Use Pencil and Paper
With the use of pencil and paper, you can play dots and lines. On a sheet of paper , you draw a box just using dots, similar to this. You then take turns drawing a single segment connecting two dots. The goal is to not be the last one to draw a connecting line within the box. Here is a digital version of this game. Similarly, you can play a simple game of tic-tac-toe on paper. I’ve even seen this played at restaurants using the sugar packets and a few extra straws or silverware. This helps your child to recognize patterns and utilize stagey.
Lego Travel Box
Legos® are one of my favorite children’s toys. I remember building many different creations like houses, cars, or even whole Lego cities as a child. A creative idea that I’ve seen recently is making your own Lego travel box. Using a small plastic box with a lid, you cut and glue a Lego baseplate (board) for your child to build there and then the Legos can be used for building whatever their creativity inspires. You can give them directions or challenges like making a house with 7 Legos or less, or stacking Legos of certain colors that equal up to a specific amount.
Lastly, there is always the good-old stand by of flash cards to help your child practice their math facts. Depending on their age, you can use addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division flash cards. You can keep them in a Ziploc bag in the car for you to easily take with you while you are waiting. Practicing these skills will help them to memorize their facts and be able to compute complicated problems more quickly in the future.
What are your favorite math games to play while you are waiting with your child?