specific with your description.

Thumb war

Have you ever played “Thumb war” with a preschooler? It’s a riot. Clasp opposite hands with your child. Your fingers should grip your child’s fingers (who are also gripping yours). This should allow your thumbs to “dance” in a thumb war. Move your thumbs around until someone can pin the other person’s thumb for 3 seconds. Give your preschooler the advantage by letting them “cheat” with an additional hand as needed.

Rock, paper, scissors

Nearly everyone has played this game, but your preschooler will love it. Both you and your child will pick either rock (fisted hand), paper (flat hand), or scissors (two-fingers in a scissors shape). You say, “Rock, Paper, Scissors” and make the shape with your hand. Winners are determined by the shape chosen. For example, paper covers rock, rock breaks scissors, and scissors cut paper. Play for two out of three wins.

Touch and point

Need an active game? Similar to “Eye spy”, touch and point requires you to call out colors or objects within the nearby visible area. Once your child spy’s the item their job is to run as fast as they can and touch it.

Every parent deals with filling a few minutes for their preschooler while you wait. Use these no-prep games to keep your kids busy.