Some of the more challenging moments of raising young children was learning how to stand patiently in line at the grocery store or sit quietly in the doctor’s office waiting room. There are several games you can play with older children to help keep their minds occupied, but what do you do with a toddler? Here are a few ideas:

Big or Little

Think of two objects your child is familiar with and which share some characteristic then ask your child which one is bigger. Some examples of combinations you might try could include

The desk or the coffee table

A grapefruit or a cherry

Your sock or my sock

A dog or an elephant

A house or a watermelon

 Broccoli or a tree

You get the idea. Relieve the pressure by taking turns with your child, having them come up with some combinations of their own. You can also mix up the question. Instead of asking which one is bigger, ask them which one is smaller and help them develop some listening skills.


From here, you can come up with a number of variations on the theme. From Big or Little, you could ask Hard or Soft:

The chair or the table

The carpet or the tile

The shredded cheese or the canned carrots

The pillow or the book

Last Resort

Music is a great last resort when your child is just plain tired of thinking. When the answers start coming a little slower, the game begins to get goofier, or your child simply stops responding, it’s time to completely switch tactics. Grab their attention back again by starting one of their favorite songs. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have the best voice in the world. Even if you’re in a quiet space, you can whisper sing to your child and encourage them to whisper-sing along with you. Perform the actions in subdued form and you’ll have just bought yourself another half hour.

What are some techniques you use to keep your tiny one busy through the wait times?

Line Games