“What’s been the greatest challenge with kids?” You ask this question to any parent out there and the most obvious response you get is- KEEPING THE KIDS ENGAGED INDOORS. Coming this from a mother who would find it so challenging to bring her daughter indoors before 7 in the evening even after playing for 3 hours before this virus wreaked havoc, I want to say I HEAR YOU! And I AM WITH YOU! So, the teacher in me got thinking and of course, GOOGLE BABA was called in for help, I have curated a list of INDOOR GAMES for children that would keep them entertained and involved for a few hours. Nevertheless, it would keep them off TV or mobile phones and also the most important, off YOU asking for snacks incessantly or repeatedly saying ‘I am bored’. Although I have segregated them into different age groups, you may pick a few or all from the list so as to let them keep playing while also keeping them safe indoors.

Indoor Games for 3-6 years old

Scavenger Hunt- This may seem old-fashioned but it is a no-fail formula to get those little ones running around looking for hidden objects or toys in your bedroom or living room or garden. You can keep this game simple like collect 10 objects that are round or blue or green or post a challenge for the older ones like find something rough or squishy. You can get creative and create your own list to be discovered. Put in some learning and fun together and nothing beats that!

Obstacle course- You really don’t need to get that heavy sports equipment from the field to set up this one right in your own living room or verandah. All you need is some common household stuff and your race course is ready. Have some fun and laughter while your child attempts to jump over the stack of newspapers or a bucket and goes zig-zag around the bottles and crawl under the chair to reach the finishing line. They would love going around it again and again until they are tired enough to be put to sleep. Job done!

We are going for a bear hunt- Inspired by the classic storybook of the same name, this one is my favourite. Hide the teddy-bear in the room and guide your little one to find it saying hot-hot as he/she goes near to the teddy and cold-cold if they are really off the trail. You can also substitute hot/cold with slow and faster claps or create your own cue. Be sure to read the book as well or view it online.

Musical Letters- This one is taken from Let kids be kids, but it seemed really fun so I had to put it up. Write down letters or numbers or shapes or sight words on small pieces of paper and spread them around on the floor. Now play some music and get dancing, pause the music and shout out one of the letters or numbers or shapes or sight words spread out and the child has to find and sit on it. You may set up a timer or countdown for them to find it as quickly as possible. Challenge them and throw in some bigger words or phrases if you wish to.

Roll a dice- On a piece of paper, assign some actions from 1-6 such as

    1. Do crab crawl to the nearest wall
    2. Stand on one leg for 20 seconds
    3. Laugh for a minute
    4. Do 20 jumping jacks
    5. Waddle around the room
    6. Sing a song in a squeaky voice

Now roll the dice and get started. This one can be played with the family and create some fun and priceless memories together.

Indoor Games for 7-12 years old

All the indoor games mentioned above can also be customized to challenge the elementary learners like find rhyming objects or sit on the rhyming word or create a secret code scavenger hunt or a more challenging indoor obstacle race. Below mentioned are some additional games that you can enjoy with your children while they also develop some thinking and reasoning skills!

Paper-Pencil games- My childhood memories are still afresh of me playing dots and boxes game with my grandmother. So, let us revive those classic pencil paper games such as tic-tac-toe, hangman, name-place-animal-thing, Pictionary, pass through the maze and create some new memories with your child. 

Word Chain- We had picked up on this game while on a family trip to Shimla and it has stayed with us ever since. No material required, this game starts with one of the family members saying a word like magic, now the next member has to repeat the word and then add another word that is related to the first word, like magic-wand, now the next person has to repeat the two words and add his/her word to the chain. This simple game tests your memory skills as well as evokes laughter as everyone struggles to remember the words in the ever-growing chain. 

Guess the Celebrity or 15 Questions- Inspired from the famous television game show, this one is another game that requires no material or preparation. One member thinks of a famous celebrity or sportsperson and others guess by asking only Yes/No questions. You can ask only 15 questions so make them count and have fun while making your child aware of some of the celebrated people around the world. Isn’t it a good trick to also get that History lesson done!

Board Games- When we think of board games, Ludo, Snakes n Ladders, Carrom and Chess, are the first ones that come to everyone’s mind. No doubt that these are indeed most common of the board games, but this summer give a try to some equally exciting board games like Connect 4, Qwirkle, SET, Othello and Tangram to name a few. You can order these games from Amazon and Flipkart which also develop logical and tactical reasoning. Trust me you are going to enjoy them as much your child does!

Card Games- What if it is not Diwali, one can always enjoy a game of cards with their kids as well. Play a game of Snap, Go Fish, War or simple memory game which is perfect for cognitive development. 

Added tip- Keep a bowl of popcorn or chips for some game-night fun!

While you enjoy these indoor games with your children this summer, don’t forget to instill a simple mantra- Participation is more important than winning!!

Written by :- Ms. Dilpreet Kaur, Early Years Instructor, MRIS-46, Gurugram