Do you need to come up with some games for kids that keep them quiet while you’re working? Do you dread hearing your youngsters whine about being bored? What’s a busy work-at-home parent like you to do?
In the past, children found creative ways to keep themselves occupied when the weather was terrible. Many of today’s kids just want to vegetate in front of the tv or play video games for hours. Is that a familiar scenario at your place?
Statistics are alarming for the average number of hours most American children play on technology. While limited tv and gaming has its place, you probably want your children to spend more time without it. Besides, your home job may require Internet work, and your connection speed can be slowed down with the whole family using it at once.
Children need structure, so consider making a daily schedule to help balance the needs of your home. Use a poster or whiteboard, write each child’s name on it, and block out the time they each get for technology. Fill the rest of the spaces with exciting games, activities, lunch hour, and rest time.
Before school is out and the battle against boredom begins, you must be prepared. Your little ones can have fun, and you can get your work done in peace.
Here are ten games for kids that they will love to play while you are “at work.”
1. Puzzle Time
Children of all ages enjoy a challenge, especially riddles and puzzles. These can be done individually or as a group. The good news is that these fun past times don’t require a lot of noise, which is good for you.
You can find beautiful jigsaw styles inexpensively for any age level. Set up a small table in a quiet space of the house where the kids can work on them. It can stay in place, and they can work on it a little bit each day.
Dollar stores usually have plenty of word searches, crosswords, and other gamebooks for children. Provide crayons, colored pencils, and markers, and store them in plastic containers. The Internet is a free source of free printable games and color sheets to copy.
2. Scavenger Hunt
When it’s raining and blustery outside, your youngsters can still have an adventure. Remember the scavenger hunts you enjoyed as a kid? This treasure hunting game can be just as thrilling indoors.
Beforehand, gather several unusual items and make a list of them. Hide each item in a creative place, considering your children’s age level. Give each child a list of things to find and a pencil to check them during the hunt.
Although healthy competition is suitable for children, you don’t want your scavenger hunt to turn into a noisy brawl. Give each kid a little prize after the game for a job well done. For even more exciting adventures, consider giving your hunt themes, like beach items or beauty stuff.
3. I Spy
Here is a game that kids have loved for generations that is quiet and doesn’t require anything. There’s no age limit, and they can play the game inside, outside, or even while traveling. I Spy encourages kids to use their imagination, guessing skills, and color memory.
To play, one child is chosen to be the spy. He will look around the room and will pick any object to keep in his mind. Then, he will say, “I spy with my little eyes, and the color of it is…” and will say what color the secret object is.
Each child gets a turn to guess one object. The guessing continues around the circle until someone guesses it correctly. The winner becomes the new spy for the next game.
4. Fun Challenges on Paper
If you have a pile of scrap paper and some pencils, you can keep your youngsters busy for hours. The rules for tic-tac-toe are simple for even the youngest children as they battle to see if X, O, or the kitty wins.
Your little ones can also improve their spelling and vocabulary by playing the classic Hangman. Who will guess the mystery word before the gallows are drawn? How about a game for kids of Dots and Squares, where players vie for squares to write their initials?
Another fun game with paper is making a classic fortune teller. The paper is folded into triangles that you work back and forth with your fingers and open for a funny fortune. Use bright colored paper and find an easy template online to make them.
5. Hand Games
Many adults still play Rock, Paper, and Scissors to choose someone for a dreaded task. Teach the kids the hand sign for rock, paper, and scissors and how to clap with their fist. Then, teach the rules about what item trumps the other.
Your kids can also learn amazing tricks using a length of string tied into a circle and arranged into designs on their fingers. If you don’t remember how to make the classic designs like Jacob’s Ladder, Eiffel Tower, or Spider’s Web, look for online tutorials under games for kids.
The iconic yo-yo is making its way back to toy departments across America. These little toys on a string are easy to work, and your kids can learn to make them do amazing tricks. When your kids play with their yo-yos, be sure they have enough space away from breakables.
6. Home Bingo
Bingo can be played with numbers, letters, shapes, or even objects. Home Bingo is a hybrid of a scavenger hunt and Bingo and can be made age-appropriate. It can be played in one room or around the house.
Create a simple 5 X 5 square grid on the computer and print them out. For each card, write the names of different household items in each square, making each card different. An older child can call out random things that the others can mark off of their card.
The winner calls Bingo when she has marked off five items vertically or horizontally. Then, she becomes the next Bingo caller. Print out several cards for multiple games.
7. Quiet as a Mouse
Fortunately for parents who work from home, the object of some games for kids is silence. When your kids play a game of Mouse, you may wonder if they are even in the house. It’s a fun game that you don’t have to hear.
Players get in a circle, and the chosen leader says, “One, two, three, mouse!” Everyone must stay quiet or be eliminated. The last person to keep the silence is the winner, and the game restarts. After a good game of Mouse, your busy mice may be ready for a lunch of grilled cheese sandwiches.
8. Classic Games for Kids
Two of the classic games for kids that are enjoying a revival are jacks and marbles. You may have heard your parents talk about it or have played the games yourself. These were favorite playground games that are just as fun indoors.
You can purchase a set of jacks or marbles in most department stores or online. Vintage metal jacks and glass marbles are collectible and can be quite expensive. Today’s finds are cheap and easy to find.
For either game, your kids will need some space to make a circle. If you don’t know or remember the rules for the game, find and print them out from your computer. Explain the rules for younger children.
9. Using Play Money for Games
Do you have play money left from old board games? Create games for kids, so they learn how to count money and shop. Help your youngsters set up a store or a bank, and they will be counting cash all day.
For the store, give each child some play money and set out a few canned goods or other small things for them to purchase. You can also let them play bank and cash paper checks. These fun games are good ways to teach your kids about business and home economics.
10. Thumb Wrestling
Arm wrestling can be a challenging sport, so thumb wrestling is the next best thing. To make the game fair, pair up kids that are around the same age and ability. While the game is usually quiet, you may hear a little giggling.
The kids pair up and clasp one of each other’s hands, thumbs up. Then, they use only their thumbs to wrestle and hold their opponent’s thumb down for the count of three. Winners can challenge each other for a final championship.
Final Thoughts: Mastering Quiet Games at Home
It’s not an easy task to work at home and keep your children quiet and occupied. When you plan games for kids that are creative and exciting, you are less likely to hear them whine about boredom.
So, the kids get to have fun playing quiet games, and you can get your work done. Even something as simple as a word search can make a big difference in your day.