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Waiting for a bus? Stuck in a queue or a traffic jam? Or maybe it’s pouring with rain outside? Here are some fun, free games you can play with the kids to keep them happy and entertained. These games can even help them with their spelling and maths – but sssh, don’t tell them that!

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Free fun games to play together

Game #1: Amazing inventions

Talking to your kid about inventions is a great way to keep them entertained. Ask them 'What does an inventor do?' to get them thinking. If they're not sure, you could talk about characters like Willy Wonka – and people like Steve Jobs, the guy who invented iPads and iPhones. You could explain that an inventor creates new things that people haven’t seen before. Turn it into a game by drawing pictures of your own inventions and see if you can guess what each other’s inventions are for!

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Game #2: Who am I?

This is a great way of passing time on journeys or while you’re waiting in a queue! One of you picks a famous person or animal to be – they could be real, someone from history, or from a book or film. For example, you could be Gran or their teacher, Mary Queen of Scots or Robert the Bruce, Harry Potter or Matilda, Olaf or Yoda. The other person then has to ask questions to try and work out who you are. The problem is, you can only answer yes or no to the questions. How quickly can you guess?

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Game #3: Consequences

This is a great game for practising their writing and spelling – and can be hilarious too! Each player has a piece of paper. Without anyone else seeing what you’re writing, everyone writes a boy’s name at the top of the paper. This can be anyone’s name – a friend, a famous person or someone from history. Then everyone folds the paper over so you can’t see the name and passes it to the player on their right. Everyone now writes “met” plus a girl’s name. Everyone folds the paper and passes it on. Next you write “in” and a place – this could be anywhere. Fold the paper and pass it on. Next you write “He said” and something the boy could say. Fold and pass it on. Next you write “She said” and something the girl could say. Fold and pass it on. Finally, write “And the consequence was…” and make up an ending. 

Because no-one knows what the other players are writing this can have some very funny outcomes. Batman met Ariana Grande in the supermarket… Godzilla met Mr Tumble in the P1 classroom… and so on…

If that sounds like too much writing for your wee one, you can also play the game with drawings instead. Draw the head, fold and pass the paper, draw the body, fold and pass, and so on. What kind of mixed up creature will you end up with?

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Game #4: Two truths and a lie

One of you has to say three things about themselves, two things that are true and one thing that is a lie, and the others have to guess which is the lie. This can be an interesting way to find out more about other people, and is particularly fun to play with grandparents – who knew granny can ride a motorbike and speak Russian but can’t swim? Or you can turn it into an educational game using two true facts and one made up one – Wikipedia is definitely your friend here!

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Game #5: Animal alphabet

This is another good game to keep them occupied when you’re waiting for the bus. See if you can name an animal for every letter of the alphabet: aardvark, bat, chimpanzee, etc. (Heads up, umbrella bird and x-ray fish will help you here!) You can make the game harder by adding more words. For example, an aardvark went to Auchtermuchty to buy an apple, a bat went to Berlin to buy a bag, a chimpanzee went to California to buy cheese…

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Game #6: How many legs?

Pick a number and see they can work out which animals have that number of legs between them. For example, a ladybird and an ant have 12 legs between them. A snail and a chicken have 3 legs. (For the purposes of the game, snails, slugs, limpets and other creatures that move around on a single sucker have 1 leg!)

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