Pass the Time on the Bus With One of These Anywhere Games

In our city, there’s an announcement frequently heard through each train car – an appeal to punctuality and time-management.

“Don’t wait for your train,” the voice chirps, “Meet it! Download the transit app today.”

We have apps and APIs aplenty informing us about the latest bus schedules and subway train delays, but no matter how well we’ve planned the route, there are always a few minutes to spare waiting on transit or en route.

It’s nice to have a few simple games in your back pocket for moments like these when traveling with kids.

Here are our favorite imaginative games to play on the cross-city bus ride. We call them Anywhere Games. No playing cards, no screens, no pen and paper required; just your thinking caps.

San Francisco skyline from the train window.

20 Questions

A classic guessing game that even the littlest minds can enjoy. Think of an object, person, place, vehicle, type of food, animal (the options are endless) and answer yes/no questions from your traveling partners until they guess what it is. 

Steal my story

Start with the customary “Once upon a time…” and spin a wild tale for your listeners – only stop short of the best part. From there, have someone steal your story and take it in their own direction. A tried and true excercise in creative writing, minus the writing!

If I were a ___

A simple imaginative game with endless possibilities. Take turns explaining what life would be like if you were something or someone else. If you were a firefighter or a grandmother or an elephant, what would you eat? Where would you sleep? What would you play with? Where would you live? What about if you lived in a different city or part of the world?

I spy

The old standby that really can be played anywhere. Spy something with your little eye and give a single hint to your guessers. Divulge only one hint at a time to keep them guessing. Whoever cracks the case is the next spy.

Lyric Wizard

There are two ways to play Lyric Wizard, a game perfect for older kids or those who have a high level of musical literacy. Guess the name of a song based on a few lines of lyrics or a few hummed notes. Or be a true wizard and make up a story together using only song lyrics.

We can’t guarantee your train or bus will be on time. But when you have a few minutes to fill, we’ve got you covered with these simple anywhere games.

Parents: 1, Boredom: 0.