Here are 15 indoor games that will keep kids (and you) happy and active—no TV or video games required.
Another rainy day, the kids are getting restless, and you’re fresh out of ideas for things to do? You’ve come to the right place. Remember that half the fun is getting ready. Homemade props are usually required and this is an important part of the learning process and the fun!
For two players. Here’s another popular game you can play without the official version. All you need is graph paper. Each player needs two grids. Label each grid by writing numbers across the top and letters down the side, so that the squares are easily identified as A8 or F5. One grid will be for locating your own ships, the other for recording shots against your opponent’s ships. Each player places three or four “ships” on his grid, then let the guessing begin. The first person to sink all the other person’s ships wins.
Most people know how to play the traditional version of Hangman. But what about kids who aren’t yet master spellers? Neal plays a variation suitable for prewriters. “We play it like 20 Questions—I would think of something, and my son would have to think of yes-or-no questions to guess what it was,” she says. “Each time he got a no answer, I’d add another part to the Hangman figure.”
3. Dots and Squares
Begin by drawing a grid of dots on the paper. Using lined paper or graph paper can make this a little easier. The first person draws a line connecting two dots beside each other. The second player then draws another line to connect another two dots. The goal is to be the person who draws the last side of a square. Then you put your initials inside the square (or some other abbreviation to claim your square). In some versions of this game, if you complete a square you get another turn. The player with the most squares when all the squares are drawn is the winner.
Give everyone a piece of paper. On the top section, draw a head. It can be an animal head or a person’s head, as weird as you like. Now fold that section back, so that it’s hidden, and slide it across the table to the next person. Without looking at the hidden drawing, the next person draws a chest and arms (of a person, animal, alien), folds it back as well and passes it on to the next person. Without looking at the previous pictures, that person draws a body (stomach and hips) and the final person draws the legs and feet. (You can have more or fewer sections depending on the number of people you have playing.) Finally, unfold your papers and laugh at the weird creatures you have created.
5.DIY balance beam
While you have your masking tape out, why not make your own balance beam? We all know how much kids love walking in straight lines every chance they get. Put on some music, and one at a time the kids can take their turn walking one-foot-over-theother across the straight line of tape. Make the game more challenging by having the kids walk backwards or balance with one foot on the line.
6.Hide and Seek
No list of indoor games would be complete without Hide and Seek, now would it? In this classic game, one person (“It”) covers his or her eyes and counts aloud while the other players hide. When “It” is finished counting, he or she begins looking for the hiders. The last hider to be found is the next “It.” Warning: this game is often a source of giggle fits. Families with older children might want to take things up a notch and play Hide and Seek in the dark. Just to be safe, make sure there are no loose items on the floor. If you want, allow “It” to carry a flashlight or turn the lights on once “It” finishes counting.
7. Treasure hunt
Kids love finding hidden objects — especially when there’s a prize at the end. Simply write your clues on some slips of paper — get creative. Place the first clue somewhere easy to find, like inside your child’s snack or cereal bowl. Then leave as many clues as you like around the house, making a trail to the final clue. Instead of a prize, the treasure hunt can lead to various coins around the house. This way the kids get to collect all the coins and put them in their piggy banks in the end. If you want to create the most amazing treasure hunt, follow these 11 tips.
A great way to reuse water bottles (or you can purchase an indoor bowling set). Line six-10 water bottles up at the end of your hall or living room. Place a line of duct tape at the starting line. Grab a medium-sized indoor ball and start bowling! If you want, keep score and give out trophies at the end. (Note: if you need to stabilize the water bottles or make the game more difficult, simply fill them up with some water. Don’t forget to screw the tops on tightly!)
This game will have everyone giggling. Ask the kids to sit on the floor in a circle. Turn on some tunes and have them pass the potato (a bean bag or soft ball) around the circle as fast as they can. When the music stops, the player holding the potato leaves the circle. Keep going until only one player is left and wins the game.
10. Picnic memory game
This is a fun and simple verbal memory game, which, challenges the children and makes them giggle. To play, everyone sits in a circle. The first player says, “In my basket for the picnic, I packed…,” and then says what item he or she packed. The next player then says, “In my basket for the picnic, I packed…,” and then recites what the first player packed and adds his or her own item to the basket, and so forth.
11. The listening game
This game is sure to both educate and delight little ones. Take out several miscellaneous items. Have the children look at all the items, and then take them away. Next, ask one child to hide his or her eyes and listen as you pick up an item and make sounds with it. Ask the child to guess which item made the sound. Examples of items might be a comb (run your fingers along it), a glass (gently tap it), cymbals, shakers, sandpaper, blocks rubbed together, a pot and spoon. Be creative and have fun!
You don’t have to go outside to enjoy bubbles. For this game, you need a plate and straw for each player, some dishwashing soap and water. Place a dime-size drop of dish soap at the centre of each plate. Pour a little water onto the plate and gently mix with the dish soap until some suds start to form. Have the kids place the straw in the suds and blow very gently. Watch as massive bubbles start to form. To make this competitive, see who blows the biggest, or longest-lasting, bubble.
13. Simon Says
This traditional favourite will never get old. To start, choose one player (probably a parent for the first round) to be Simon. The rest of the players will gather in a circle or line in front of Simon as he calls out actions starting with the phrase “Simon says”: “Simon says…touch your toes.” The players then have to copy Simon’s action, touching their toes. If Simon calls out an action without uttering the phrase “Simon says,” the kids must not do the action . If a child touches his toes when Simon didn’t say…, he or she is out of the game. There are lots of great ways Simon can trick players into doing actions when Simon didn’t say: Simon can perform an action without uttering a command, for example, or he can perform an action that doesn’t correspond with the command. Fun! The last player left in the game wins and becomes the next Simon.
14. Touch-and-feel box
Most preschoolers flock to the classroom sensory table as soon as the teachers pull it out. So there is little doubt they will love this entertaining challenge. Find a shoe box or any box that has a lid on it. Cut a hole in one of the sides of the box —large enough for your child to fit her hand in. If you want, get creative and decorate the box with glitter and question marks. When you’re ready to play, put an item inside the box and have your children guess what it is. They can ask questions about the item if they need to, or you can offer clues. Get as ooey-gooey as you wish (fresh pumpkin seeds or slimy spaghetti are great choices for Halloween), or use such simple objects as a brush, a toy, a piece of fruit. To make it competitive, you can give a point to the first child to name the object.
15. Indoor basketball
You can’t be too little for this version of basketball. All you need is a bucket and a rolled up sock (or a small, light ball). Each player takes a turn at throwing the sockball into the bucket. When a player scores a bucket, he or she takes a step back and throws again until missing. The player who shoots the ball in the bucket from the farthest distance wins.