Play Time Ideas

Family time should be fun time and what’s more fun than play? Adapt our ideas so they fit with your family and enjoy nature and each other.

Rainy Day Activities!

Even the most well planned, flexible family vacations can include rainy days and a little boredom for young family members. While a little rain doesn’t have to deter a family bent on having a good time outdoors, sometimes there is just a touch too much. Try a couple of these activities to keep the vacation fun-filled and smooth.


Wherever you’re going, whatever your plans are, bring a book the whole family will enjoy and take turns reading to one another. Some family favourites: Charlotte’s Web (of course), The Journey of Natty Gann (about one young girl’s adventures during the Great Depression), Harry Potter (always worth another read), the Secret Garden, Little Women, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Little House on the Prairie…and the list goes on.

Collage or Scrapbook

Glue, scissors, and paper, pencils…the rest can be found wherever you are. Make beach collages or vacation scrapbooks (hotel stationary, ticket stubs, pressed flowers or leaves, hand-drawn pictures of what you have seen and done, maps…)


Wherever you go, there’s sure to be some sort of trees or plants or other great textured pieces of nature. Collect a small sample (one leaf or so) of different types of natural objects to save for some downtime. When the pocket of time presents itself, bring out all you have collected and make rubbings by placing them beneath paper and lightly rubbing the paper with a crayon or pencil. All sorts of beautiful designs can be found!

On-the-Go Fun Series (play time)

Ideas for Activities for families and kids while traveling

Car and Plane Fun

Games to play on AirplanesSummer vacations mean fewer distractions for everyone in the family. Of course, sometimes, there’s too few distractions and boredom can threaten. Have no fear – the Earthy Family On-the-Go Fun is here! Over the next few weeks we’ll highlight fun activities to keep the whole family in good spirits as you travel.


Games to play in the CarStrapped into car seats and plane seats and nothing to do? Remember that life is all about attitude and instead of dreading this time, think of it as a great way to kick off and close down your vacation. Try some of these games and activities keep you occupied and involved with one another.

Sing Along:

If you don’t know very many songs that you can all sing together, borrow a tape or CD from the library, or pick one up before you head out. Or, ask everyone to bring one to share with the rest of the family.

Map Plotting:

Most kids love maps and map reading is a great skill to learn on a distance trip. Give each child a map so they can keep track of where you’re going and note the towns and attractions as you pass them.

Guess What Number I’m Thinking of

Take turns picking a number between 1 and 10. Everyone else can guess which number the person who is “it” is thinking of. The person who gets it right gets to be “it”, and so on, and so on…

Books on Tape/CD

Buy or borrow a book on tape that the whole family will enjoy. Kids can draw pictures of the story they are listening to.

Practice Tongue Twisters:

Here are a few to get you started:

How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood? He’d chop as much wood as a woodchuck could chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood.

She sells seashells by the seashore

Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers. How many pickled peppers did Peter Piper pick?

A noisy noise annoys an oyster.

Greek grapes

A-Z Anything!

Take turns naming things that begin with each letter of the alphabet. Choose a topic and the first person starts by naming something from your category that begins with A, the next person does B, the next person C, and so on. Choose from topics such as fruit (apples, bananas, cherries…); things you’ll do on your vacation (arrive at the beach, board a plane, camp…); things you’ve packed (atlas, band-aids, checkered pants…); towns in your province/state; countries of the world; things you like about summer; movie star names; songs…well, you get the idea. For long trips, let everyone have a chance to choose a topic.

I See It!

Have someone (anyone but the driver) write up a list of things you might possibly see on your trip. Think blue cars, buses, RV’s, specific animals (think wildlife and domestic), specific trees, flowers, rest stops, speed limit signs, etc. Then spend the next ½ hour (or other time limit that works for the ages of your family) all looking for your items. How many blue cars did you all see? How about pine trees or cows?

License Plate Game

Make up silly names or descriptions from the license plates of others you see on the road. For example: TJB 239 may stand for Tall Junkyard Baron; or SFH 783 may stand for Silly Fingered Harry.

Old Favourites:

Get creative, and pull out the old favourites to keep the good times rolling. Think Hangman, Tic Tac Toe, 20 Questions, Name that Tune, I Spy…

An anytime, anywhere fun

Playtime activity supplied by the Bruderhof Saving Childhood Forum

Stumped for ideas to pass the time? Here’s a fun activity for younger kids. All you need is a crayon, a piece of paper and objects with varying textures. Specify what shape or color of object the children should find or let them explore different surfaces. The children should lay the paper on the object and rub the crayon over it. They will discover exciting textures and patterns, and the papers will fill fast as they run from brick wall to leaves to asphalt.

When complete, hang the rubbings on a bulletin board or fridge door so others can guess what each object is.

Sidewalk Chalk
Homemade Recipe

Drawing on sidewalks is a ton of fun, and making your own chalk makes it even sweeter. You’ll need:

1 cup plaster of paris
4 Tbsp water
2 Tbsp powdered tempera paint
empty toilet paper rolls (1 for each piece of chalk you want to make)
wax paper
elastic bands (1 for each piece of chalk you want to make

Start by covering one end of the toilet paper rolls with waxed paper held in place by the elastic band. Mix the plaster of paris and powdered paint together, then stir in the water, adding more ½ Tbsp at a time until you get a smooth consistency. Pour into your toilet paper roll molds and let dry completely (this can take up to 3 or 4 days, so patience is needed). When dry, remove the toilet paper rolls and draw to your heart’s content (if you remove the mold before the chalk is totally dry, no problem; just set aside to air dry for another 12-24 hours). To make quicker drying chalk, use smaller molds such as cookie cutters placed on wax paper, or chocolate or candy molds.

Dandelion Jewelry
The height of summer fashion

Make dandelion chains to wear with pride in celebration of the Summer Solstice, occurring on June 20 th this year. The wonderful yellow heads of the dandelion are cheery symbols of our life-giving sun and can easily be fashioned into necklaces, bracelets, anklets and even waist sashes. Start your chain by knotting the stem of one dandelion to the stem of another, then knot that stem to a 3 rd flower stem. Continue until you have a chain long enough for the jewelry you want to fashion, then close the chain by knotting the last one to the first one.

Ooey, gooey, fun!

Make a bucket of slime to play with this week! Fill a small basin with your creation and let wee hands run their fingers through this interesting texture. For older kids, hide common objects in the slime and let them guess what the found plaything is just by the feel of it through the slime.

Mix 2 cups of water and ½ cup of cornstarch in a medium pot over medium heat until gooey and slimey. Cool, pour into a basin and slime away! This recipe is easily doubled or tripled for a large batch of slime, but remember to pour it into a big container to be played in. For green slime, add a few drops of food colouring, or use green water by first boiling the water with greens such as kale, spinach or even dandelions. If you do it this way, dissolve the cornstarch into a little cool water before adding to the hot green water (which you’ll want to strain first).

Pack Your Bag
A Memory Game

Kindly Provided by the Bruderhof Saving Childhood Forum

This is a memory game. The players may be seated in a circle or the game may be played on a trip while on the bus or train. The first player begins by saying, “I’m going to London (you may substitute other place names) and in my bag I packed ………..” He can say anything he likes, for example an orange, a pair of shoes, a telephone, or a pet dog. The next player in line begins the same way but adds a second object after repeating the first. The third player also begins, “I’m going to London and in my bag I packed ………..” He must repeat the first two objects and then add a third. So it goes on, but if a player can’t repeat or mixes up the order of the objects then he is out.

If you haven’t got many players, the same children can keep adding more items. The game continues until one player remains or until time is up. Some lists get very long and are remembered for years by the players. A variation is to decide that the objects chosen must start with the letters of the alphabet in order, for example “apple, bat, cake…zebra.” This makes it a little easier to remember.