games & activities
Table Top Hockey
Sit across from your opponent at a table. Shoot the puck (top from a milk jug, bottle cap, or a checker) across the table and block the puck with your paddles (aerosol spray can top).
One person is designated to be "It". The person who is "It" tries to tag the other players by throwing a wet sponge. Once a person is tagged, that person becomes "It".
The Unbudgeable Bag
Put your hand inside a plastic bag and push it into a drinking glass, all the way to the bottom. Smooth out the bag so there are as few wrinkles as possible inside the glass. Wrap the rest of the bag over the outside of the glass and secure with a rubber band.
Ask child(ren) to reach inside the glass and try to pull the bag out of the glass, advising them to be careful not to poke a hole in the bag. If a hole is poked in the bag it changes the air pressure and the bag will be able to be easily removed.
Fill bottle ˝ full of water adding food coloring until water is the desired color.
Add vegetable oil to fill bottle up to an inch from the top. Seal bottle tightly with cap.
To play: Swirl the bottle while it's standing up or lay it down on its side and rock back and forth to create "waves". Create large bubbles by turning the bottle over a few times. Really shake it up to create millions of tiny bubbles, then look into the depths of the bottle with an "unfocused" gaze to get a holographic type effect. Hold it up to the window on a sunny day to get an even more colorful effect.
Tip: If the oil gets cloudy just let it sit still for several hours or days and the oil will return to normal.
Fill a bucket with water and a squirt or two of liquid soap. Dip bottom of plastic strawberry basket into the soap solution and wave slowly in the air to make hundreds of tiny bubbles.
Divide kids into 2 teams of 1 or more players per team. Clear out an open space on the floor, and have everyone get down on their hands and knees.
Choose a goal on both ends of the room. A feather, cotton ball or leaf is placed between the two teams and the players try to blow the feather across the other team's goal line. No hands are allowed.
You can play an exciting volleyball game inside using a Nerf ball or balloon. For extra fun place a coin, bean or pebble inside the balloon. Drape a sheet or blanket between two chairs and go to it.
This homemade toy may look like nothing more than a bottle of rice, but roll it once or twice, and a host of hidden objects will appear before your eyes.
Step 1: Remove the label from the soda bottle.
Step 2: Gather trinkets and put them in the bottle. Then add uncooked rice to fill the bottle two thirds of the way and tightly screw on the cap. Shake well to conceal the objects.
Step 3: Now twist and turn the toy to see how many treasures you can spot inside.
Tips: Objects such as coins and pebbles tend to gravitate into the middle, while lightweight plastic beads, buttons, and trinkets are easier to spot.
Cut the plate in half, then cut one half into three equal wedges. Tape one wedge to the middle of the bottom of the intact half.
Use the markers to draw the bird's face on one spoon. Sandwich pebble between two spoon bowls. Secure together with the rubber band.
Tape the spoons to the bottom of the paper plate half.
To fly, throw like a paper airplane. Adjust the pebble size to improve flight.
Balloon Golf or Hockey
This game is good in a small room and also outdoors when there's no wind. First, drop a penny or smooth rock into a round balloon. Blow the balloon up to about a five or six inch diameter. Golf clubs or hockey sticks are made by rolling a full sheet of newspaper into a stick. Tape to hold it's shape.
Cardboard boxes, milk crates, whatever you can find are used as the holes or goals. The weight inside the balloon creates a "Mexican jumping bean" effect when hitting the balloon.
Paper Scavenger Hunt
Give each child one or more old magazines or newspapers. Then give them a list of various items, photos, or names that could be found in the magazines/newspapers. As soon as someone finds one of the items on the list, they cut it out. You can decide that the 1st one to find all items wins or the one who finds the most items within a time limit.
Finish the Picture
Draw part of an animal, tree, person, house … then give the picture to the child to finish. Encourage them to be playful rather than accurate.
Cut paper into strips. Place in 3 equal piles. On each strip in one pile write a series of character, the second pile is for situations, the third pile is for places.
Choose one strip from each pile and make up a story or sentence using what's written on the strips.
This is the simplest gamer ever. Gather together 6 or more small objects, taking note of how many objects you will be hiding. Have the child(ren) stay in one room while you roam around the house hiding the objects. When you give the signal the hunt begins! You may need to give "hot" and "cold" hints if some of the treasures prove too difficult to find.
The trick to pulling this off is the right dishwashing liquid. I had good results with Ultra Sunlight.
Fill a pie plate halfway with whole milk. Pour some liquid dishwashing soap into a plastic squeeze bottle (such as an empty sports drink bottle).
Have children gently squeeze a few drops of food coloring onto the milk (you want to end up with at least 3 drops of each color). Quickly drizzle the soap onto the surface of the milk all around the edge of the pie plate. The milk will instantly turn into a kaleidoscope of colors - an entertaining display that can continue for several minutes.
Mouse Pad Card Holder
Most card games require that children hold too many cards for their small hands - this is an ingenious solution. Use a sharp knife to cut card-width slits in an old mouse pad. They can just slips the cards into the slits and they can then see all thier cards at once.
Blow up 2 large balloons for each player. Tie a 10 to 12 inch long piece of string or yarn to each to each balloon. Select a grassy area for playing barefoot. Tie a balloon to each ankle of each player. At "Go," players attempt to pop other players balloons while protecting their own. Once both of a players balloons have been popped that player drops out of the game. Last player left wins.
Water Stomp: fill balloons with water instead of air.
The Story After
When you're done reading a story tell the child that the story isn't really over. Ask him/her what might happen next, make suggestions if needed.
Fill clean empty plastic bottles with water and replace the caps. Mark start and finish lines on a lawn. Each player lines up at the start, with a stick or broom handle and a filled bottle. At "Go" players use their sticks to roll their bottles to the finish line.
Give each child a piece of paper folded into five sections. Everybody takes a seat around a table. Play starts by having everybody sketch a hat on the top section, then fold their paper so that the hat is hidden and the 2nd section is on top. Everybody passes their paper to the left and draws a head. Fold and pass and draw a torso. Fold and pass and draw legs. Fold and pass and draw feet. When you each the last section unfold each paper to reveal a crowd of funny characters.
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