Anyone who has traveled anywhere knows that at some point, you will be stuck somewhere waiting … and waiting … and WAITING.
Waiting for the plane to take off. Waiting in the airport when the plane is delayed. Waiting for the car you rented to be returned by another family. Or waiting for the car seats you rented along with your car to be returned by another family. Waiting in a restaurant. Waiting for a train. Waiting in line to get into a museum or other attraction. There are so many opportunities to WAIT when you travel!
When you have kids, waiting can be torture!
The whining starts. There’s no where to sit. Everyone is tired and CRANKY! So what do you do?!
If you’re lucky, you have some space and can pull activities out of the luggage for the kids to do. You know, like all those activities I talk about in my TRAVEL ACTIVITIES tabs at the top of this page 😉
But if you’re stuck waiting for a rental car in a train station, for example, (like we were one summer in the Frankfurt train station – we waited almost an hour!) – THEN WHAT??
Then you need EASY GAMES TO PLAY THAT NEED NO PROPS! Here are some ideas that have worked like a charm to pass the time:
- I Spy – You know the drill! Someone picks something that they see, and then everyone takes turns asking questions to try to guess what it is. We usually give a general clue, such as a color: “I spy something yellow.”
- 20 Questions – Similar to I Spy, but instead of picking something you can see, you pick anything you want. You can ask that the “chooser” define category (animals, famous people, etc.) or give some parameter (“I’m thinking of something red.”). Then everyone takes turns asking yes/no questions until someone guesses the answer.
- Simon Says – I like this game for giving the kids some activity, but within a controlled manner. This way, the kids can get out some energy (hop on one foot five times!), but they are not running all over the place.
- The Alphabet Game – This is my personal favorite. You need to be in a place that has a number of signs – the more signs, the easier the game. You start with the letter A and try to find a word that has an A in it. Then move on to B, etc. We always take turns. We played it in the Frankfurt train station that time we waited for an hour for our rental car, and I added the rule that they had to say the word that had the letter in it. This way, they were saying German words, too 😉 (Hippo was too little to read, so we helped him out.)
- Rock, Paper, Scissors – This one doesn’t take much time, but it can be fun to play!
- Make up a story – One person could tell a story. Or tell a chain story, where one person starts, then the next person picks up the thread, and so on.
- Take pictures – I prefer not to turn to technology in these situations. But another idea is to let the kids take some pictures with your phone. You could even give them some specific instructions: Take a close-up of a family member’s eye! Find a red triangle! Get creative!
One thing that I really like about these games is that they get everyone involved. If you just hand your kid your phone, then there is no interaction. We have turned some awful waiting situations (did I mention that Frankfurt train station incident?!) into a really fun time! Not only did the wait seem shorter, but we laughed an awful lot!
My elementary students are busy learning the songs of Martin’s Day. Next week they will be parading into the pre-k & kindergarten classrooms, carrying their beautiful clay lanterns and singing the songs.
To help learn the songs, here are links to two YouTube videos:
“Ich geh’ mit meiner Laterne”
I am so excited for our Lantern Parade this year! It will be our second year parading the 1st – 4th-graders into the four pre-k/kindergarten classrooms. This year, the elementary school students made the most beautiful lanterns out of clay!
They started with a slab of clay. They rolled it out and cut a base. Then they drew designs of moons and suns and cut out stars.
Then we helped them roll the slab and attach it to the base:
They were fired in the kiln. Then the children painted them with glaze, and they were fired a second time. Meanwhile, the children strung beads onto wire, which we then attached to make handles. I’m so amazed by how beautifully they turned out!
Aren’t they spectacular?! They are on display at school until our parade on November 12th!
I recently posted my Halloween Bingo game to play in German. Actually, you could use the Bingo Cards in any language as long as you know the words for all of the images!
But I forgot to explain how we were going to play it! So here are THE RULES:
Before we began, I used the word posters to review the vocab.
Then I used the little cards to “draw” the image. I also rolled a die to see in which column (Spalte) they had to look for the image. Obviously there are only 5 columns. So if I rolled a 6, they could cover the images anywhere on the board. (The boards have each image two times – 12 images for 24 squares.)
My 3rd & 4th grades had a blast playing!
I also had non-candy prizes for them. I had found some German pencils at Teacher’s Discovery. They say “Mach Fehler. So lernst du.” I thought that was a fun phrase! You can get them here (12 for $3.95).
My 1st and 2nd graders are so squirrely! It is hard to get through a Story Listening lesson. So I have decided to try to keep the stories short (still rich with content) and sing songs for the second part of our class.
I came across the song “Grün, grün, grün” again recently. It’s such a great song for colors. But at the same time, I find some of the verses to be a bit cumbersome. I mean, “Schornsteinfeger”?! That’s something of a tongue-twister!
Then I found some super cute Halloween kids clipart and thought that would work really well for adapting the song. It would be even better if the kids’ costumes were truly monochromatic, but I think it’s close enough 😉
Of course, I made some word posters to help teach the song. There is a set with the color words and a set without them – your choice!
I came up with the following characters:
- red – Rotkäppchen (Red Riding Hood)
- orange – Kürbis (pumpkin)
- yellow – Biene (bee)
- green – Fee (fairy)
- blue – Cowboy
- purple – Hexe (witch)
- pink – Hase (rabbit)
- black – Katze (cat)
- white – Geist (ghost)
Check them out:
You can download them all for FREE here: Grün, grün, grün Plakate GitA
Just take the original song and change the lyrics:
Grün, grün, grün sind alle meine Kleider
Grün, grün, grün ist alles, was ich habe
Darum liebe ich alles, was grün ist
Weil mein Schatz ein Jäger ist
I’d love to hear from you! How are you using these materials? And how did it go??
Earlier this week, I wrote this post with materials to help teach the song, “Mein Hut, der hat drei Ecken.”
My club kids had SO much fun with this silly song! They are my oldest group (4th & 5th graders), so they caught on to the vocab very quickly. Having the pages with the text and the words replaced by pictures helped us all through the repetitions of the song.
We still got the motions mixed up and sang words where they didn’t belong! There were a lot of giggles 🙂 But I always say that you remember things better when you are having fun with them!
I know we will sing the song again next week. I think we might take the final page – the one with the most images – and practice just the words that are left before we tackle the song again.
Go back to the original post to download all the materials for FREE 🙂
I remember learning the song “Mein Hut, der hat drei Ecken” in school. It’s a simple, silly song, but it definitely sticks.
My boys love, it, too. Especially this extra silly version from Die 30 Besten Spiel- und Bewegungslieder:
I’ve been wanting to teach it, using this version. So today I finally came up with a way to do it! I have the text written out 6 times. Each time that a word is replaced by a sound, I use a picture instead of the word. I also have word posters for each of the words that get left out: mein, Hut, drei, Ecken, & nicht.
I’ll start by introducing the 5 words with the images. Then go over the entire song text. When we’re ready to sing the whole thing, I’ll start with page 1 (all words, no sounds). Then move on to page 2 when the word Hut is replaced. Keep flipping to the next page as more words are replaced by sounds. Until finally you go back to the original with all the words.
Of course, if you watch the video, you can also see how to use movements to replace the words.
You can download the PDF for FREE here: Mein Hut Songtext GitA