Whether you’re stuck inside the house because the kids have a snow day or it’s too hot to go out, inevitably the kids will get bored. Having a list of games to get rid of all that pent up energy will certainly come in handy.
Babies are easy to entertain with pat-a-cake and itsy bitsy spider, but older children need something a little more interesting to hold their attention. They’ve played all the board games and you don’t want them sitting in front of the TV or computer all day. The following list has some old standbys you may have forgotten and some new ideas to keep the kids occupied and avoid the “I’m so bored, there’s nothing to do.”
Grab a laundry basket to use as a train car. Small children can be the passengers and older ones can act out being the conductor. Provide paper for them to make tickets and train schedules.
2. Hide and Seek
Everyone has probably played hide and seek where one person is ‘it’ and must find the others that have hidden. You can make it more interesting by playing hide and squeak or jingle. In this variation the ‘hiders’ squeak a toy or jingle a bell at intervals making to easier for the ‘seeker’ to find them.
Blocks, boxes, popsicle sticks, cards, and marshmallows all make great building materials. Kids can make their own fort, make a crazy sculpture with marshmallows and toothpicks, or see who can make the tallest card or block tower. Half the fun is knocking them down.
4. Snowball Fight
Wrap socks into a ball, crumble up paper, or use cotton balls to make indoor safe snowballs. You’ll have to keep a close watch so things don’t get out of hand, but the kids will have a blast.
Play your child’s favorite music and have them dance. When the music stops they have to freeze in the position they are in. The first one to move is out and you continue until only one child is left.
6. Simon Says
The leader gives a command and the others must follow as long as Simon says. Trick the players by doing something different than you say or do something without saying Simon says. You can make it interesting by using different leader names like Fireman says, zookeeper says, or whatever is popular.
7. Hot Potato
Toss a soft object or ball back and forth while playing music or singing a song. When you reach a certain word the person holding the object is out because they did not get rid of the hot potato. Continue til there is only one person left.
8. Hide The Object
Pick any object you want, perhaps a favorite toy. While the child hides his eyes and counts to 10, hide the object. You can play hot and cold until the object is found.
A few calmer games…
9. Sock Puppets
An old pair of socks brings out your child’s imagination. Let them draw eyes, teeth and nose on a sock and place it over their hand. They could put on a little puppet show or use it recite their favorite nursery rhyme.
10. Egg Carton Memory
Find twelve small items like toys or bottle caps. Anything that will fit in the sections of a clean egg carton will work. Give your child some time to try and remember all the items, then close the box. Have them write down or tell you all the things they remember. You could also have them close their eyes while you remove one item and have them tell you what is missing.
11. Homemade Puzzle
Have your child draw a picture of anything they wish. Warn them ahead of time that you’ll be cutting it up. Turn the pieces over and mix them up. They’ll have fun putting their very own puzzle back together.
These are just a few ideas to get you thinking so you can enjoy your time with the kids and keep your sanity.