games

Active Fun Christmas Games for Kids – Outdoors and Indoors

With all the excitement, kids need some active fun Christmas Games to channel their energy. Use these ideas and add your own for outside and inside play.

Christmas follow the leader game

    • Follow Rudolph: This is a dress for the weather and spend time outdoors game. Kids take turns being Rudolph and leading the rest of the reindeer around the yard or playground. Of course, reindeer don’t usually climb the ladders and slide down the slides at the playground but this doesn’t matter to kids. At home, in a yard without any obstacles to go around, kids can spread their arms and fly, shuffle like a penguin, walk like a big polar bear, and use other actions. If there’s snow on the ground, kids can make paths that zig-zag for following Rudolph all around. They will have their own ideas for ways to play this version of Follow the Leader.

 

  • Where is the Candy Cane? Either outside or inside, one person hides a candy cane and one or more elves find it. This can be a simple hide and seek, or kids can give clues. Warmer means getting closer to where it’s hidden. If the hider says “Colder” you are getting farther away.

 

  • Santa Says: Like the game Simon Says, but it’s Santa that gives the instructions. To get everyone in shape for their big night, Santa might have a whole list of exercises, like jump 5 times, fly around, or balance on a very, very, very small roof. Each command needs to start with the words “Santa says…” If Santa doesn’t say them, kids don’t do that action. This is pretty tricky for little ones and they have to listen carefully. They just like to do the actions.

Santa can give other instructions like “Go touch something white.”He can also be helpful, “Go pick up 4 toys on the floor and put them on the shelf.” This makes tasks that kids don’t much like to do into more active fun Christmas games.Christmas Simon Says game

  • Gingerbread Man: The gingerbread man game needs a long hallway or a clear path across a room. Usually, the gingerbread man runs as fast as he can, but he could also hop, hop as fast as he can, or shuffle, shuffle, or walk on all fours.

 

  • I Spy: A less active game, this can be played anywhere, especially when waiting in line or sitting in a car or bus. One person chooses an object that everyone can see, and the other people playing try and guess what it is. For this game, you can use colors, as in I spy something red, or use shapes, like I spy something round. Giving clues isn’t easy for kids, but they quite like when adults guess silly things.

 

  • Can the Elf Help? There is another one called Can the Elf Help. Any available elf helps vacuum or dust or put away clean laundry.This can be just as much fun as the others, especially if all the elves get to share some Christmas cookies when done.

Can you and your child think of some other active fun Christmas games?

 

Dragon Treasure Search Game: Warmer-Colder Clues

Dragons aren’t really into playing games but kids can play this dragon treasure search game and give clues warmer and colder for closer or farther away. Do you remember playing this game as a child?

Pirates hide their treasure and at least make maps. Of course, dragons can’t write so they guard their treasure and hide it in very clever ways. Then comes the challenge of finding it again. Preschool kids need some adult help with this game, or perhaps an older brother or sister, but they still enjoy playing.

BigKey

First of all, a ‘dragon’ needs to hide some treasure in a room. This could be a special rock or something shiny. We used a big brass key that just looks like it should open a secret door or treasure chest. Once the dragon hides the object then it’s time for a seeker to look for it. If the seeker moves closer to the object, the dragon says warmer. If instead the seeker is moving farther away, the dragon says colder.

With young kids, they often need coaching. For instance, even if you are the dragon, you might need to say, “The dragon said colder so that’s not the right way. What way do you need to go so the dragon says warmer?” Reminders might be enough, such as, “Oops, that’s the cold way.” Of course, the dragon can make the game more exciting with clues like hot, really hot, super hot, and burning to indicate that someone is getting very, very close. Once the object is found, the dragon can roar.

With our lives so busy, we sometimes forget the pleasure of a simple game. While it looks somewhat silly, the game is hiding some learning treasures. Kids get to interact with others; they practice using clues; they use the meaning of words to direct their actions, they concentrate and listen carefully. When kids figure out the game, they can be the dragon or leader. They get to be on an equal level with older kids and adults.The game is fun and rewarding, even if the treasure kids find at the end is a familiar object. It’s surprisingly active depending on where the prize is hidden, like deep in the back of the closet! The prize is the doing, not the object.

dragon treasure game

When there’s time, this game can be used to help kids find their coats, or other items they need. That way, they have to get involved in the looking instead of just waiting for us to find what they can’t. Is there time in your child’s day for this dragon treasure search game?

Halloween Memory Game – Fun for Kids and Adults

A Halloween memory game is fun to play, easy to make, and simple to do. Kids and adults can play together and check their memories.halloween-memory-game

To make the game find about 6 to 10 small Halloween items. Usually, we all have a few things and find more once we’ve started. To make ours we used a skeleton, spider, centipede, bat, pencil, plastic finger, troll with orange hair, pumpkin cookie cutter, orange button, and a candy. I placed these on a tray and we looked at them for a minute. The kids touched them and moved them around. After the timer set for one minute beeped, the items were covered with a dish towel. I asked Little Sister how many of the things she could name. She got five items but she thought for quite a while. Big Sister, who goes to school, named eight. Even though I had rounded up the items, once they were covered I had to really think to get them all.

The kids liked this game and tried it a couple more times. Each time, they remembered some of the same items and some different ones.

halloween-memory-game

We also played another Halloween memory game with them: What’s missing? This time, when the items were covered up I put my hand under the cloth and took one away. One of the kids got to take off the cloth and the other one tried to figure out what wasn’t there. Using 10 items was pretty hard for Little Sister.  She was able to figure out what was missing when it was the candy. Having one take away the cloth and the other guess kept Big Sister from blurting out the answer. If somebody did say when it wasn’t their turn, that person wasn’t able to take away the cover the next time. This was no great privilege but it worked and was a simple rule.

New research into kids and memory finds that memory” resists being rushed, and all the so-called memory games and drills don’t do a thing for kids….” (Parenting: Developing Your Child’s Memory)The game may not have stretched memory but it did serve a purpose. Playing together was a way of interacting. The kids practiced taking turns, giving others a chance to answer, and being patient while waiting. They got to talk about what they remembered and what they forgot. They shared some strategies. For instance, Big Sister said she was the pencil was missing because she wanted to write with it but it wasn’t sharpened.halloween-memory-game

The game may not have helped with remembering the items, but it did help us create the memory of playing together. That’s a good reason to play this Halloween memory game, isn’t it?

Olympic Games #25: Children’s Games for Fun and Learning

The Olympics were two weeks of exciting games. Kids love to play games too and children’s games deliver both fun and learning. Can you come and play? From the time we first start peek-a-boo with kids, we introduce them to games. Chase becomes a favorite game and kids squeal with delight. Hide and seek is … Continue reading Olympic Games #25: Children’s Games for Fun and Learning

X=X & O’s – Fall and Halloween Games for Kids

With night arriving earlier, kids are inside after supper. Those few minutes before bed are just enough time for some fall and Halloween games for kids. Of course, these can be played anytime and in any weather. X and O’s are a fun game for older preschool kids. Little Sister hasn’t figured out how this … Continue reading X=X & O’s – Fall and Halloween Games for Kids