Pocket-sized amusements for children at funerals.
September 17, 2007 8:17 AM   Subscribe

Pocket-sized amusements for children at funerals.

I am looking for something small that I could carry in my pocket to give out to children at funerals to play with during the service. Something quiet and not too messy. Something appropriate for a boy or a girl. And relatively inexpensive...say...less than a dollar a piece. Thanks.
posted by ColdChef to Grab Bag (22 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Small coloring books in big Ziplock bags with crayons. You can get all you need at a Dollar Store.
posted by 4ster at 8:21 AM on September 17, 2007

Playing cards - they make playing cards specific to Crazy Eights, Hearts, etc., and they are fun and good for slightly older children. Otherwise, coloring books are always good. Another nice idea is those magnetic "wooly" games, where you pull the iron shavings over the guy's face. I forget exactly what they're called. Also, silly putty and the Sunday comics are always fun.

One suggestion, you might want to go to your local party store and look at the "treat bag" aisle. There will be lots of small games there, and you should find something you'll like for your price range.
posted by BuddhaBelly at 8:29 AM on September 17, 2007

I have always loved these slide puzzles.
posted by chiababe at 8:32 AM on September 17, 2007 [1 favorite]

Yeah, a party supply store is going to be your friend here. They've got all kinds of cheap stuff that will keep kids busy. My suggestion would be to look for little booklets that have mazes, word-finds, and/or pictures to color. I remember getting stuff like this at birthday parties when I was a kid, and I'm sure they cost practically nothing, but they'd keep a child entertained for an hour or two.

You might also be able to get a case of the no-name-brand, 4-crayon boxes for cheap. I'm picturing the kind they give out at restaurants, so every kid gets a "new" box of crayons. We have these in the surgery waiting room where I volunteer, and the kids seem to appreciate them.
posted by vytae at 8:43 AM on September 17, 2007

Rubik's Cube
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 8:43 AM on September 17, 2007

koosh balls and small plush toys. bonus: they're quiet.
posted by jquinby at 8:48 AM on September 17, 2007

Best answer: wooly willy
silly putty (possibly too messy)
chain faces
little plastic mazes with a tiny ball in them
similar 3-D plastic puzzles
pinball (all these marble games will make noise with marble rolling)
slider puzzles (slide the tiles to form a picture)
3-d puzzles

Oriental Trading has a lot of this kind of thing for pretty cheap ($5/dozen); search around their site for more.
posted by LobsterMitten at 8:54 AM on September 17, 2007

No, no koosh balls, plush toys, or anything that can be thrown. You do not want to turn a funeral into a toy fight. Nthing colouring books and other fiddly toys like slide puzzles.
posted by crazycanuck at 8:55 AM on September 17, 2007

That's a really great idea - I remember as a kid I couldn't control myself at the couple of funerals I went to and I felt badly about it, but it was so hard to be still and do nothing.

If you have an area to let the kids play off to the side, maybe just get some legos & duplos, and a few kids books. They won't take them home or anything but it will keep them busy as legos are appealing to kids of all ages & boys and girls alike.

Otherwise, I vote coloring & activity books. Activity books would be fun for kids who are old enough to read and are as cheap as coloring books.
posted by tastybrains at 8:59 AM on September 17, 2007

And yeah, coloring is probably best bet in terms of: quiet, and not so exciting that the kid will be saying "hey mom! I got it!" as they might if it was an actual game.

coloring books
coloring books with crayons
activity set with mazes, dot-to-dots etc, and crayons
posted by LobsterMitten at 9:04 AM on September 17, 2007

Millionthing tiny coloring books, which would be cool just for their tinyness. and having a small, low-key play area with a couple dolls, duplos, and books on a rug. That kind of play area has saved my ass a bunch of times, allowing me to concentrate for 10 minutes of half an hour in a bookstore or office.

I don't recommend puzzles as many kids would want a lot of help solving them from their grownups.

I also carry a finger puppet in my pocket most of the time (I know, I'm crazy) which I pull out when talking to kids.
posted by serazin at 9:46 AM on September 17, 2007

My son has a pocket-sized Etch-a-Sketch that we use for this type of thing. Maze books work well too.
posted by bondcliff at 9:51 AM on September 17, 2007

Ummm... call me crazy but if a kid isn't old enough to behave themselves at a funeral then should they be there in the first place?
posted by Cosine at 10:39 AM on September 17, 2007

Cosine, I don't think ColdChef is talking about his own children.
posted by oneirodynia at 10:56 AM on September 17, 2007 [1 favorite]

I never said he was. It was more of a general statement, I checked around the office here and after an informal poll that appears to be the overwhelming opinion.
posted by Cosine at 10:58 AM on September 17, 2007

I think even slightly older, pre-teen kids can get antsy and bored at funerals and visitations. At the last funeral I went to, my 10 and 12 year old nieces had little pocket sized notepads with them and spent the most of the time quietly doodling and writing.
posted by pluckysparrow at 10:58 AM on September 17, 2007

I second the mini etch-a-sketch.
posted by philomathoholic at 11:15 AM on September 17, 2007

Our dollar store has little magnetic drawing thingies (like a Magna Doodle, only about the size of a deck of cards) 2 for a dollar. Those might be pretty good---everyone likes magnets. They aren't real durable, but you don't need them to last very long, either.
posted by leahwrenn at 11:17 AM on September 17, 2007

Cosine, it's not always possible for the parents to make alternate arrangements if the children are indeed that small.
posted by Phire at 11:58 AM on September 17, 2007

Best answer: I never said he was. It was more of a general statement, I checked around the office here and after an informal poll that appears to be the overwhelming opinion.

Sometimes kids are brought to funerals. That's just a fact. Won't it be nice that ColdChef has something on hand to make them and their caretakers more comfortable?

My dad used to get ball mazes as an amazingly effective ploy to keep us quiet on road trips. We also had things like the ball-in-cup game (with a soft ball on a short tether) and "magic sketch" pads. All non-messy and easy on the pocket.

The slide puzzles are a great idea.

I always hesitate to turn kids loose with crayons.
posted by zennie at 12:12 PM on September 17, 2007

Response by poster: To clarify, the amusements are not for my kids, but for my funeral home. I'm a little leery of crayons and markers. The Magic Sketch pads are a good suggestion, and I like the idea of the little slidey puzzles, too. I'll hit Oriental Merchandise next time I'm down in New Orleans.
posted by ColdChef at 12:26 PM on September 17, 2007

maybe lacing cards?
posted by twistofrhyme at 3:49 PM on September 17, 2007

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