Idle time games are perfect when you have free time. Every program has this, and how you plan and prepare for those moments will give your program structure while keeping it fun for your staff and kids. Always remember that you can use anything to keep kids occupied. You may have to wait on a bus, a group transitioning from outside to inside, or keeping kids occupied during a bathroom break. These idle time games are great because you don’t need extra staff or a big budget to pull them off. Your participants deserve to have fun options while they wait, and this will cut down on behavior problems because they will be engaged with the game. I have listed some of my favorites in the Resource Zone under the Contest category. I will keep adding ideas as this list could really go on and on. I have listed with a brief explanation some of my favorites below. Enjoy!
- Keys/Change – Pull out your keys. Have your campers guess the keys on your key ring. Have them guess the date on your loose change (Penny, Nickel, etc…), you can even let them have it!
- Dollar Drop – Have a kid stand up and hold their hand out with their palms facing. Hold a dollar bill over the opening in their hands. The object is for them to try and catch the dollar bill in between their hands. If you don’t want to loose the dollar bill, make sure their hands are spread wide enough apart and that you hold the dollar bill close enough to drop all the way through.
- Balancing – Have a balance contest. Call up a couple kids and see who can balance on one leg the longest. Make it harder by adding things like you have to close your eyes, pat your head, or rub your stomach.
- Who Wants To Be In My Club – Make a patterned hand movement. Call up one kid at a time to repeat what you have just done.
- Going On A Cruise – Start off by saying “My Name is “Dustin Williams and I am going on a cruise. On this cruise I am going to bring Doughnuts and Wings.” Ask the kids what two items are they going to bring. The two items the kids choose must start with their first letter of their first and last name. If they do this right, tell them they can go on the cruise with you! As you do a 2nd round, make it harder and choose a different formation. Maybe the 3rd letter of their first and last name.
These idle time games are just simple things you can do. Be creative, and come up with some more. I always tell my staff that they are just kids, don’t worry about over thinking the idle time game. They are bored, they will like almost anything you do. They don’t like to just sit around. Make the magic happen! Ask your kids what ideas they have, you will be surprised at what you hear.