Source: Miraculous, Magical Moments in Minutes: Over 500 Quick, Easy Activities for Adults and Children to Share, by Becky Baxa. More information can be found on pages 83-88
- Drop the clothespin in a bottle. If you don’t have any clothespins, play a modified version of this long time favorite. Use an un-sharpened pencil and an empty food container or bottle. The older the child, the smaller the opening. The younger the child the larger the opening should be. Can you drop a pencil from waist high into a soda bottle?
- Hang a tire swing
- Pin the tail on the donkey. When it is your turn, you must be blind folded. Use a handkerchief, cotton dishtowel or strip of cloth. Someone spins you around a few times and aims you in the right direction. Try to get the missing piece onto the picture in the correct location. We have played many versions of this game over the years. It doesn’t have to be a donkey. Pin a nose or crown on your favorite character. Be creative. Put the spots on a leopard. Use round colored stickers like they use for garage sale pricing. Sketch an animal on a large piece of cardboard and stand or tape it to something to make it stand up.
- Learn how to operate a yo-yo and do tricks.
- Play hop-scotch. Small rocks, a link of broken chain or a bean bag can be used to take turns throwing onto a number. Where it lands, is where you stop hopping. Hop on one foot for the single numbers, both feet down on the numbers side by side. If your non-hopping foot comes down on the single numbers, it is the next person’s turn. If you get really good, hop to the end and back! The hop scotch pattern can be drawn with chalk on the sidewalk or basement floor. Masking tape can be used in these spots also. You can even make an indoor game of hop scotch on a carpet or tile floor. Make sure you remove the tape immediately after the game to prevent sticky residue. If using masking tape inside, the best tape is the blue painters tape that comes off easily.
- Practice snapping your fingers.
- Play catch. Use a football, baseball, Frisbee, Nerf ball, etc. Make your own ball with a foil ball, crunched up paper bag or rolled up sock!
- Blow bubbles (page 170 in Miraculous, Magical Moments in Minutes) Recipe ingredients: 2 cups of dish detergent, Dawn and Joy work well, 6 cups of water, 3/4 cup corn syrup, 1 gallon container (a clean, empty milk carton) Procedure: Mix the above ingredients diluting with more water as needed. For best results, mix the night before or let the mixture sit for 4 hours before use. Fun Ideas: Try blowing bubbles with a bent wire hanger, pipe cleaner or string circles. Use a kids pool to make a giant bubble solution container. Save the wands from the store bought bubble containers and reuse. See who can blow the biggest bubble, the tiniest bubble. See whose bubble lasts the longest, floats the highest, travels the farthest.
- Jump Rope.
- Learn to play jacks.
- Learn to play marbles.
- Play tic-tac-toe. Play the best of two games out of three.
13. Blow up a paper bag and then POP it!
14. Sing or say a Mother Goose nursery rhyme. Examples: Jack and Jill, Do you Know the Muffin Man?, Little Miss Muffet, Mary Had a Little Lamb, Old Mother Hubbard, The Cat and the Fiddle, Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, Humpty Dumpty, Hickory Dickory Dock, Baa Baa Black Sheep, Little Jack Horner, etc. Can you think of actions or activities to fit the theme of your favorite nursery rhyme?
15. Make a friend a card.
16. Go for a walk . How many new things can you discover?
17. Play hide and seek.
18. Play hide the thimble. This was a favorite many decades ago. Many people don’t have thimbles now. Why not take the same idea and hide some other small object? Examples: matchbox car, action figure, comb, pencil, etc.
19. Go on a scavenger hunt. Decide what type of things you want to look for and make a list. Then set off on an adventure and discover how many items you find!
20. Egg Hunt. Use plastic eggs, so if one is not found, it won’t spoil. Give everyone their own sack or basket. Take turns hiding and finding the eggs. You can hide other things too. How about cotton balls? It doesn’t have to be Easter time to enjoy this game.
21. Play “I See, I See” or “I Spy”. Say, “I Spy” or “I see, I see, something .” The other player(s) ask questions to try to guess what is being spied. The person “spying” can only answer yes or no. You may want to say “warmer” or “colder” if the person is close to or far away from the chosen object. When it has been correctly guessed, it is the other person’s turn.
22. Play 20 Questions. Directions: Pick a person to start. That person must think of an object. To make the game easier, decide before hand if it is an animal, vegetable or mineral. If not pre-determined, this should be your first question to determine the classification. Another player asks a question that can only be answered yes or no. The person thinking of the object can only respond with a simple yes or no. No extra clues should be given! Players are allowed to ask 20 different questions. After hearing the answer, the person asking the question may try to guess the object. If the guess is correct, the person who guessed correctly gets to think of a new object. If the object is not revealed within 20 questions, the object must be revealed and a new object is picked.
“I Spy “ and “20 Questions” are great games to occupy children while you are waiting, on a rainy day, long car ride, doctor’s office wait, grocery line wait, etc. These games use listening, comprehension, & deductive listening skills.
23. Learn to braid. You can use yarn, string, shoe laces, cording etc. to learn to braid. One end needs to be secured. This can be done by someone holding one end. You can also hammer a nail into a small 1×4 board and tie one end of the cords to the nail to secure them. A food box container front also works well for a securing board. Punch a hole in one end and tie the cords through the hole. Make sure to use three different colors as you begin to learn. Alternate the right and left cord over the middle cord until your braid is as long as you want.
24. Learn to play a card game. Old Maid, Go Fish, Rummy, Spoons (four of a kind), Concentration
25. Invent your own card or board game.
26. Learn to play checkers. Have a tournament with different family members.
27. Watermelon seed spitting contest
28. Stacking wood blocks/logs
29. Find pictures in the clouds
30. Make a fist or finger puppets.
31. Play in, or create a boat, car, space ship, etc. from a cardboard box.
31. Read a book!
32. Play in a water puddle after a summer shower.
SO many ideas… it’s hard to stop! But this should get you started. Have fun!
You can find more ideas in Becky’s book Miraculous, Magical Moments in Minutes: Over 500 Quick, Easy Activities for Adults and Children to Share, available on Amazon.com
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