Be it a rainy day spent indoors or a sunny day to romp around outside, kids need entertainment. Especially groups of kids. Anyone should have some games and activities ready to keep your little guests busy in the hope that they will not get into too much mischief…one can hope at least!
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Indoor Games for Kids
Here is a list of indoor games you can use to distract your kids:
Crank up the music and let them dance the hours away. Everyone loves a dance party, right? Make up some fun number signs beforehand and “score” them as they show off their movies.
Create a Commercial
Divide guests into small teams. Give each team a random item (e.g. can of baked beans or roll of toilet paper) and a theme (e.g. school, hospital or restaurant) and have them create a 20 second commercial about their object. These can be performed for the other teams or filmed on a device and shown. Funniest and most creative commercials win prizes for their teams.
Sit the guests in a circle. Add a few bottles of brightly coloured nail polish (how many will depend on the size of your group) and turn on the tunes. Players pass the bottles quickly around the circle clockwise until the music stops. Players holding a bottle when the music stops have the person to their right paint one of their toenails (or fingernails) with the colour they are holding. Then the music starts again and plays repeats until everyone’s toenails are painted.
Build a Fort
You won’t need any boulders or cement to build a fort indoors. Gather a few things from around the house, and you are all set. You can use anything from pillows, blankets, the furniture or even cardboard boxes.
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The Ah, Um Game
Speakers may be okay using fillers such as ‘ah,’ ‘um,’ ‘like,’ and ‘you know’ as many times as they want. But the listeners hate them. This game can teach the kids to speak without using those annoying fillers. Divide the kids into teams of three or four. Give them the forbidden words, a.k.a fillers such as ‘ah,’ ‘um,’ ‘like,’ ‘you know’ and so on.
Next, give the kids a topic they can speak on for one minute. Topics could include favourite movie, meal, sport, holiday, author, book, etc. Let a member of a group volunteer speak about the given topic for one minute, without using the taboo words. If the child successfully avoids the taboo words, he or she moves to the next round. But if he fails, the next member gets the chance to speak.
Three Things and A Stage
Pick three kids from the group and send them to the stage/performance area and ask them to present a skit that they can come up with in two-five minutes. The other participants can ask the three kids to use any object in the room as a prop in the skit. Give the children no more than two-three minutes each for the skit. Once they are done, pick another three members and repeat the steps. Take care to make sure that all the members of the group get a chance to perform.
The kids will have lots of laughs performing the funny actions as they try not to make the block tower fall. Using a regular Jenga set, add actions that can be performed by the players to do while making sure the set doesn’t get knocked over. Actions can include “Handstand” or “Squat”.
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Passing the Parcel
Before the party, purchase a small, inexpensive prize that you know your child and friends will love and wrap it in lots of layers of paper – recycled wrapping paper or newspaper is great. You’ll want at least one layer per child. To play, have the children sit in a circle, passing the wrapped parcel around the circle while you play fun music. When the music stops, the child holding the parcel removes the outer layer of paper. Start the music again and continue until one child unwraps the final layer of paper to reveal their prize. You might like to put a small prize in each layer of the wrap so that each of the players receives a prize.
One child is chosen to go and hide while the rest of the group count to 20. The group then spreads out to try and find the hidden person. If a player finds them, they squeeze in and hide with them (hence, the sardines!) in their spot. The last to find the group loses and the first becomes the next to hide. Make it even more fun by giving each searcher a torch and turning out the lights!
Two Truths and a Lie
The player nominated to go first shares three ‘facts’ about themselves – two of which are true, and one which is a lie. For example, “I have a friend named Bowie, on Tuesday I went to the school library and this week I ate a whole bag of Goldfish crackers.” The other players try to guess which two are true and which is the lie. The player who guesses correctly is allocated one point. Once every player has had a turn at sharing their ‘facts,’ and the player who has accumulated the most points wins a prize (usually candy or something else).
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Look Up, Look Down
Have the players form a large circle. They can stand a foot or two apart. Once the circle is formed, all the players should be asked to look down. When the moderator shouts out “Look up,” the players have to look up and immediately look at another person in the circle.
If the person they are looking at them also looks at them at the same time, they scream together and leave the circle. The remaining players stand in their place and continue to stare at the person they have been looking at until the moderator says “look down.”
The game continues until there are no more than two to three players left in the circle.
Outdoor Games for Kids
Here is a list of outdoor games you can use to entertain your kids on a nice sunny day:
While this may take a bit of work on your side, the kids will absolutely love this activity. Plan ahead and make out your clues in advance so that way once the big sleepover day arrives, you’ll be ready to start hiding them so the kids can get started right away. Most importantly, don’t forget about the treasure. It can be whatever you want it to be but it’s also a fun way to have the treasure be something that they can all enjoy together at the actual sleepover. Spa masks, novels, or even some fun bubbles or water guns are all great “treasures” that can be waiting for the winner of the scavenger hunt to find.
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You’ll need a blown up balloon for each set of four players and a clear space where the kiddos can run. Divide players into teams of four. Give the first player a balloon and have them run with the balloon between their legs to the other side of the room where their teammate is waiting. Transfer the balloon to the next teammate, who returns by running across the room until each team member has had a go. The first team to finish is the winning team.
Snake in The Gutter
Snake in the gutter is a fun game for the younger kids, who love running and catching. This can be played by assigning kids the role of the “Snake” where they have to link arms and try to trap other players who are trying to reach the other side. If the kid gets touched by a snake, they become a snake and joins the others.
Catch The Dragon’s Tail
This is a simple game that requires the players (can be enjoyed by teens and adults too!) to form a long chain and not break it. Ask the kids to form a long human chain by holding hands. The person standing first is the head of the dragon and the one at the end is the tail of the dragon. The head should try and catch the tail, while the others in the middle should try and stop the head, without breaking the chain. If the head succeeds in catching the tail, the tail becomes the head, and the person at the end of the chain becomes the tail. And the game continues with the new head and tail.
This is a body-bending game that makes your kids stretch, bend, twist and turn to spell out a word. You can start by forming two or more teams of at least four members each. Have equal players in each team. Give specific instructions on how they can spell, e.g., using only the fingers, hands, or the entire body. Give the teams a word, no longer than four letters, to spell as instructed in under a minute or two. The team that spells the word right first gets a point
Piggy Back Races
Pair guests up and have them race across the room with one person riding piggyback on the other. The pair then switch places and then race back. The first pair to the finish are the winners.
Kids love playing tag. And while tag is a good game to play, why not take it from good to great during the upcoming sleepover? Have each child get their own flashlight and run around the yard in the dark (safety first of course!) They’ll love using the light at the way to “tag” someone and “freeze” them in their spot. It’s so much fun to see the light beams bouncing around the yard as they are doing their best to find and tag each other!
Divide the kids into two teams with an equal number of players and divide the play zone into two halves and mark the team’s territories. Give the teams the same number of balls and ask them to stand in their designated zones. On the count of three, the players will try to roll, throw, or kick the ball to the opposition’s side. If a team manages to push all their balls to the other side, they shout out ‘All over’ and win. If there are way too many balls, you can set a timer and at the end, whichever team has fewer balls wins.
Captain of The Ship
In this game, you can take over the role of the captain. You have to call out the orders and the child who makes a mistake either has to leave the game or become a shark to catch the other players. You can say ‘hit the deck’ (lie down on their stomach), and ‘love boat’ (grab a partner and dance). Other popular commands include ‘to the ship’ (run to the swings) and ‘to the port’ (run to the left). You can also yell ‘starboard’ (run to the right) and ‘shark attack’ (run to the island before the shark tags you).
Capture The Flag
If you can get enough children to the park, then Capture the Flag is a wonderful game to play. The object of the game is to capture a pre-identified object from the opposite team. Each team has to hide the object within the boundary. If one team tags and captures the opponents, the other team can free the captive by reaching him safely and getting a free walk back to their base.
It is one of the best fun games to play in the park. Ask the children to scatter within the playing area. Make one player ‘IT’. When the person who is ‘it’ tags the other person, he has to freeze in the exact position. You can also participate and free the frozen players.