Toys to Keep Kids Busy While Waiting—That Aren't a Phone

BY: Aimee Algas Alker |May 8, 2018

Not many people have an easy time waiting, especially parents, and that's mostly because of their kids. Some say it's because they have no sense of time; others say it's because they need near-constant stimulation. But whatever the reason, whether it's at the doctor's office, on an airplane, or at a restaurant, to a kid, any time spent waiting can seem endless.

If you're wondering how to entertain kids while they wait, we are here to save the day with a few portable toys to keep kids busy.

Toy Picnic Basket

Age: Up to 5

Best for toddlers and younger, this satisfies their itch to take things out of a basket, then put them back in, then take them out again. And because they're soft, they won't bounce all over the place when they (inevitably) fall to the floor.

Melissa & Doug Deluxe Picnic Basket Fill and Spill Soft Baby Toy $34.68


Electronic Drawing Tablet

Age: 2+

You'll never run out of paper with this tablet, one of the most useful toys to keep toddlers busy. It works with the included stylus or simply a finger, as long as you wipe the chocolate off first.

8.5'' Ultra-thin LCD Writing Tablet Drawing Board Gifts for Kids $8.99



Age: 2+

A set of dominoes can entertain kids of just about any age. Younger kids will have fun stacking them and building small empires with them, while older kids will enjoy learning variations of the classic game.

Premium Set of Dominoes w/ Wood Case $14.99


Activity Books

Age: 3+

Activity books are great because they encourage exploration while sitting in one place—and the good ones sneak some learning into the fun. These books are geared towards early school-age kids, but you can find activity books for kids (and adults) of just about any age.

Kids' Activity Book (10-Pack) $13.99


Playing Cards

Age: 4+

Always a classic, a deck of playing cards holds infinite possibilities for entertainment, no matter what the age. This deck glows in the dark, so you can play in the low light of an evening flight, and it's waterproof, so spilling something on them won't mark them and ruin games of Go Fish.

24K Fluorescent Glow Playing Cards $8


Paint by Sticker Books

Age: 5+

Fun for parents and kids to do together, this is a different—and neater—spin on paint-by-numbers, swapping stickers for the brush and paint.

Paint by Sticker Masterpieces or Paint by Sticker Kids: Zoo Animals $7.99



Age: 6+

Something about dropping and counting the stones can make a kid obsessed with mancala, a game with iterations that cross cultures and continents. This one folds neatly in half to keep its little stones secure.

Hey! Play! Wooden Folding Mancala Game $11.99


Magnetic Blocks

Age: 6+; younger with supervision

Building with blocks is fun, but they inevitably fall apart and scatter. Eliminate this inconvenience with magnetic blocks that stick together more tightly than an early-aughts boy band.

Magformers Rainbow Set $49.98





This Kids' Packing List Will Help Keep You Sane on a FlightThis Kids' Packing List Will Help Keep You Sane on a Flight

Things to keep kids comfortable (and occupied) on a flight.
Flying with Kids: Dos and Don'ts from the Flight CrewFlying with Kids: Dos and Don'ts from the Flight Crew

Never let them go barefoot, and other tips for flying with kids from a veteran flight crew
Age Appropriate Toys: Recommendations & GuidelinesAge Appropriate Toys: Recommendations & Guidelines

Kids learn and develop different skills and interests throughout various stages of development. Each toy needs to match up to your child's age, interest, and skill set.
A Guide to Our Best Gifts for KidsA Guide to Our Best Gifts for Kids

Whether you're an aunt looking for an entertaining yet educational gift for your young nephew or a grandfather shopping for a new gadget for a tween girl, we can help you.