23 great games to play at home with your kids

Stuck at home with your children? Stop screaming and quit panicking, because, as ever, Father Hood.co.uk is here to help. And this means? It means strap yourself in as I present my selection of 23 great games to play at home with your kids…

Helping you entertain your kids at home

Desperate times don’t always call for desperate measures. Yes, you’re facing up to the prospect of being behind closed doors with your kids for an elongated period of time. But no, you don’t have to solely rely on your tablet, phone, laptop or television. During my four-and-a-bit years as a work from home dad, I’ve come up with all sorts of games and tasks to entertain my son. Want to discover what they are? Of course you do, so here goes…

Father-Hood.co.uk’s great games to play at home with your kids

1. The Inventory

The Inventory - a fun game you can play with kids at home

The Inventory involves asking your kid to count loads of stuff around the house, and I love it for three reasons. First, it has significantly improved my son’s counting ability. Second, you can keep eating up time by adding to the list of things to count. Third, it has helped me prove to my other half that we really do have too many boxes, cushions and Allen keys.

2. Toilet Roll Tower Smash

Perfect for bulk buyers, this all-action game features two parts. Part one sees you challenge your child to build a tower, wall or pyramid using all the four-packs of toilet roll you have in the cupboard (note: two-packs of kitchen towel work just as well). And part two sees you challenge them to knock down their tower, wall or pyramid by throwing a ball or cushion at it.

3. Kitchen A-Z

I devised this game when I was attempting to keep my son away from the cooker while I was making dinner. The idea is simple and pleasantly time-consuming. He has to scan the kitchen and come up with an item that begins with each letter of the alphabet (e.g. apple for A, tap for T). Important note: no, we never have anything for X. Important note II: bored with the kitchen? Fear not, this game also works in other rooms.

4. Find the Card 2.0

This game is a tweak of the Find the Card game I featured in my popular Christmas Lunch with a toddler: 5 table games that’ll help you get through it post. It sees you take a credit, gym membership or library card out of your wallet, hide it somewhere in the house and challenge your kid to find it. Positives of this game include the fact it can last a good 15-20 minutes. Negatives of this game include the fact your kids can completely wreck your house while searching. Still, nothing ventured, nothing gained, right?

5. Count The Toys

Count the toys - a fun game for kids

Does your kid have a RIDICULOUS number of cars/dolls/pieces of LEGO/trains/cuddly toys/unicorns? I feel your pain, but I also sense an opportunity to create a time-consuming game. Here’s how it works…

  1. Ask your kid to place every single car/doll/piece of LEGO/train/cuddly toy/unicorn that they own in the middle of their bedroom or play area
  2. Get them to line them up nicely (note: this step has no real benefit, but it does eat up a lot of time)
  3. Get them to count how many cars/dolls/pieces of LEGO/trains/cuddly toys/unicorns that they own

6. Bathketball

Make bath time more fun by letting your kid take a bouncy ball and a plastic cup into the bath. And then? Well, then you get them to try throwing the ball into the cup, bouncing the ball into the cup, rolling the ball round the side of the bath and into the cup, bouncing the ball off two sides of the bath and into the cup, etc. etc. etc.

7. Spot The Difference

You’ve seen this in books, now bring it to life. Ask your child to stand outside their bedroom door and count to 100. While they are counting, make five subtle changes to the position of his or her toys, pictures and so on. When they’ve reached 100, invite them back in and ask them to spot the difference.

8. No Beer Pong

No Beer Pong is just like Beer Pong, except there is no beer and thus absolutely no copyright infringement. The rules are as follows:

  1. Position a cup somewhere in your house
  2. Get each competitor to pick up a ping pong ball
  3. Take it in turns to attempt to bounce or throw the ping pong ball into the cup
  4. Giggle hysterically
  5. Repeat until your kid gets bored or it’s time to eat a meal or go to bed

9. The Family Drawing Challenge

I am not arty in any way. But I love this game, which sees anyone who wants to get involved pick up some coloured pencils and begin sketching mum, dad, gran, bubby, cousin Joe and any other relative that they fancy trying to draw. Once everyone has finished drawing, the players attempt to guess the family members in their opponents’ drawings.

10. Pick, Carry, Drop

Place a bunch of small items on one side of the room and an empty container or bucket on the other. Now, hand your child a set of kitchen tongs and tell them to get all the small items across the room and into the bucket in the quickest time possible. If you’re lucky, they’ll want to keep doing this over and over again in a bid to lower their time.

11. Create A Story

Create a Story is one of my favourite games to play at home with your kids. It works like so. One of us says something to begin the story. Then the other person says something to take it on. Then the first person says something to take it on further. And so on and so on and so on. We keep alternating until we’ve run out of ammunition or the subject matter has got stuck on bottoms and/or poopoo heads.

12. Hand Tennis

Observant readers will notice that the Bubster and I are using a coffee table and a sausage cushion as the net and a squishy football as the ball. There are no lines. And even less control. But that’s the beauty of the reflex-sharpening, preschooler-amusing game I’ve titled Hand Tennis. As long as you have some kind of soft ball and are able to form some kind of barrier, then you can get down on your knees and play.

13. Crayon Bowling

To play this game your kid will need to be sitting at a table. They are? Fantastic, here is what you need to do next.

  1. Give your kid a crayon
  2. Line up the rest of the set on the opposite side of the table to where your son or daughter is sitting
  3. Challenge your little one to knock all the other crayons over by rolling their crayon at them
  4. Celebrate wildly when they manage to knock them all down
  5. Keep re-running the fun until your kid gets bored

14. Home Gym

Want to get a little bit fitter, while tiring your kids out? Then home gym is THE games to play at home with your kids option for you. Here’s how it works.

  1. Lie on the floor
  2. Begin doing bodyweight exercises like planks, sit-ups and press-ups
  3. Attempt to cajole your kid into copying you
  4. Work out together until your child loses interest
  5. When boredom arrives shake things up by turning your exercises into a fun game – e.g. ‘leg raise See-Saw Margery Daw’ or ‘plank tunnels’

15. The LEGO Tower Challenge

Who can build a higher LEGO tower – you or your kid? On your marks, get set, go!

16. H-O-R-S-E-Y

Pick up a ball and bounce it to your kid. If he or she catches it, nothing happens. If they don’t, they get an ‘H’. Now, it’s your turn to try and catch the ball. If you do, nothing happens. If you don’t, you get an ‘H’. Now, it’s your kid’s turn again. Keep bouncing and catching or dropping until one of you has collected all six letters of the word H-O-R-S-E-Y. Then, declare the other person the winner and start from H again.

17. Bee, Bee, Get The Bee

My mother-in-law deserves the credit for inventing this simple, but effective game that works on your stamina and your child’s language skills. To play it, you need a tea towel and a child who is willing to pretend they can see a bee on different household items. Ticked both those boxes? Great, then ask your kid where the bee is and get pretend splatting.

18. Shut Eyes Catch

This riotous game sees one player lie on their back with their eyes closed and their arms spread as wide as possible. And the other player count down from five and then chuck a soft ball in the direction of the dominant hand of the player who is lying on the ground. What happens next? Simple. The person on the ground tries, and most likely fails, to catch the ball with their eyes shut.

Done this? Great, now swap positions and try again. And then swap positions and try again. And then swap… you get the picture. Keep flip flopping positions until your kid decrees that he or she has had enough.

19. The Blindfold Taste Challenge

I’m sure you can guess where this is going. Cover your kid’s eyes in some way and then get them to taste a variety of foodstuffs. They get a point for every foodstuff they can correctly name. And you get a point for every piece of fruit you can get into their mouths.

20. Re-Re-Rebound

This is one of the most physically demanding games to play at home with your kids. It involves you, your child, a bouncy ball and a wall. Stand a couple of metres away from the wall, throw the ball at the wall and then try to catch the ball as it rebounds in your direction. Once you’ve made ten re-re-rebound catches in a row, give your kid a shot, and once they’ve made ten in a row, swap back and go for 20. Oh, and if this is too easy for you, raise the difficulty levels by getting one person to throw and the other to catch.

21. Count The Faces

Mummy? Daddy? Child one? Kid three? Which person appears most often in the pictures that are displayed around the house? Well, don’t just sit there. This part-Maths challenge, part-popularity contest requires EVERYONE to get looking and counting immediately!

22. Walkie-Talkie Range Check

Need a little space? Then try this game, which sees your kid start in the same room as you and then get progressively further away as he or she tests the range of their walkie-talkie set. Will you still be able to communicate when your little one is at the other end of the house/flat? Find out now.

23. Ride-on Toy Car Races

I could bore on for ages about how much fun these are. But instead, I’ll let the above video speak for itself. Don’t think. Just watch and then do.

Phew, that was a whole lot of content, wasn’t it? Seriously though, I hope you’re not stuck in the house too long and were inspired by my selection of games to play at home with your kids.

Until next time…

4 comments

    • Thanks for the comment. Re: the toilet roll tower smash, one trip to Costco and you’ll be fine :-).

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