It’s been over a month since Shelter In Place (SIP), voluntary quarantine, social distancing or whatever you want to call it. I’ve managed not to go entirely crazy, however, what IS driving me crazy is the increase usage of screens in my household. My children are using screens for distance learning, to video chat family AND friends now (that wasn’t a thing they did before), video games on the iPad and of course good ol’ television. When they are done with school and lunch, I ask – do you want to go outside and play? The answer is almost always NO. For the past month, there has been rain off and on so I didn’t press the issue. It’s been a bit chilly. I get cold easily blah blah. But now that the weather is getting better, they are still turning me down on going outside. The pandemic is a frightening and horrible situation as it is, but the repercussions from it socially and economically are just as bad. I don’t want to go into economics or politics but want to focus on family and relationships. I want my children to stay connected to their friends in person but adhere to the 6′ social distance rule. We’re going to halt the video chats, and start doing “Driveway Dates”. So get some chalk, draw a line to mark 6′ apart and call it the hot lava line, and try these contactless games with your neighbors and friends! (These games are mostly intended for younger kids. Adults, just grab a White Claw and camping chair!)
- I Spy – this game is great for the tiniest of kids because nothing is needed and no complicated rules. Example: I spy something red! A stop sign!
- Simon Says – nothing needed for this game either but at least three players needed. Have the children stand up and face each other. They can take turns being Simon. Each child follows what Simon says, but if Simon doesn’t say Simon, and they do the action, they are out! Keep doing it until there is a winner.
- Freeze Dance – this is fun and easy to do that doesn’t require a lot of space either! Assign someone to play DJ. Play an upbeat song, pause it and yell “freeze”! Anyone who doesn’t freeze is out of the game. The last one standing is the winner!
- Charades – this game is fun for children and adults! Break out into two equal teams. This game can be customized any way you want but is usually based off of guessing popular books, movies or songs. (You can narrow it down by saying Disney related only.) Have a player start from one team. The biggest rule is that they cannot talk. The starting player picks something and pantomines whether it’s a book by pretending to open and read a book, cranking a movie reel if it’s a movie or pretending to sing if it’s a song. They can hold up their fingers for the number of words in the title. Then they can hold up one finger for the first word, the second finger for the second word and so on. If they want to use a rhyming word, they can tug on their ear first for “sounds like”. The first person who guesses it right, gets a point for their team. It’s best to set a timer for a minute or whatever time you want. After each person does it at least once from each team, you can add up the points to declare a winning team.
- Red Light, Green Light – no equipment needed but better in a large open spot rather than a driveway. They can take turns being the “Traffic Light”. Have the other kids start at least another 6′ away from the 6′ hot lava line. The Traffic Light will turn their back towards the other children and when they say “green light” the other children will run towards them before the Traffic Light spins around and says “red light”. Everyone must freeze. If the child doesn’t freeze on time they have to go back to the start line. This continues until someone reaches the Traffic Light/hot lava line (do not touch them in this version)!
- Hopscotch – I loved this game as a kid! This can totally be played contactless if each child brings their own rock/marker. First draw the hopscotch design with ten squares big enough for one foot. Each child takes a turn by throwing their marker on a number. The marker has to stay within the lines of the box. If it doesn’t land within a box, that player loses a turn. The player hops through the squares on one foot, skipping the box with the marker on it. They can use two feet if there are two boxes next to each other. Once they make it to ten, they turn around on one foot, and hop back in reverse. While on the square before their marker, they have to lean down and pick it up. Then they still need to skip that square and finish the game.
- Pictionary – this game does require some equipment. Each child should have their own pen and paper or dry erase board and markers. Each child should also bring their own deck of note cards with words on them from these categories to keep it simple: object, person/place/animal, or action. Break out into two teams, ideally two people per team. If you have three people, one person can be the artist with the other two players battling it out. The starting artist will tell their team the category and start sketching but otherwise cannot talk. Their team has 30 seconds (or whatever time you set) to guess it. If their team doesn’t guess it, the other team gets a chance to guess it. You can decide beforehand how many points are needed to be the winning team. Ex. First team to get ten points wins the game.
Indoor Games – some other simple games to play indoors with family are “duck, duck, goose”, “musical chairs” and “hide and seek”.
Here are some board games we are playing right now with Amazon links:
What games are you playing with your family? I hope this gives you some ideas to have fun while staying staying safe and healthy!