Book Review: On-the-Go Fun for Kids

Ready for over 250 games and ideas for busy families? This book has them!

On-the-Go Fun for Kids book by Amanda Morin
Adams Media

There are so many times when we need little games and activities to keep kids busy, and we don't necessarily want them nose-down in an electronic device. Limiting screen time is healthier, but it's also a challenge for parents who are trying to occupy kids while they ride in a car, sit at a restaurant, tag along on errands, or even sit alongside a mom or dad who's trying to work from home.

Education writer Amanda Morin (who regularly podcasts with me at Parenting Roundabout) comes to our rescue with her book, On-the-Go Fun for Kids! More than 250 Activities to Keep Little Ones Busy and Happy—Anytime, Anywhere! from Adams Media (July 2015). While it does contain some app suggestions, most of the activities are screen-free and doable with pencil and paper, simple supplies you have on hand (like sugar packets at a restaurant) or nothing at all. Here's a quick overview of the book's pros and cons.

  • Includes games for all types of situations

  • Provides learning element in most games

  • Appears doable and practical for both kids and adults

  • Provides multiple in-your-seat activities

  • Is somewhat bulky; smaller version would be nice

On-the-Go Fun for Kids: Review

Out of necessity, many of the games and activities suggested in this book are sedentary. They're designed to be used while kids are captive in a car, train, or plane, or seated in a restaurant or a doctor's waiting room. Still, I like the strong message that it's fun to use our brains and observe our surroundingsand interact with our families!instead of defaulting to a phone or tablet all the time. Because these activities are a lot of fun. My 10-year-old, for example, loved the brain-teasers found throughout. He delighted in reading them to his older sister and trying to stump her.

While most of the activities tend toward the thought-provoking, imaginative type, Morin has found ways to incorporate physical activity wherever possible. For instance, she suggests a way to modify the game Twister so it can be played in the car (really!).

She includes a list of items to find on a hotel scavenger hunt (and reminds you that your kids can jump on the beds in that hotelwhy not?). She even comes up with a creative game that lets tired parents rest while kids play: Your child pretends to be the busy, buzzing bee, while you are the serene and stationary flower. Genius!

The book even includes a whole chapter filled with activities for kids to do while parents work at home. Since that tends to be prime time for screen time, I like the idea of using some of these ideas instead. And here too, there are several that incorporate physical activity, like water-bottle bowling, cup-stacking and hallway hopscotch made with masking tape.

There is no age range recommended for the book, which makes sense since many of the activities are open-ended; they could appeal to children of many ages, abilities, and interests.

Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the publisher.

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