There are some days when the weather outside is frightful, and the warm, cozy house is so delightful. But the novelty of being cooped up at home with kid of all ages and interests can wear off pretty quickly unless Mom or Dad come up with some winning activities. Here are some indoor games for kids that can keep everyone entertained and busy for hours.
Scavenger House Hunt
Have one person prepare ten clues that will take players to different hiding spots around the house. Each player receives a list marked one through ten, and as they find each clue, players check it off and note the location on their master list. They can then follow the instructions written on the clue card before heading to find the next card.
For example, a card can say, “Jumping jacks can be so fun, give me ten and go find the next one. It’s sitting somewhere very sweet, near spices that you like to eat.” (The next clue would be near the sugar canister.) Time the kids and have them all work together racing against the clock or divide them into teams and prepare a set of clues on different color paper for each team to avoid any clue mixups.
If you’ve got toddlers or young children who can’t read or are just starting to recognize letters, check out these downloads for picture, letter and sound clues.
In this fun and wacky game, players are divided up into teams and given a paper bag full of randomly selected props and dress up items. Players are then given 15 minutes to create a commercial for a particular product. Write the names of five or six products on separate cards and place them in a bag. Have one player from each team pick a card, set the timer and let their imaginations run wild. Definitely grab the video camera for this one so that once everyone has had their turn, you can play back the commercials and let your budding actors and actresses see their talent in action.
Pick up an inexpensive bowling set at your local toy store or dollar store and set it up in the hallway, or make your own out of recycled bottles. You can print up scorecards and tape them onto the wall so the kids can keep track of their points.
For added interest and fun, tie a small bell onto the middle pin so it’ll jingle when it gets knocked down. Appoint a scorekeeper whose job it is to keep the books. Have players who score a spare or strike do a little winner’s jig to earn bonus points and jack up the fun factor.
Talk the Talk
This game may prove to be serious competition for Rosetta Stone if the word gets out. Start by asking family members to choose a language they’d like to learn. Put all suggestions into a bag and have the youngest family member choose one. Once you’ve got your language selected, instruct family members that for the next hour, only that language may be spoken.
Use a free translation site such as freetranslation or Google translator. Make a list of common phrases, words and household items. Tape up papers around the house labeling items. Kids with their own computers can do research to prepare for mealtimes and general conversations. Just don’t let on that this is a highly educational game, or they’ll lose interest before you can say ‘go.’
This game is a great way for kids to get to know long-lost relatives and family secrets that have never before been revealed, but stay away from anything too personal or remotely sensitive so that everyone can truly enjoy the game. Use index cards to write questions pertaining to family members, including parents, kids, aunts, uncles and grandparents. Write the question on one side, the answer on the back.
Create a game board using oaktag or cardstock with squares going all around the perimeter of the board, and borrow some dice and playing pieces from a different board game. Mark a few bonus squares with stars or ‘go back three spaces’ – you get the drift. Players who land on bonus squares can take a second turn or move up a few spaces. The final square can be marked with a drawing of a large tree with faces sketched on the branches. Go around the room and take turns spinning, asking, answering and moving the pieces until someone reaches the ole’ family tree and is pronounced the newest family guru.
For more great indoor games for kids, check out these sites:
Know of other fun indoor activities for kids? Leave us a note in the comments below.