Looking for ideas of things to do at home with the kids? If you can’t leave the house today, it doesn’t mean you have to miss out on fun family time! There are lots of easy family games, which are often forgotten, to play at home or in the garden. Most don’t require much equipment and are loads of fun when you all play together!
If it’s only yourself and a child, sensory play is a fantastic way to spend quality time, talking, playing and exploring together. With only a few household ingredients you can create some amazing things like fake snow that is great fun to play and mould into snowy landscapes, magic fairy lands or worlds above the clouds.
For slightly older children (who won’t eat it!), this rainbow soap foamy can be a colour mixing lesson or just an opportunity to mess about with lots of colourful bubbles!
If there are 4 or more in your family, or your child has friends over, why not play some old favourites. Pick and choose the games that suit the age group of the children you are playing with:
A great game for younger members of the family, especially as they learn the parts of their body. One person is ‘Simon’ and they ask the others to do something with the command, ‘Simon says ____’. Participants of the game must follow these commands. However, if ‘Simon’ gives a command without ‘Simon says’ then those that do it are out of the game. The idea is to stay in the game for as long as possible!
This reverse version of ‘hide and seek’ is brilliant! Only one person hides while the rest of the people playing close their eyes and count to 100 (or as high as they can!). The seekers then spread out to find the hiding player but they don’t catch them, instead they join them in their hiding place so in a short time you are all squashed in like sardines. The last person to find the hiding place is the next person to hide.
This is a great game if you have a mix of children and teens. You will need:
Sit all the players back to back. One player will choose an object from the bag and describe it to their partner without naming it or what it is used for. Once they feel they’ve drawn it they set the paper aside. They then switch positions for the next object until all objects have been drawn. The team who finish first get 2 points and then each team gets a point for every item drawn correctly. The team with the most points wins!
If the weather allows, and you have a garden, there are many games to play outside to get active and spend some fun time together. If you went to school in Ireland, you may remember some of these!
This is a fantastic game for little ones, it helps with counting and following instructions but they’ll be having so much fun they won’t notice! One person is the mother or captain and they stand a distance from the other players who line up in a row. Each of the players ask the mother/captain before they move if they can make the move e.g. ‘Mother may I take 2 giant steps?’ The mother says yes or no. If they say no, they must give an alternative, ‘no, you can’t take 2 giant steps but you can take 2 baby steps’. If a player forgets to say ‘Mother may I’ then they have to return to the start line. The first person to reach the mother is the winner and becomes the mother in the next game!
Older children love this game, mainly because one of them gets to play a wolf, what’s not to love about that?! One person is nominated to play ‘the wolf’. They stand with their back to the other players who are lined up the same distance away. Each of the players take it in turn to ask ‘what time is it Mr Wolf?’ and they take the number of steps the wolf answers with e.g. three o’clock is three steps. Once ‘Mr Wolf’ thinks the players might be close he chooses to answer with ‘Dinner time!’, before turning around and chasing the others who must get back to the start line without being caught The first person to get caught is wolf next time!
An Irish favourite from school yards and housing estates. Someone is ‘on’ and they have to count at ‘the can’ which can be a wall, streetlamp or pillar (or any other stationary object) while everyone else hides. The person who is on has to go find the players hiding and bring them back to ‘the can’ where they must stay unless they are freed by someone who runs from their hiding place to ‘kick the can’ without getting caught themselves. The best thing about street games like this is, the rules change by area so feel free to adapt them to whatever way works!
They don’t just have to be played at Halloween or Christmas, make the most of family time with family games anytime! If you feel inspired by these ideas, why not share them with your friends on Facebook?
Family time is precious, let us help you make the most of yours. If you want to get out of the house, we have suggestions for free days out around Ireland too.