Rainy day and indoor games for kids of all ages! They are categorized into age appropriate groups, but as always, these indoor games for kids can truly be enjoyed by anyone who is ready and willing to have fun. What indoor games did your family love to play growing up, and what indoor games do you play now with your kids? Let us know!
1. I Spy
A great game for your child to get to know the world around her. For a child who has never played, you can start by picking out an object within plain view, not mentioning the object, and saying “I Spy something blue.” If there is only one child, then she can keep guessing until she gets it right. If there are multiple children then they can take turns looking around and guessing. The first child correct gets to spy something next. Simple and fun!
Variations – Limit the number of guesses each child gets. Or, say things like “I Spy something that is a circle.” The difficulty is easily changed by what you are actually spying (smaller or less obvious things) and how you describe what is spied (bumpy or soft things, for example).
2. Balance Beam
This is more easily set up than you might think. Go get the masking tape, tape down a line of any length, and have a blast! Challenge your child to only walk on the line all the way to end. And definitely tape down further lines at different angles. Spirals and zig-zags are always fun.
Variations – The fastest child without stepping off, walking it heel-to-toe, walking it backwards, with eyes closed (socks off so they can feel the line), and jumping down the line (both feet still on!) are all great variants. If you want to get real about it, you can certainly lay down and secure 2×4 pieces of wood!
This is a great way to focus young kids on the sense of touch in a world so focused on the sense of sight. Get their mind to associate information to something other than just the way it looks. The point here is to put interesting objects into containers that a child must reach into and identify without looking at them. You’ll most likely want to use shoe boxes for the container as they are usually readily available, can be easily cut with scissors, and do not let any light through. Making the boxes can actually be part of the fun – have the kids color, paint, or draw on them, but make sure to cut out a child-sized hand hole on the side of the box beforehand as we don’t want good art to be cut out J! Put an item in each box and have your kids take turns guessing what the items are. Encourage questions and offer clues as needed. After identifying the objects you can have one of the children go get the items to put in next.
Variations – Offer points to those that guess correctly, or put in foods that may be wet, like spaghetti noodles or grapes.
For younger kids, sorting colors is the easiest way to start. More advanced sorting can be had by the texture of a surface or type of object, for instance wooden vs plastic vs metal. To make the sorting “bins” you can use masking tape if you’d like.
Variations – You can make it into a full on game by asking competing children to go find 5 objects of each type the fastest. Or you can enforce an order that they must retrieve them in – first red, then blue, then yellow, then repeat.
No, we’re not asking you to blow bubbles all over the house and get the walls and carpet all soapy! This version can be kept tame with kids sitting around a table. Simply get a plate and straw for each child and put a coin-sized drop of dish soap on the plate. Then mix a little water in until you have some suds that form. Each child should then put the end of the straw straight up and down into the suds so that a layer of soap forms over the end of the straw. Blowing very slowly, a single bubble will start to grow! Who can make the biggest bubble? Who can hold the bubble there the longest? Who can laugh the most at a bubble that just popped? These questions must be answered.
6. Keep the Balloon Up
OK, this one admittedly can get a little rambunctious. I have witnessed a birthday party of 15 four-year olds playing this game and my mouth was literally agape. Watch your lamps and wall dressings! Absurdly simple – blow up some balloons, tell the kids to keep the balloons from touching the floor, and get the party started!
Variations – You can make this a game where kids can get “out”. Get a couple judges, tell the kids if they are the last person to touch a balloon that hits the ground then they are “out”. If you’re feeling adventurous, tell them that they can hit balloons at each other!
7. Simon Says
I remember having lots of fun playing this game with school teachers even as a 13 year old! First, choose someone to be “Simon”. Next, kids must do whatever Simon says when starting a command with “Simon Says”, for instance “Simon Says touch your nose.” If a child fails to do it before you finish saying your next “Simon Says” command, then they are “out” of that game of Simon Says. You can also attempt to get children “out” by saying commands that don’t start with Simon Says. If a child follows that directions then they are “out”! The last kid that is “in” gets to be Simon. If you want to make the game difficult for older kids, simply issue commands faster and faster, and make the needed actions more and more difficult to complete. Before you know it, you’ll sound like an auctioneer!
Variations – A fun variation is to play Simon Says with drawing or coloring. “Simon Says draw a circle. Simon Says draw a stick figure. Draw a tiger. Ohhh, Emily you’re out, you started to draw a tiger!”
8. Scavenger Hunt
If you haven’t done a scavenger hunt lately, then you just aren’t living! A scavenger hunt is all about finding items from a list in certain rooms or areas. First, find some things around the house that you want your kids to locate and a few pieces of paper & pencil. Depending on how many items you want the kids to find and how many kids are a part of the game, you can either hand write the lists of items for each child, or type it up on a computer and print out copies. If the items will be in difficult hiding spots you can write clues next to each item on the list. Now go hide everything! The kids will love the adventure and challenge.
Variations – This game can easily be made into a treasure hunt. The hard part is writing the clever clues to go with each item that will help lead them to the next one.
9. Hot Potato
This game can get a little giggly, so be warned! Simply get any soft ball or rolled up socks and underhand-toss it to a child. Instruct them to under-hand toss it to someone else as quickly as possible. Each child repeats this. When does this game end? Who knows? Just get rid of it!
Variations – If you have enough children, play short segments of music while they toss the object, stop the music, and the last child to touch it when the music stops is out of the game. Repeat until there is only 1 child.
10. Hide and Seek
This has to be one of oldest games on planet Earth!
Variations – The variations of this game can be truly fun for both kids and adults! Hide and seek in the dark – scary! It really can be a lot harder to find someone. Hide and seek tag – if someone is about to be caught, they can choose to run away!
11. Duck, Duck, Goose (or Duck, Duck, Grey Duck for us Minnesotans!)
This fun indoor game was one I played in school from time to time. It needs about a minimum of 6 children to play it. Choose someone to be the Goose (or Grey Duck). All the other kids sit in a circle. The Goose then walks around the circle, tapping each kid on the head and says “Duck”. “Duck, duck, duck, duck…” Eventually, the Goose choose a new Goose and says “Goose!” instead of “Duck” when tapping a person on the head. The old Goose has to run around the circle and try to sit in the spot of the new Goose, while the new Goose has to get up from where they were sitting and chase the old Goose in the same direction. There are two outcomes: 1) the old Goose is able to run around the circle and sit down in the new Goose’s spot without being tagged. The old Goose is now a duck and gets to sit in the circle. The new Goose is now truly the Goose and needs to repeat what the old Goose just did. 2) The new Goose chases the old Goose and tags the old Goose before he/she gets to sit down in the vacant spot in the circle. The old Goose then remains the Goose and repeats what they just did, trying to become a duck sitting in the circle.
12. Animal Charades
Lots of fun to be had with this game. Before playing, first print off this page of animal pictures. Cut out each individual animal, fold each in half, and put them in a bucket. Begin the game by having the first child choose a piece of paper. The child then needs to act out the animal silently, and all other children need to try to guess what animal is being portrayed. Once the animal is guessed, choose another child who has not picked a piece of paper yet, and then they get to have their fun acting!
Variations – If a child is having difficulty silently acting the out the animal, then you can let the child try to make the sounds that the animal makes.
Free image (Creative Commons Attribution 3.0) of animals found here:
13. Indoor Obstacle Course
This is one game that I absolutely loved as a kid. Here are some ideas for your course that you obviously could put in any order:
a. Put down pillows or couch cushions and the kids need to jump from one to the next. Alternatively, the kids could need to jump over the pillows or cushions!
b. Climb over ottomans.
c. Allow only jumping/somersaulting/crawling/crab walking from one area of the course to another.
d. Put down some Balance Beams as described in game number 2.
e. One of my personal favorites as kid – crawling through tunnels made from blankets or sheets hung over chairs and couches.
f. Perform various exercise like 20 jumping jacks.
g. Toss 5 sock snowballs from game number 18 into laundry baskets. Throwing stuffed animals also works here.
h. Crawl under tables
Variations – For older kids, time them to see how long it takes them to go through the whole course.
14. Musical Chairs
Get your dancin’ shoes on! This game is best with at least 4 or more children playing and 1 additional person to stop the music.
Variations – If you don’t have enough chairs, then you could substitute for pieces of colored construction paper taped to the ground. When the music stops, the child who gets both feet on first claims the spot. Or you could even use both chairs and paper!
15. Rock, Paper, Scissors
I always love using this game to settle something when I don’t have a coin to flip.
Variations – Try holding a tournament! You can get as fancy as you want, writing down the tournament brackets of all the children on paper, or having each child play all other children and see who gets the most wins!
16. Indoor Bowling
Get some empty water bottles or plastic cups, a ball, and start bowling!
Variations – Make a bulls-eye on the ground out of masking tape or one on a piece of paper. With each section worth different amounts of points, the kids can take aim and challenge each other.
I get excited just thinking about this game. The more kids the better. Line the kids up, think of a sentence of sufficient length, and see what that sentence becomes by the time each kids whispers it into the next kid’s ear. O.M.G. Funny.
Make a few “snowballs” out of pairs of socks, get a laundry basket (or smaller receptacles for more challenge), and you’re all set. Kids can take turns shooting to score, and they could even take the risk of a longer shot worth more points! The first one to score a certain amount of points wins.
Variations – Each kids shoots the ball, and if they score they take a step back. The one to score from the furthest distance wins.
Obviously you’ll need some marbles for this game, but make sure to get 1 bigger marble for each kid that is going to play. First, make a circle 3 feet wide out of masking tape or string. Then place 3-5 marbles near the center of the circle for each kid playing, so for 3 kids playing you might have 9 marbles near the center. Then each child takes a turn, with their hands outside the circle, flicking their big marble out of their fist with their thumb at other marbles. If they knock any marbles out of the ring then they get to keep them and shoot again. If they miss, then they leave their big marble there until it is their turn again. The winner is the kid with the most marbles when all marbles are knocked out of the ring. Have fun!
21. Domino Toppling
Unlike playing the game dominoes, you’ll need to purchase these from a store. Simply set them up one after the other and tip them over!
Variations – Ever heard of a Rube Goldberg machine? You can start out your machine using dominoes!
22. Two Truths and a Lie
This game is commonly used for introductions, but it doesn’t need to be. Each kid simply writes down two truths and one lie about oneself, and the others need to guess which one is the lie.
Variations – Try a game of two lies and a truth and guess the truth!
23. Twenty Questions
This game is great one for indoors, car rides, and anytime you are waiting. Super easy to play – one person thinks of an object, and another person has 20 questions to guess what it is!
Variations – Instead of a thing, one person thinks of something in a category such as famous people or occupations.
If you haven’t played this classic game, then you need to. Right now! For full instructions click here.
Variations – All secret words come from a theme such as movies. Or play with a partner and compete against other sets of partners.
25. Sock Wars
The setup of this game can actually be as fun as playing it. Divide into two teams, create some sock balls from pairs of socks, and then each team creates its fort! Blankets, pillows, chairs, and couches are all fair game. Once you have built your elaborate fort, make sure all breakables are cleared away and start throwing! If a kid is hit then they are out for the remainder of the game. The last team standing wins.
Variations – If you have enough Nerf equipment, swap it out for the socks.
26. Board Games
Here is a list of board games that I enjoyed as a kid (OK, as an adult too :-))
a. Candy Land
d. Chutes and Ladders
27. Card Games
28. Paper Games
Classic games that are fun to play anytime!
29. Alphabet Game
This one is all about coming up with themes. I’ve listed some below to get you started. Within your chosen theme, take turns with letters of the alphabet and come up with things in the theme. For instance, in the theme “Animals”, you would have anteater, baboon, carp, duck, etc.
b. Countries and US states
c. Famous people (many sub-categories here, actors, actresses, etc)
d. Household items
e. Kitchen items
i. Cartoon characters
Variations – Normally played in the car, start from “A” and say things that you see while driving.
30. Dice Games
Fun with dice!