games on the bus for kids
June 21, 2009 12:12 PM   Subscribe

Looking for fun (equipment-free) games to play on the bus with a group of 6th and 7th graders.

Taking a few classes of 6th and 7th graders on a field-trip involving a long bus ride. Can anybody offer any good (engaging/no materials needed) games or activities that we can do on the bus to help pass the time? Looking for games/activities that are appropriate for just a few students at a time, as well as games that can involve the entire group. Thanks!
posted by cheemee to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Telephone. the game where you whisper something to the person next to you, and they whisper it to the person next to them, and it ends up getting totally distorted from the original message.
posted by metastability at 12:56 PM on June 21, 2009

One of my kids learned a "Fortunately/Unfotunately" storytelling game at school, and up until they were about 12 we played it as a family when on a long trip, waiting in restaurants, etc.

One person starts the story. Maybe something like, "Once upon a time ...." Next person must say, "Unfortunately, ...." and add a piece to the story. The next person must take the situation, find a silver lining, and add to the story saying, "Fortunately...."

For example:
Person 1: Once upon a time there were 20 kids on a bus.
Person 2: Unfortunately, the bus had broken down by a haunted house.
Person 3: Fortunately, all the kids were actually ghosts from ghost school and they were on fabulous field trip.
Person 4: Unfortunately, the haunted house was protected by an anti-ghost force field.
Person 5: Fortunately, .... etc.

There are also "relay races". It does need minimal equipment, but probably something you'll have with you anyway. You need two small things you can pass, like a couple of ball caps or notebooks. You set up the competition between the two sides of the bus. You pass the small item from the front of the bus to the back of the bus, and back to the front maybe going by "columns" of kids, or rows, however you want. Winning side of the bus gets bragging rights. You'll have to make rules about no leaving seats on a moving bus.
posted by angiep at 1:10 PM on June 21, 2009

The Green Glass Room.
posted by craven_morhead at 1:34 PM on June 21, 2009

I first played Psychiatrist on a bus. We were much older, but we might as well have been sixth and seventh graders in trying to figure it out. Obviously, it's more fun if more of the students are guessing at one time (you really only need to let four or so people on the "secret" to form your circle).
posted by aswego at 4:25 PM on June 21, 2009

get a pile of mad libs. the most fun language arts can be. ours was a 10 hour trip each way so we rationed them out between other games but the kids always screamed for more. might bring out a touch of potty mouth but anything is worth passing the time. a little googling can find free ones but they are worth the couple bucks to buy
posted by Redhush at 4:35 PM on June 21, 2009

seventh and eighth grade? i remember that time being awkward and especially uncool to participate in group games. but here's a suggestion nonetheless...

get everyone to fill out a survey about themselves-- exciting questions like 'what is your favorite video game?' 'where have you been on vacation?' 'if you could spend a day with one famous person who would you pick?' type stuff.

then take all the surveys. try to pick out at least one thing from each kid's survey and stand up, read it out, and get the kids to guess which kid wrote it. so you might stand up, for example and say, 'does anyone know who went on vacation to california last summer?' and all the kids get to say, 'it was kevin!' or something.

if there's any obviously populary choices you can count say, all the people in the class who like ballet and be like 'there are five ballerinas in our class, can anyone guess who they are?'

i imagine this might pique kids interest more than the traditional word/memory games. also it worked great on a bus load of college rugby players.
posted by emmatwofour at 5:02 PM on June 21, 2009

Time to break out some parlour games! I particularly like Botticelli, but Alphabet Minute looks like a good one for that age group.

When I was teaching 7th grade, I would often play Buzz (aka, Bizz Buzz). This may be harder to organize on a bus, but certainly doable.

You can also make a scavenger hunt list for pairs of kids to work on. You make a list of things they are likely to see/pass by on the bus (an exit on your route, a particular building), a list of things that may very well see (Mack truck, etc), and a list of things that they are unlikely to see (woman with purple hair, car with vanity plates that begin with 'Q'). You need to go beyond a check list (hello, cheating!), but throw in fill in the blank questions ("[ ] Exit to Kadoka, number____.", "[ ] Jaguar Xj6 - hood ornament is______." (trick - there is none!)), and for the unlikely ones, demand a camphone/digital camera shot with them or part of the bus in it (eg, they clearly shot it themselves and didn't download it). Assign points and a silly prize for the top 3 or whatever.
posted by plinth at 5:26 AM on June 22, 2009

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