This blog post is a shorter version of an article written by Cristin Howard on the blog Smart Parent Advice, find the full article here
Playing games is one of the best parts of being a child. Here are some easy to play ones that you can teach your kids. If you’re lucky, they might even let you join in with the fun. Otherwise, you can sit back and listen to the happy giggles.
It’s an oldie but a goody. This game has probably been played since the 1700s. Just in case you need a refresher, here’re the rules.
One person is ‘it’ and has to try and tag another player. However, they have to do this with their eyes shut. They, instead, must rely on hearing where the other players have gone. To help, they can shout ‘Marco.’ On hearing this, all the other players must respond with ‘Polo.’ Once they tag someone, that player becomes ‘it.’
We use an extra rule to keep things moving. It’s the 5-minute rule. If no one has been tagged after 5 minutes, whoever is closest to the hunter is now ‘it.’ If you’ve got younger kids, you might want to get them a pool float so they can be involved in the game too.
Capture The Flag
If you’ve got ample open space to play in and enough kids to form two teams, then capture the flag is a great game. It gets kids running around and encourages them to think strategically.
All you need is two items to act as your flags. You really can use anything at all as the flag, so get creative.
To play, you divide the space into two territories. When a player is in ‘enemy’ territory, they can be tagged. If so, they must perform a penalty before returning to their base. The winning team is the first to get the enemy flag into their territory.
If you want to spice things up, why not bring along some walkie talkies. This can let the kids roam over a larger area and encourage them to work as a team. With walkie talkies in play, the strategies can get even more intricate.
For a bit of mental exercise, why not give this memory game a try. All you need is a tray, a cloth, and a random selection of small items.
You arrange your selection of items on the tray and give the kids one minute to look. Then you cover the tray. Without the kids seeing you, take something away. The winner is the first kid to identify what’s missing.
You can make it as hard or as easy as you need to. The more objects, the harder it is. The bigger the items, the easier it is.
If you want to make it extra challenging, you can rearrange the objects on the tray after you take one away. This means they need to actually remember everything on the tray, not just look for the gap.
Games that encourage kids to be silly are always great fun. Charades is a good one to play with kids because if you’re good at it, you feel good about yourself. If you’re bad at it, it can be even more fun. It also encourages turn-taking, which is skill kids always need to be practising.
Here’s a quick rules refresher:
1. Pick a song, movie, or book title
2. Mime which option you’ve chosen
3. Indicate the number of words in the title
4. Start miming
Once the title is guessed, someone else has a go at miming. It’s good fun, with plenty of opportunities for silliness. It is worth having some suggested titles on hand for any kids who can’t think of anything. Try and pick easy to mime titles like Up, Jaws, Cars, or Little Women.
There are so many great board games out there for kids to play that we’d be here all day if I started listing them. Board games are great for encouraging kids to get thinking. They develop logic and problem-solving skills. Also, they’re fun! So, here are a few to consider for different situations.
Dixit is an excellent game for any number of kids, it’s pretty and creative. It gets kids thinking.
Ticket to Ride is a board game that makes kids fall in love with board games. It’s easy to learn even for young kids. There’s a nice mix of luck and strategy, plus you get to build a train empire across Europe.
Finally, Spaceteam is a fun, frantic five-minute game that gets kids working together and shouting at each other at the same time.
All that’s left is to wish you fun.
Author Bio: Cristin Howard runs Smart Parent Advice, a site that provides parenting advice for moms and dads. Cristin writes about all of the different ups and downs of parenting, provides solutions to common challenges, and reviews products that parents need to purchase.