The coronavirus outbreak has led to calls for all schools and nurseries to temporarily close. But while a shutdown could help control the spread of the virus, parents may struggle to keep their energetic little ones entertained while stuck at home. Children play not only for fun, but it also helps them to develop their individuality and recognize the world. We’ve put together a list of 10 enjoyable stay at home games and activities you can do with your children.
1. Freeze Dance
Choose some of your kids’ favorite tunes and turn up the volume. Ask them to dance until the music stops. When it does, they have to freeze in whatever position they find themselves in – even if they have one leg up. To make the game more challenging, ask the kids to freeze in specific poses: animals, shapes, letters or do 10 jumping jacks during the start of the next round and then rejoin the dance. Toddlers in particular love this game.
2. Balance beam
We all know how much kids love walking in straight lines every chance they get. Turn on some music, and one at a time the kids can take their turn walking one-foot-over-the-other across the straight line of tape. Make the game more challenging by having the kids walk backwards or balance with one foot on the line.
3. Pen and pencil games
Here are a few pen and pencil stay at home games that you can play with children.
- Tic-tac-toe is a paper-and-pencil game for two players, X and O, who take turns marking the spaces in a 3×3 grid. The player who succeeds in placing three of their marks in a horizontal, vertical, or diagonal row wins the game.
- Join the dots: Make a 6×6 square of dots on a page. Take turns to join dots with a line. You can join only two dots at a time. If your line completes a box, you put your initial inside it. The person with the highest number of boxes wins. Once the child gets the hang of the game, move to a bigger square.
4. Hot Potato
This game will have everyone giggling. Ask the kids to sit on the floor in a circle. Turn on some tunes and have them pass the potato (a bean bag or soft ball) around the circle as fast as they can. When the music stops, the player holding the potato leaves the circle. Keep going until only one player is left and wins the game.
5. Obstacle course
Create a furniture course in your apartment or take chalk and make a course outside. This kind of stay at home games will make your kids burn lots of energy. Add in specific mental or physical challenges to keep them guessing.
- Crawl under or over a row of chairs.
- Crawl under a string stretched between two chair legs.
- Jump into and out of a Hula-Hoop five times.
- Walk on a balance board.
- Throw a beanbag into a laundry basket.
- Run while balancing a beanbag on your head.
- Do a ring toss.
- Ride a tricycle along a predetermined route.
- Somersault from one point to another.
- Do a handstand.
- Skip in place while reciting a jump rope rhyme.
6. Balloon ball
There are endless stay at home games with balloons .
- Balloon Hockey: Make a hockey stick using the full instructions found here. Set up two goals on opposite sides of the room and have each child try to get the balloon into their goal by hitting it with their hockey stick. Pick a number of goals to reach or set a timer and see who gets the most points in that time frame to determine a winner.
- Baloon Ping Pong: Securely tape the stick to the back of the paper plate to form a racket. Blow up the balloon and put a tape line on the ground to serve as a net. To play a formal game, let your kids hit the balloon back and forth across the “net.” They may only hit it one time to get it across and if they miss or the balloon touches the ground, the other person scores a point. The first person to score 15 points wins. To play for fun, just let them hit the ball back and forth with their rackets — no score keeping necessary.
- Balloon Catch: Blow up one balloon per player. Each player tosses his or her balloon in the air and then must catch it in the mouth of their funnel, and then toss it in air again and catch it again, all without using their free hand. Each catch is worth 1 point. If the player uses their free hand or the balloon touches the ground, they start over at zero. The first player to get to 10 — or 20 or 100 — wins! The game may be modified to be easier for younger players. For instance, they get a certain amount of touches before losing their points or they can use both hands.
7. Bake or decorate
Kids love spending time with parents in the kitchen. Think simple techniques, short ingredient lists and satisfying dishes that children will be proud to eat—because they’re the head chef. Bake without losing your sanity or buy pre-made frosting (and even cupcakes) and set up a cupcake decorating station with whatever candies, nuts, and sprinkles you have on hand.
When you cannot step out, pick up a few puzzles that you can work on all day.
Picture puzzles, but these won’t keep you busy for long unless there are more than 25 pieces in it.
A picture puzzle book can be a great idea, given that you can work on one puzzle after another to keep the child engaged.
Word puzzles are a great option if you want to improve your child’s vocabulary.
3D puzzles toys are good for younger children.
9. Pillow fight—’nuff said.
A pillow fight is a common game mostly played by young children (but also by teens and adults) in which they engage in mock physical conflict, using pillows as weapons.
10. Treasure hunt
Kids love finding hidden objects — especially when there’s a prize at the end. Simply write your clues on some slips of paper — get creative. Place the first clue somewhere easy to find, like inside your child’s snack or cereal bowl. Then leave as many clues as you like around the house, making a trail to the final clue. Instead of a prize, the treasure hunt can lead to various coins around the house. This way the kids get to collect all the coins and put them in their piggy banks in the end.
Use this period of isolation to spend more quality time with your kids. Choose one of these stay at home games and have fun!