This weekend we had the opportunity to meet up with some friends in Palm Springs for a mini-vacation. There were 3 families, and 6 kids all under 6, so you can imagine we were quite the sight when going out to eat or walking around the hotel, and it took some effort to keep everyone happy, busy, and out of trouble all at the same time. One of the moms with us is a mother of three girls, 5 years old and 3 year old twins, and she has this incredible ability to make up games on the spot that keep the kids engaged and distracted whenever needed. As I watched in awe one night as the kids all sat happily on the steps of the hot tub playing these games for a good 20-30 minutes, I had one of those “Why have I never thought of this?” moments. Sure, we play a game of I Spy now and then or Guess the Animal or something of the likes, but it’s not something I use on a regular basis. I knew right away this was something I needed to remember when we were out and about and wanted to share with all of you. They are such simple games, require no materials, and the best part is that the kids love them! I caught my 3 year old today asking his sister if she wanted to play a game from the hot tub!
When I asked my friend if I could share about her games on here she said of course, but she’s never really thought of them in that way. This is just how she interacts with children and has found that they enjoy talking about things they know like numbers, letters, and colors. These are perfect activities for when you are on the go, running errands, at the doctor’s office, out to eat…really any time you are doing an activity and your child may need some entertaining. She doesn’t have a list of ideas that she pulls from or has read about, she simply comes up with ideas based on their surroundings and her kids’ interests. However, if you are like me, making up games on the spot may not come as naturally for you. For those of you that lack the on-the-spot creativity that I do, I have compiled a list with some ideas. Don’t think of this as a list to choose from though, but as more of a starting point for creating your own games.
- Guess the number – So, we’ve all played this game at one time or another, but how often do you think to play it with your kids? It’s as simple as, “I’m thinking of a number between 1 and 10, what is it?” The kids absolutely loved it and were so excited when they got the number “right” every time, or you can use this as a great opportunity to work on higher or lower.
- Tickle game – See if they can keep a straight face while you tickle them for 5 seconds.
- Alphabet game – Start with A and take turns coming up with a word that starts with each letter of the alphabet. Alternatively, pick a letter from the alphabet and see how many objects you can find that start with that letter.
- How many… – You can use this game with anything and anywhere. How many things can you find that are red? How many people do you see wearing sunglasses? How many white trucks can you count?
- Trivia – This is just a simple guessing game, similar to I Spy. Think of an animal, object, person, etc., then give one clue at a time about it until someone guesses what it is.
- Which hand – This game cracked me up to watch and the kids loved it. Show them a number on your hands, then put it behind your back and tell them you’re mixing it up. Then have them guess which hand it was in. They were so thrilled every time they guessed the right hand!
So, maybe you already do these types of games with your kids on a regular basis, or maybe like me you are having a “duh” moment. I know I definitely plan to use these types of games with my kids more often as the possibilities are endless! See how many words they can rhyme with hat, take turns naming types of fruit, count the number of boys in the store…the ideas could go on and on. I absolutely love this quote from her and will keep it in mind whenever I am on the go with the kids: “There is a game everywhere, if you look at the world through their eyes and with what they know.”