This will end up being a two part blog series. Today’s post will be random fun games & activities. Tomorrow will be art projects. These are great boredom busters for summer, but they can be pulled out of any savvy parent’s bag of tricks when needed all year long!
1. Pavement painting
Fill a bucket with water; give the kids large paintbrushes and a large area of pavement. Paint, watch it disappear and then start again!
2. Poem dance
Read a favorite poem and create movements that express the poem in dance.
3. Ghost land
Give the kids some old sheets, tell them they are now living in “ghost land,” and watch what creative play they come up with.
4. Homemade playdough
Find and make a recipe for homemade playdough. Give the kids tools for carving and creating.
5. Write letters to friends and family
6. Shaving cream fun
Buy some cheap cans of shaving cream and some balloons. Super fun!
7. Play action words
Yell out a variety of action word and have the kids *do* them. Shake, wiggle, stretch, leap, slide, run, crawl, fall, spin, turn, etc…
8. Create a diorama
9. Make puppets and put on a puppet show
10. Play at a water park
11. Run a stuffed animal/doll “hospital”
Help your kids set up a hospital. Teach them some simple first aid and watch their imaginations soar! (Variations: school, store, restaurant, post office, etc)
12. Freeze and melt game
Similar to freeze tag, but without any chasing. Let the children jump, wriggle, shake, or dance. Yell “freeze” and they must freeze in position. Yell “melt” and they resume movement. This is a good one for kids to do on their own. Go read a book, Mom!
13. Shadow Theater
Hang a sheet in a large doorway, place lamp with a bare bulb behind it. Have fun with your shadows.
14. Walk like animals
This is great for younger kids. Have them imitate the movements (and sounds) of various animals.
15. Swim at a lake
16. Write an original play
Perform it in your shadow theater, or as a puppet show, or just as a regular stage play. Invite friends and family to the performance.
17. Shadow tag
This is an outdoor game. Choose a sunny day and instead of tagging each other physically, the kids “tag” the shadow of the other person. Added bonus if you pretend you are characters from Peter Pan. 😉
18. “What’s missing?” game
Collect 6-10 items on the table. Have the children study them for a few moments before have them turn around with their eyes closed. Remove one item and have the children guess which item is missing.
19. Go on a treasure hunt
20. Magpie hunt
Similar to a treasure hunt, with a fun twist. Make a list of items you want the children to find for you (draw or print pictures for younger children). See who can bring you the most items from the list.
21. Lego contest
Who can build the most interesting Lego structure or item?
22. Space weaving
Use yarn or string and create a zig-zagging, spider web-like space near the ceiling of your child’s room. Have them choose a theme (outer space, under the sea, rainforest, pixie hollow) and then allow them to create and hang things from the web they have created to turn their bedroom into their own original space. It’s easy to take down when they are done, but can provide weeks of entertainment as they make things for their space. Great for older kids!
23. Make rubber band instruments
24. Recycle old crayons into new crayons
25. Amazing maze
Use masking tape to create a maze through your house. The kids will LOVE this!
26. Play copy cats
Similar to “Simon Says,” but it’s completely silent. One person makes various moves and the other players are the copy cats. Every mom loves a good silent game, right?
27. Build sheet forts
28. Camp indoors
Complete with s’mores and ghost stories. No technology allowed! (Ok, you can use the microwave to make the s’mores.
29. Play bridge and tunnel
Make a bridge or tunnel with your body, and let friends go over or under…
30. Backwards day
Everything is backwards! Start the day with a bedtime story & bath, and go from there. Be sure to have breakfast for dinner, just don’t let the kids have any coffee. Hee hee.
31. Go on a night hike
32. Make bean bags, play bean bag games
33. Build a house of cards
34. Make a telephone with cups & string
35. Turtle races
Trace a circle on cardboard with a glass tumbler. Draw a turtle’s head and legs, color both sides, and then cut it out. Make sure you have one turtle for each child. Cut a small hole in the turtles head and thread 12″ of string through it. Tie one end of the string to a table leg or chair, about 10” from the ground, hold the other end. Start with the turtle near your hand. Pull the string taut and watch the turtle stand. Release the tension and the turtle will flop forward. Keep repeating until the turtle reaches the table leg. Race the turtles again and again.
36. Play pirate
37. Have a Wii Sports Tournament, award medals.
38. Play board/card games
39. Learn to play chess, or learn strategies and practice
40. Make your own pickup sticks, play with them
41. Visit museums
42. Swim, swim, swim
43. Learn to play dominoes
44. Paint with equal parts dish soap and washable tempera paint on the patio door; wash off with the hose and start again
45. Dance with scarves or ripped up (old) sheets
46. Play cat tiggy
One person is the “cat” and the other players are “birds.” The birds fly from perch to perch (couches, chairs, coffee tables) before the cat can catch them. Any birds that are tagged before perching become the new cat.
47. Play lots and lots of dress up
48. Make a sling shot and practice (safely)
49. Create an obstacle course
50. Read, read, read!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Several of these activities can be found in the book 365 Days of Creative Play, but also my time as a preschool teacher and parent. Enjoy!