Energetic kids can find it tough to be confined indoors during bad weather or on a long, boring car ride. For young children especially, many dull hours spent indoors can lead to boredom and cranky behavior. So, it's a good idea to have a selection of fun and simple games ready to alleviate boredom and keep everyone entertained. These games also help to reduce time spent staring at screens and passes the hours until kids can play outdoors again.

Building Activities

This is a great way to fire up children's imaginations without spending a dime, by simply using unwanted items you have lying around the house. Kids can spend many happy hours using discarded cardboard boxes, bottles, newspapers, and containers to build castles, forts or whatever they can dream up. Apart from clean boxes and containers, all you need to provide are scissors, tape and perhaps paint if you don't mind a little mess. For older kids, you can add in an element of competition to see who can build the highest tower using only recycled materials.

game ideas

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License Plate Game

This is a great game to play on long car rides and is a good option if the driver needs a little peace and quiet. All you need to provide is a pen or pencil and some paper for each player. The object of the game is to spot license plates from as many different states as possible. When a player sees a plate from a new state, they jot it down on their pad. The winner is the person who has spotted cars from the most states by the end of the journey.

games road trip

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Suitcase Memory Game

This is an entertaining game that builds memory skills. The first person begins by saying, 'I went on vacation and I took...' and follow with an item beginning with 'A'. The next person continues, 'I went on vacation and I took...' and then lists the item beginning with 'A' and adds their own item beginning with 'B'. The game becomes progressively harder as the players must list more and more items from memory. For older kids, the game can be made even more challenging by adding in an adjective with the same starting letter for each item. For example, 'I went on vacation, and I took an amazing antelope, a brown bear, a crunchy cactus' and so on.

memory games

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Musical Statues

This indoor game is most suitable for younger children. They must move around the room to some lively music. When the adult stops the music, everyone has to 'freeze' in whatever position they find themselves in. The last person to stand still, or anyone who moves or giggles once the music has stopped, is 'out'.

games musical

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Twenty Questions

Twenty questions is a guessing game where one player chooses a famous person. The other players must guess who they have chosen. To help them guess, they can ask a maximum of 20 questions which must be answerable using only 'yes' or 'no'. With much older kids, the game can be made much more challenging by allowing obscure historical figures. However, to keep the game interesting for everybody, it's best to implement a rule that the famous person must be somebody that everybody will have heard of.

games indoor

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Banana Game

This game is ideal for long journeys, and families can invent their own 'house rules' to make it more interesting. The object of the game is simple: points are awarded to the first person who spots a vehicle where all or part of it is yellow. Different amounts of points can be given for different types of vehicles, depending on how unusual they are. For example, a yellow car may be worth one point while a truck may earn five. An older kid can keep track of the points on a pad of paper.

car games

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Nosy Neighbours

Kids with big imaginations enjoy playing this car game. Each person takes it in turns to quickly take a look out of their window at the person in the car next to them. They then have to invent a backstory for that person to entertain the rest of the car. This should include the person's name, age, occupation, hobbies, and place of residence, but could include far more detail depending on the age of the kids.

games for kids

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Slow-Mo Tag

This game works in the same way as regular tag and is a good option for kids who don't enjoy sitting still for too long. However, the added bonus is that it protects the home from accidental breakages. Explain to the children what 'slow-motion' means. Then, pick one child to be 'it'. Just like regular tag, they must touch another child so that child then becomes 'it'. However, the whole game must be played entirely in slow-motion. Introduce a forfeit for anyone who breaks the slow-mo rule.

games for children

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Indoor Basketball

This game is great for building hand-eye coordination in little ones. The only necessary equipment is a ball and a bucket or basket. However, in order to protect household ornaments, this game could also be played with rolled-up socks instead of a ball. Children must stand a designated distance from the basket and throw the ball underhand. Every time they succeed, they must take a step back to make the game more challenging. This game can be made harder by using a smaller basket.

games for small chlidren

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Candy Game

This game is perfect for a little silence on a particularly troublesome car journey. In the UK, this game is played using gummy sweets called jelly babies. However, any kind of gummy or jelly candy is ideal, as long as it is tempting to chew. Each player gets a candy and has to keep it in their mouth for as long as possible without chewing it and without the candy dissolving. The winner is the person who manages to keep their candy intact inside their mouth for the longest. This activity can last a surprisingly long time.


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