Toys can cause fighting, and television can provokes boredom; an easy game, however, engages and delights everyone. When planning games at home, take into consideration the age range and personalities of the children, because competitive, skill-based games might result in tears and arguments. Instead, take away the score-keeping, allow do-overs or plan cooperative games and open-ended activities.
Classic and easy indoor games often use cards, such as in Uno or Go Fish, or use boards, as in Chutes and Ladders or Candy Land. Some simple games require equipment, as in the case of jacks, marbles, dominoes, Jenga and pick-up sticks. Other games at home demand nothing more than your imagination, like Charades, Simon Says, Operator and hand-clapping rhymes. Backyard or garden games include Hide-and-Seek, tag, Duck Duck Goose, Kickball, Hot Potato and Ghost in the Graveyard.
Most easy home-based games do not require teams or too many rules. Instead, they expand and contract to accommodate different group sizes and levels of participation. For example, the game musical chairs only requires your removal of a chair or two if players drop out. The game of Pictionary, in which people guess what someone is drawing, does not need teams, just a group of people yelling out guesses.
Home-based games typically do not demand great physical prowess or stamina. Instead, they often focus on creativity or strategies, as in the case of 20 Questions, in which the leader thinks of a person, place or thing and the players must ask yes or no questions to determine the mystery item in 20 questions or less. In Baby I Love You, the leader tries to get someone to laugh, without touching anyone. The player must respond, “Baby, I love you, but you just can’t make me smile.”
The great benefit of easy games at home is that they cost nothing, get players communicating, provoke laughter and build community. Families might plan a game night switching between a board game like Clue and a silly game like Freeze Dance, in which a leader plays music and everyone dances, freezing when the music stops.
Do not expect a home-based game to stretch as long as a game might last in a wide-open space. In most cases, a circle game like Who Put the Cookie in the Cookie Jar or the Hokey Pokey, might last only 5 or 10 minutes, while a board game with older children might hold players’ attention for up to an hour.
- game image by Jo??o Freitas from Fotolia.com