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?


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