Put aside those toys and video games, and engage your kids in fun indoor games. Whether it’s winter outside or the kids just need a moment to play calmly, indoor games can help children relax, focus and engage with one another. Vary your indoor games so that everyone excels at something, or organize group challenges and cooperative games that have children working toward a common goal. Remember to engage all the players by keeping games accessible and focusing more on participation and less on rules and competition.
Classic indoor games include board games, like Chutes and Ladders, or games involving small pieces of equipment, such as Pick Up Stix, Jenga, jacks or marbles. Circle games, such as Hokey Pokey, Hot Potato and Farmer in the Dell, involve some activity, but the play remains relatively contained. Group games, such as Simon Says and musical chairs, also introduce small amounts of active play. Charades is a favorite indoor team game. Partner activities include Rock, Paper, Scissors and hand-clapping games.
Most indoor games focus on words, ideas or small movement rather than wild activity. For example, in Freeze Dance, people move and dance to music until the leader turns off the music. Players must freeze until the leader starts the music again. In 20 Questions, a leader thinks of a person, place or thing, and the players must guess the mystery item in 20 questions or less.
Most indoor games have more rules than outdoor games. People tend to have to take turns, such as in card games like Go Fish and Crazy Eights, rather than playing simultaneously. However, many indoor games for younger children have no set beginning or end, such as Duck, Duck, Goose.
You can modify some outdoor games to make them into indoor games. Tag, generally too wild for inside, mellows when you insist players crawl or crab walk. Hide and seek works well inside, as long as participants do not need to run back to base. Use a balloon in place of a ball, and children can play Hot Potato or Volleyball inside.
Many adults introduce a game only to be surprised that children require redirection within a few minutes. Most young children require a change of game every 15 minutes, while older children can stick with indoor activities up to 30 minutes or an hour.
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