Rainy days are often accompanied by the claim, "Mom I'm bored." No matter how many toys or electronic devices they have, sooner or later the kids are going to want something new to do. Parents can often be at a loss to find something that will hold their interest. Here are 4 ideas that are easy to do, need only items commonly found around the house and will keep the kids entertained for hours at a time. They are also a great way to boost your kids creative thinking as they create their own rules to change the games.
This is a variation of musical chairs and doesn't require as much room to play. Place one toy for each person in the center of a rug in an open room. Each person will circle the rug while the music plays. Once the music stops each person must grab a toy. Remove one toy for the second round. The person who doesn't get a toy is out. Continue until there is only one player left.
Another version is to play music while the kids dance around. When the music stops everyone must freeze in place exactly as they are standing. If you move, you are out.
A third version isn't exactly a game, but it can be used to motivate kids to help clean up the play room. Each child starts at opposite ends of the room and wait for the music. While the music plays they must pick up and put away as many thing as they can, working toward the other side of the room. When the music stops they must freeze in place. Once the music starts they begin cleaning again. The key is to not keep the music going to long so they have several stops while they are cleaning. The combination of the music and the 'competition' really gets them motivated to participate.
Crossing the Marsh
This game can be played with only a few people or many. You will need some newspaper for each participant. You will need a large open space such as a hallway or living room. Mark out a starting line and a finish line. Give each player two pieces of newspaper and tell them they must get from the starting line to the finish line without touching the ground. The newspaper represents the 'safe' ground. They will need to place one piece of paper on the ground, stand on it and place the next piece of paper on the ground. Once they have moved to the second piece of paper they will have to pick up the first piece and move it so they can stand on it. Once everyone has done this a couple of times it is time to make it a bit harder.
Now everyone needs to divide into pairs. Each group must do the same thing, but they only have two pieces of newspaper. They can follow the same process, but both will have to fit onto the single piece of newspaper. Make it even more challenging by cutting the newspaper in half to make it smaller and more difficult to stand on. Another variation requires that they leave a trail of newspapers behind them so they must tear a piece off that is large enough to stand on and continue to move to the finish line.
This can be even more fun if you have enough people to make teams of three or more. Then each team has one less piece of newspaper than there are people in the group. For example a team of 4 would only have three pieces of paper. Have races to see who is the fastest to get across the marsh.
Hide and Seek for Stuffed Animals
This is a modification of the standard, "FInd the Button" game many adults remember playing. Young children may have a hard time finding such a small object so this modified game uses a stuffed animal instead. You will need one or more small stuffed animals and a timer to play this game.
One person hides the stuffed animal(s) in a designated room. They can be hidden under, behind and even inside items. Make sure you know how many stuffed animals are being hidden and what they are so there is no arguing about what was found. Once the animals are hidden the timer is set for 5 minutes and the rest of the family looks for the stuffed animals. This is particularly fun when played in a room where many random stuffed animals are usually laying on the floor and you have to find the specific stuffed animals being used for this game. The trick is to remember which stuffed animals are the ones you are looking for. The person who finds the most gets to hide them the next round.
If you want to make it easier you can have the person who hides say warmer and colder to give hints or expand the areas where the animals can be hidden. This is particularly fun if you have older children who find it hard to hide themselves when playing a standard game of hide and seek.
Balloon Volley Ball
Kids love playing with balloons and this game is one they can play for hours. You will need one or more round balloons, a variety of colors is best, and a timer.
Choose a room that is open, such as a living room or play room. This game can also be played around a table, though the table should be cleared of everything first. Everyone sits in a large circle. The object is to keep a balloon in the air for a specific amount of time. Start with three minutes. To make the game harder add another balloon for each additional round until you have one balloon for each participant to keep in the air.
If this seems too easy then once everyone has a balloon make the circle smaller. Remember everyone should be sitting. Keep making the circle smaller until everyone's knees are touching. Keep track of how many times the balloon touches the ground before the timer rings.
Enjoy the fun and smiles of spending some time playing this simple game with your kids.