It is very easy to plonk your child in front of a gadget and keep them entertained for hours on end. This however, is not ideal for your child’s health, mentally or physically. There are some old fashioned, wonderful games that children can play inside which are easy to do, and they work on different aspects of your child’s development. They have been around for decades, purely because they are so wonderful and fun! If you have not heard of them before, then this is your chance to have a blast with your little ones. They can be played with just the family, a group of children at home or they can be played at parties. I have chosen 3 indoor games for each age bracket, toddlers (2-4 years) and for the bigger children (5-10 years). I hope you have fun playing them!
1. I spy
This is a wonderful game for children of all ages but especially children who are learning their alphabets and sounds. This game is also good for your child to learn about the world around them. It encourages exploration, and it is good for connecting sounds/shapes/colours to objects.
The aim of the game is to get one child to find an object which everyone can see and they have to say the words “I spy with my little eye, something beginning with…. T”. For example – If the child chooses “toothbrush” as their object their letter would begin with T. All the other children then have to take turns naming all the objects they can see that begin with T until they guess the right one. Whoever guesses right, has their turn next at choosing an object. For the little ones, you can help sound out the letter for them and point to different objects that begin with that letter or you can give them a clue on the shape and colour such as “It is long and blue”. It doesn’t matter if they don’t understand it, they will still be benefiting from the game because they will be listening to different sounds and they will see the other children connect sounds to words, words to objects. It is wonderful for children’s thinking skills, literacy skills, overall cognitive development and team building skills.
2. Touch and Feel
This game is really fun! It is an opportunity for your children to get a sense of touch at an early age when the whole world is so focused on the sense of sight. What you must do is get a selection of objects, try to make them different in weight, texture and size. Place the objects in a box or a bag. Then you can either blindfold your child and ask them to pull out an object one by one and try to identify them or you can choose NOT to put a blindfold on your child and get them to identify the objects with their hand in the bag.
It is a great game for heightening your child’s senses and developing their fine motor skills. It is also good for them to connect the feeling of the object to the actual object. Encourage your child to keep describing what they feel as they attempt to identify the object. For little children you can start with simple objects such as a ball, a hairbrush, a teddy bear etc.. and you can find harder objects to identify as the children go up in age.
3. Balancing Beam
This is very easy to set up and is fantastic for developing your child’s balance. It can be played with a single child or many children. All you need is masking tape! For balancing beginners (2 year olds), put the tape on the floor in a long straight line. Encourage your child to walk on the line right to end. Get them to put their arms out to balance themselves. As they master this first step, you can then make the task a little harder by zig zagging the tape, or making circles with it. When they have grasped this, you can again increase the challenge by getting your child to do it by walking heel-to-toe, backwards, with their eyes closed (socks off so that they can feel the line), hopping on the line etc…
You can then bring imaginative play into the game by pretending there is a river of crocodiles below and your child must not fall off the line or they will fall into the pool of crocodiles! Encourage your child to use their own imagination and get them to come up with something fun and challenging to lengthen the exercise.
1. Simon Says
For this game, firstly you need to choose someone to be the “Simon”. If you are Simon, you must give instructions to the other children but in order for them to follow your commands you must say “Simon Says” at the beginning of the sentence. For example – If you say “Simon says sit down”, everyone playing must sit down. If someone fails to follow the command before the next command starts, they are out. You can also attempt to get each other out by saying commands that don’t have “Simon says” at the begging. For example “Touch your nose”. If a child touches their nose and the Simon hasn’t said “Simon says touch your nose”, then they are out.
This is a great listening game for children. They are listening, following commands and acting swiftly. It is also another great game for team building and social and emotional development.
2. Treasure Hunt
This is another really fun game! It is an opportunity for your child/children to really use their thinking skills. It is also very educational as the children learn to problem solve.
Firstly, you need a prize or something for them to find at the end. It could be a special treat or something like a favourite toy of theirs.
Once your prize is hidden you need to write a clue for it. You are basically working backwards with the clues. For example – If I hide the prize on the inside cactus plant, I would then write a clue that sais “I usually come from the desert, I store water and I can be very prickly”. This clue would then get hidden and I would then go onto writing the next clue for that hidden place.
You can do as many clues as you like. For the younger children you may want to do less and you can make the clues easier. For the older children, you can try and come up with little riddles which they have to work out. Encourage the children to discuss the clue in detail making sure that all the children learn something with each one.
3. Hide and Seek
Who doesn’t love hide and Seek?!! It has to be one of the oldest games ever invented and one of the most fun!
You can play the game in various ways. The first way and the most common is someone counts and everyone else hides. The counter then has to find each hidden person. You can add to this by getting the children that are hidden to run when they have been seen. They then have to be caught to get out.
Another fun way to play this game is in the dark or blindfolded. This will work better with the older children so they don’t get too afraid. It is a great physical exercise as well as strengthening your child’s senses and gross motor skills. It is an opportunity for your child to use their imagination on their own and find the most creative places to hide.
All of these games may already be familiar to you, however how many of your children actually play them?
I mentioned that they all have developmental benefits in one way or another and if you combine the games you are helping to strengthen your child’s different skills and every side of their overall development:
• Sensory skills
• Literacy Skills
• Thinking skills
• Team Building
• Problem Solving
• Emotional development
• Social development
• Physical development
• Intellectual development