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Games for Children at Home

The sun’s been coming out more reliably with every passing week. Flowers are blooming. For those who are at home with kids, the warmer and longer days present a challenge. We could all use some new fun games to keep us occupied inside, or outside if you have a garden or yard. These activities will entertain and sustain kids creatively, physically, mentally, and socially.

Hopscotch image by D Sharon Pruitt, used under a Creative Commons CC BY 2 license

1) Extreme Hopscotch / “Keks”

This game is ideal if you have space in your driveway or sidewalk without too much foot traffic. You might just see your neighbours hopping around on their daily walk if you make an extra challenging hopscotch course.

Just like ordinary hopscotch, you’ll need some colourful chalk to draw out squares for where you need to move forward. Numbers are written out to tell you what order to hop in. Single squares mean you have to hop on one foot, while two squares next to each other mean you need to put one foot inside each square. You can arrange these in whatever order you like.

But where this game becomes exciting is when you throw in some different moves. For example, use a piece of chalk to draw a spiral shape and the number “3” for the third part of the hopscotch course, which will also mean that the player has to spin around three times on one foot before hopping forward. You can write “5 jumping jacks” to make the player do five jumping jacks in place before continuing.

Then there’s the backwards arrow, which means you have to hop backwards with the correct moves. A “2” with a backwards arrow means you have to hop two spaces backwards. Hopefully you won’t land on a spinning spiral.

For the most daring players out there, you can add in assorted bits and pieces like tennis balls or toys, to bounce or carry as you hop from one space to the next. This can be done instead of tossing a stone in one of the squares and skipping over that square.

Draw a chalk outline of the object you’ll be picking up so your household of players knows where to pick up and put down the object. It’s not easy to stay on one foot while crouching down, so a special prize can be reserved for whoever successfully gets to the end of the course and then hops back to the beginning.

2) Telephone— the drawing version:

There’s no doubt you’re already familiar with the party game of Telephone, but this is a variation of that game with drawing instead of just words. Don’t worry if you’re not very good at drawing, this will make it even more funny to play!

Gather everyone that lives in your home in one place and sit in a circle. The first player thinks of a random phrase (for example, “the raccoon is sleeping on top of the sauna”) and draws it on a piece of paper. They have 30 seconds to think of their phrase and draw it. Then, the first player has to secretly show their drawing to the next player on their left. This second player has to look at the drawing and describe it to the player on their left. They should whisper in their ear so that no one else knows.

This third player has 30 seconds to draw what they just had whispered to them. Then this player must show their drawing to the player on their left, who in turn has 30 seconds to describe what they see in the drawing. A burglar who fell asleep on someone’s roof? A superhero flying above a city?

This is then compared with the first drawing to show how close to or far from the original phrase everyone was. You can extend this game to include as many people who live in your house, with the same draw-describe-draw-describe format.

3) Toilet Roll Puppets

I hope no one has too many rolls of toilet paper lying around at home, but before you throw those cardboard tubes into the recycling bin, put some aside for an impromptu craft project.

Used cardboard toilet roll tubes are stable and easy to customize, making them a good candidate for creating characters. You can cut them into different shapes, like a character with spiky hair. You can glue on a cone-shaped hat to the cardboard body. You can carefully use scissors to cut eye, nose, and mouth openings out (draw these with pencil first and ask an adult to cut them out for you).

When you have a nice shape all ready to go, use some acrylic paint, markers, or crayons to add colour and expressions to the characters. If you’re feeling adventurous, make some costumes and props for the characters, like some pipe cleaner arms, a walking stick, or a small Estonian vöö (belt) with patterns going around the waist of the character.

Put them out for show, use them for a small living room performance—the choice is yours!

This article was written by Vincent Teetsov as part of the Local Journalism Initiative.

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