Keeping kids busy is generally challenging because they get bored really fast. But put them indoors and your gaming options are cut in half. Usually, parents struggle more during the cold season and school holidays when kids spend more time indoors. So, letâ€™s explore some of the best indoor games for kids to keep them busy, allowing you some alone time.
Fun indoor games include treasure hunting, Simon says, card games, hide and seek, dance contests, indoor bowling, and reading games. Alternatively, you can improvise outdoor games like hopscotch, tag, hockey, or basketball. We’ll show you how to do it.
Puzzles are fun. In addition, they encourage analytical thinking, pattern recognition, and socio-emotional development. However, the best part is you can play puzzles indoors while maintaining a clean space. Therefore, when going outside is not an option, find an age-appropriate puzzle and ask the kids to pair the pieces for a complete image.
There are different types of puzzles, including 3D, picture, floor, and word puzzles. If you’re unsure what to pick, our article gives you insightful tips to choose the best puzzles.
And hereâ€™s an additional tip; buy the puzzles in bulk, varying them between the different types, images, and colors. That way, youâ€™ll always have enough stock for when the kids complete a puzzle and ask for a new one. After all, kids actually love puzzles.
2. I Spy
I Spy is a fun and straightforward game that will tap into your childâ€™s senses while keeping them engaged. It has many variations that require your child to think outside the box and use their analytical or observation skills to find an answer.
You’ll say, “I spy with my little eye, something pink.” Then, the kids will look around the room and identify everything pink. A different variation of the game involves shapes where you’ll say, “I see something triangular,” and the kids will identify these objects.
The game is flexible and allows different variations, so itâ€™s up to you to select the items. However, the items you select should be within the childâ€™s visual path. It helps to pick a seemingly â€œcrowdedâ€ room for more ideas.
3. Simon Says
Simon Says is a popular game that doesn’t take much effort, but is fun. You can comfortably play it indoors and watch as your kids laugh and struggle to follow Simon’s instructions. Whatâ€™s more, the game is fun whether you have one kid or more.
Obviously, you don’t need a person named Simon to officiate the game because you’re Simon (but you can also pick one of the kids). You’ll start in the middle of the circle or front of the room and dish out specific instructions. For example, “Simon saysâ€¦clap your hands.” The kids will clap, and anyone who doesn’t follow the instruction is out of the game.
But thatâ€™s not all; if at any point Simon dishes out instructions without mentioning the phrase â€œSimon saysâ€ the kids must not follow the instruction. If anyone does, theyâ€™ll be out of the game. Usually, itâ€™s a fast game to confuse the players.
4. Hide and Seek
Hide and seek works perfectly indoors, as it would outdoors. In fact, some would argue there are more spaces to hide indoors than outdoors. But obviously, that depends on the size of your house.
Anyway, for this game, you or one of the older kids will be the seeker as the others hide. To start the game, the seeker stays in a secluded place and counts to 10, 20, or 100. As they count, the rest of the players will look for creative hiding spots to ensure theyâ€™re caught last.
Once the seeker finishes counting, they’ll go around looking for each player, until the last one is caught. Usually, the first to get caught is the loser, and if there’s another round, they’ll be the seeker.
Hereâ€™s a tip, if you live in a big house or the game is taking too long, you can incorporate â€œMarco Poloâ€. The seeker shouts â€œMarcoâ€ and the players respond â€œPolo,â€ but without leaving their spots. Itâ€™s up to the seeker to follow these voices and identify the hiding spots. Itâ€™s a fun twist to hide and seek.
5. DIY Indoor Bowling
Bowling is a great indoor game for kids. According to Milestone Academy, the game strengthens their fine and gross motor skills, improves social skills, and enhances flexibility. Therefore, when you’re stuck in the house with nothing to do, initiate a bowling game and watch as the kids brighten up. Don’t worry; you don’t need an actual bowling alley for this game.
To create a DIY bowling alley, you’ll need plastic bottles or soda cans, a plastic ball, and masking tape or a marker. The masking tape will create the bowling lanes, so the kids know where to throw the ball. Next, arrange the bottles or cans at the end of the lane and ask the kids to stand directly opposite.
Once everything is set, the kids will take turns throwing the ball toward the bottles. The goal is to get a strike, but it is fun to watch as they enjoy the makeshift bowling alley. Also, remember to keep the scores for each player, so the experience is real.
6. Dance Contests
Dancing is good for the soul and body, and it can also create a fun indoor gaming idea. Moreover, kids love to sing and dance to their favorite tunes. For this reason, weâ€™ll combine dancing and gaming to produce fun dancing contests.
Ask the kids to pick their playlists and set a timer for each contestant. You can be the judge or one of the kids can volunteer to judge the competition. Or better yet, ask the kids to judge each other and give comments to every dancer.
It is a fun and physical way to pass time, but it might not work if you have one child. But guess what? You can turn it into a dance party or a competition between you and the baby.
7. Card Games
Card games focus on your childâ€™s cognitive skills, emotional intelligence, problem-solving, and socio-communication skills. Whatâ€™s more, itâ€™s fun to play these games indoors as it is outdoors.
Youâ€™ll need a deck of cards and a game idea from the wide range of kid-friendly card games. Popular games include;
- Go Fish: This is one of the most popular card games for kids. The game is between two players or more, and the goal is to collect all four cards of a set. For example, all four spades, eights, kings, etc.
- Crazy Eights: You’ll need the standard 52-card deck for this one. The players (2-4) are looking for matching cards in the pile until one of them uses all his cards and becomes the winner. It’s called Crazy Eights because any card with 8 can be put down at any point in the game.
- Additional card games for kids are war, snap, concentration, Uno Reverse, Slapjack, Spoons, Pounce, and Garbage. The list is endless.
8. Reading Games
Games keep the kids active. But if you’re looking for something more chill and organized, ask the kids to play reading games. It simple! Pick a book with lively and realistic characters and the kids will act out these characters. In addition, they’ll embody the characters’ voices and sounds to make it fun. Therefore, we recommend involving the kids in the book selection process.
But thatâ€™s not the only fun reading game. The kids can play word search, treasure hunt, bingo, scrabble, pick out the theme, and more. In fact, you can organize a spelling bee as part of the reading games. We have curated a list of fun activities that will make reading fun for kids that you can check out.
9. Musical Chairs
â€œMusical chairsâ€ is an exciting and funny game. The kids will compete to sit on a chair and whoever fails to do so will be out of the game. If you have four children, you’ll arrange three chairs in a circle. Next, you’ll play music and the kids will dance in a circle around these chairs.
When the music stops, every child must immediately grab a chair and sit. The fourth child will miss a chair, meaning theyâ€™re eliminated from the game. Youâ€™ll then reduce the chair number to two and repeat the process. The last child to sit on the final chair is the winner.
There are many indoor games for kids to try, and they accommodate children of all ages. Hopefully, these games will help you to create fun indoor experiences for your family. And guess what? Once youâ€™re ready to explore the outdoors, our article on beach activities for kids will come in handy.