3 Games to Help Entertain Kids This Season

3 Games to Help Entertain Kids This Season

These three spontaneous and active games can keep the kids entertained all season long.


Holidays can mean lots of company and children to entertain. If the days are cold, however, kids might be stuck inside. Boredom can set in quickly — a holiday hazard you want to avoid.

Fortunately, true play — play that is spontaneous, inventive and active — is a real boredom buster! Try these ideas and get your family or holiday guests busy.

1. Party-Time Fun
For holiday parties, create a craft table with supplies or pre-assembled kits. Find inexpensive art projects on the Web and print out copies of the directions in advance. Cover the table with craft paper to catch spills.

2. Dinner Plans
For holiday dinners, make a special kids-only table with kid friendly decorations — no grownups allowed. Purchase inexpensive coloring books and washable markers or crayons. Wrap these up and set one at each place setting. This will help occupy your young guests after dinner so parents can linger and converse in peace.

3. Indoor Games
Try these back-to-basics games from Lise O’Haire, author and party activity expert. They require only the players and their imaginations, minds and humor.

Mysterious Mugs
The object of this game is to test your ability to find hidden objects.

Number of players:
Two or more
Suitable for: Middle school-aged children
Location: Indoors or outdoors
Equipment: 3 identical mugs (or cups or shells) and 1 small, soft object (see below)
Type of game: Guessing

Can you guess which upside-down mug is hiding the treasure? Play with a partner or in teams. Find three identical mugs, cups (paper is fine) or shells and hide one small, soft object, such as a marshmallow, piece of cereal or rubber ball (something that does not make much noise when shuffled on a tabletop).

If you’re playing with one other person, have your partner turn the mugs upside down and place the small object under one of them. As your partner watches, shuffle the mugs around, constantly rearranging their order. Talk or sing the whole time to distract your partner. Then line the three mugs up in a row.

See if your partner can guess which mug conceals the small object. If her guess is correct, it’s her turn to move the mugs — if not, you do it again. Each correct guess earns one point. The first person to earn 10 points wins. For group play, divide into teams and play the same way.

Backward to Basics
The object of this game is to do everything backward.

Number of players: One or more
Suitable for: Elementary school-aged children
Location: Indoors
Equipment: Paper, pencil and a cup
Type of game: Brain teaser

Everything seems so simple until you do it backward. This is a great activity to try by yourself or with your friends. The object is to do normal, everyday activities backward. Start by saying the alphabet backward. If you think you are good, time yourself. Now, try writing your first and last name backward.

Ready for something more advanced? Sit on the floor and put the paper behind you. Try drawing a star. Next, draw a person. Can you write your name behind your back, backward?

Parading Pennies
The object of this game is to move around while balancing pennies on the fingertips of one hand.

Number of players:
One or more
Suitable for: Pre-K and kindergarten-aged children
Location: Indoors or outdoors
Equipment: 5 pennies for each player
Type of game: Balancing

Can you parade pennies perfectly on your fingers?

To start, find five pennies for each player. Choose a hand to use. Palm up, place a penny on each fingertip. See if you can walk without dropping any. Feeling confident? Try hopping.

Once you’ve mastered that, try to transfer the pennies from one hand to the other. Slowly touch the unused hand, palm face up, to the hand with the pennies, matching fingertip to fingertip. Now flip both hands over and remove the penniless hand. If you drop any, try again.

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These ideas are sure to keep the youngsters busy — and maybe even the adults! Do you have any games your kids love to play? Let us know in the comments section below.

Reprinted with permission from the author. Please contact the author for reprint rights.

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