Fun and semi-active games for kids to play while seated on a plane, train or automobile

It's Day 4 of the 12 Day Holiday Survival Guide for Parents. Keep kids active even while they're in their seats with any of these fun waiting games.

  • Hand clapping. Bring back your childhood favorites, with fun hand clapping games and rhymes. From Pat-A-Cake to Slide Baby to Miss Mary Mack. There are so many fun hand clapping games and rhymes. Check out some of them on
  • Finger baseball is a fun game of numbers and baseball rules. With two players, one starts as pitcher and the other as batter. Both players throw either one, two, three or four fingers, representing a base. If both the pitcher and batter throw the same thing, it counts as a hit (to that number of bases), if they throw a different number, it is an out. The batter gets three outs, and play continues for nine innings. Runners must advance with new hits. For example, a runner on second goes to third on a single. Keeping track of runners and outs in your head can be a fun challenge!
  • Rock-Paper-Scissors Feet! A simple favorite like rock paper scissors (see how to play here) can also be played with your feet. This is a great way to get kids’ legs moving. Gently lift your feet three times on the three play one of three choices: rock, paper or scissors. Rock is played with two feet together. Scissors is played with feet in a line two to heel. Paper is played with feet spread out so legs form a V.
  • Thumb wrestling. Two players join fingers into the space of fists with thumbs up in the air. The object of the game is to pin the other players’ thumb for five seconds. Play begins after a thumb bow and a count of eight. Players cannot move their arms, just their thumbs.
  • Up, Down, Stop, Go. This is a game of opposites, in which a caller says one command and players do the opposite. Generally played with the whole body, the game of Up, Down, Stop, Go can be easily modified for seated play. Up = hands raised high in the air. Down = reach hands to your toes. Stop = move legs and arms like you’re running. Go = freeze with hands out in front of your body.
  • Chopsticks. This fun game involves tallying with fingers. Both players begin with two hands and one digit on each hand. The first player (take turns going first) taps one hand to one of the other player’s hand. The other player must add the number of digits to their hand that was on the first players’ hand. (The first players’ fingers remain.) Players take turns doing this. The object of play is to eliminate the other players hand, by reaching five or more digits. Instructions with images can be found here.

What active games do you like to play while seated?


More Resources

kids playing duck duck goose
kids playing duck duck goose

April 29, 2021

Leveraging Play to Address Learning Loss ›

In order to help kids recover from learning loss, we must ensure their emotional needs are met. We need to prioritize every child’s wellbeing, and that starts with acknowledging that many kids are healing from traumas caused by the pandemic, including social, emotional, and physical impacts of COVID-19.  “When children experience stress and trauma, it…

woman smiling at laptop
woman smiling at laptop

January 5, 2021

Top 6 Games to Play Virtually ›

Many educators have risen to the challenge of transitioning their lessons to accommodate virtual education, and Playworks has been helping educators ensure play remains in every child’s day, even online. Kids prioritize play, and with our support educators are leveraging play when teaching virtually in order to keep kids engaged, active, and to build community.…

kids and adult doing yoga
kids and adult doing yoga

October 6, 2020

Using Play to Foster Social Connections and Physical Activity ›

Play isn’t just fun and games – it’s a vital aspect of our health and well-being. When we play, we engage our bodies, minds, and senses, creating opportunities for increased physical activity, learning, and connection with others. Play can even help relieve stress and support the development of important social-emotional skills, including communication and cooperation.…