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Great Waiting Games

In Line . . .

For young kids, standing in line is more than irritating  -- it's incomprehensible. Why do we have to wait? After all, the table (checkout counter, train, amusement-park ride, and so on) is right there! The situation requires that you literally pull entertainment out of your hat  -- or your pocket, as the case may be.

For preschoolers, in fact, your pocketful of change may be just the ticket. Take a moment to look at the money with your child and talk about which coin is which, pointing out that some are bigger or thicker and have ridges or smooth edges. Now have him close his eyes, then hand him a coin. Can he guess if he's holding a penny or a dime?

Once this wears thin, consider a silly variation of an old guessing game: Take turns dropping a penny on the ground and covering it quickly with a toe, then moving your feet around to disguise its location. Which foot has the penny? Challenge your toddler to walk on the lines on the floor or stay on one of the colors in the rug. With several youngsters along, see if each one can stand inside a single tile square. How long can they balance there? This is all simple stuff, but it works.

The same goes for no-prop activities, such as making shapes and letters with your hands and arms. Forming a triangle with your fingers or an "L" with your arm may not be your idea of a good time, but most older toddlers and preschoolers love it.

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