When going outdoors is not an option, we have to entertain ourselves with games to play at home. Hot, sunny afternoons or gloomy, rainy evenings (and now lockdowns!) may leave one craving for activities to release pent-up energy.
Indoor activities are a great way to use up said energy. Fun games to play at home also build team spirit, develop a sportive nature, and enhance creativity.
Following is a list of fun indoor games that will interest all age groups. The games can be played between multiple age groups as well. The games can be set up with materials that are easily found at home.
Card Games to Play at Home
If the group is looking for short fun games to entertain, card games are the way to go. UNO has a variety of card packs that can be used in multiple ways like UNO Dos, UNO Flip, etc.
A classic deck of UNO cards can also be used to play the game as if it were a spin-off deck. Incorporating innovative rules can make the game more exciting.
Rules like replacing power cards with regular number cards or vice versa can make the game more interesting. If one does not have a pack of UNO, playing cards can be used as a substitute as well.
Imaginative games for Indoors
Floor is Lava!
The floor-is-lava game involves arranging the furniture in a manner that people can jump on them without getting on the floor. One player is appointed to coordinate the game.
On the coordinator’s command, the floor becomes lava to other players. They must be on the furniture at all times post this point.
They must also be continuously moving. As and when the coordinator wishes, the floor will be ground again and other players can walk on it again.
If a player touches any body part that touches the floor when it is lava, that player becomes the next coordinator. The previous coordinator can join the game.
This is a fun game that younger children will enjoy a lot.
Improvisation games can be a great way to build creativity.
First, a mode of expression must be decided by the group. It can be dance, music, a small skit, etc. Next, a set of three or more categories must be set by the group.
Sounds, food, colors, and moods are some examples of categories that can be chosen. The person performing must be given an item from each of the categories.
The performer is given 1-2 minutes to prepare a small performance in the mode of expression chosen by the group.
It must include all the items given by the group. For example, if the mode of expression is a skit and the items chosen are perplexed, purple, and goat – the performer must enact a short skit incorporating these three words.
Chits with various items of the categories can also be made. This will enables participants to expand their creativity. People of all age groups can play this game.
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Construction Games to Play at Home
As a toddler, all of us have played with building blocks. Being stuck indoors can be a fun way for older kids to revisit them.
Older people can also enjoy this game and explore their creativity. The game can be made more challenging by aiming to recreate a famous building, automobile, or landmark.
It can be taken a step further by dividing all participants into teams and holding a competition to make the best recreation. Another version of the game can include guessing.
One member of the team builds the structure and others guess what the structure could be. The member building keeps rotating.
Jenga is a fun game where the aim is to increase the height of a tower.
Blocks of the same dimensions are used to make an even and stable tower. Participants of the game must remove a block from the tower and place the same block above to increase its height without knocking down the tower. Jenga blocks are easily available.
However, the game can be played by using building blocks of the same dimensions as well. To add more flavor to the game, an age-appropriate dare can be associated with each block.
The dare can be either stuck with paper and tape or painted on the block. Jenga is a game that can be enjoyed among all age groups.
House of cups
Use disposable cups to make stable structures like pyramids. All members participating in the game must build pyramids using plastic cups.
The member who makes it first is the winner. The difficulty of the game can be gradually increased by increasing the height of the structure or by making it more complex.
Who knew that disposable plastic cups can also be so much fun!
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Treasure Hunt Games to Play at Home
A classic game that can be enjoyed by all age groups. The coordinator of the group hides a valuable item in the house.
Chits containing riddles are planted around the house to help members of the game reach the treasure.
The first chit is given to the participants by the coordinator. It indicates the location of the second chit. This chit indicates the location of the next and so on.
To make the game more relatable, the chits can contain clues and riddles relevant to the group of people playing the game. For example, if a family is playing the game – a chit can be “the designated castle of the royal hound” which translates to the kennel or where the dog sleeps.
Adding a theme would make the game more enjoyable. Adding costumes, props, and décor will be an exciting experience. The chits can also be in relation to the theme. For example, if the theme of the hunt is Harry Potter.
All participants will come dressed in robes or in the colors of the house they relate to. The chits can have references to spells or incidents that occur in the movies. The Treasure hunt is a fun and immersive experience that can be enjoyed by all.
Twister is a game that is easily available. It comes with a mat that has many colors. It also has a spin-board where all the colors are represented.
The player must spin the board, the player must move the chosen limb to the color that the pointer show. The game is easy to set up at home. Cardboard squares taped on a mat will serve as a perfect twister mat.
The cardboards can be distinguished by painting them different colors or drawing numbers on them. A die is used to determine which number/color the player will move their limb to. Twister is a fun, interactive game that can be played by all ages.
Pencil-Paper – Easy Games to Play at Home
These are pencil-paper at home games that are very easy and fun at the same time.
Noughts and Crosses
More popularly called tic tac toe, noughts-and-crosses is one of the most popular games to play at home. It is a two-player game.
A 3*3 grid is drawn. Each player chooses their symbol – a cross or a circle. Turn by turn they draw their symbol on the grid.
The aim of the game is to get three symbols in a line horizontally, vertically, or diagonally.
Lines and Dots
This game can be played with 2-5 players. A grid of dots is drawn. The grid can differ in size with the number of players. Turn by turn, the players draw a single line joining two consecutive dots.
The aim of the game is to claim the maximum number of boxes. The player that draws the last line of the box, claims the box.
This game involves the guessing and drawing skills of the participants. The participants are divided into teams. One member of a team is given a prompt by the opposing team. The member must draw the prompt. The other members of their team must guess what the drawer is trying to portray.
The prompt can be anything from an object to an activity. Including categories like fitness, movies, landmarks, etc. will make the game more interesting.
The game can be played in multiple rounds. Each round focuses on one category. Pictionary is one of the most interesting games to play at home by people of all ages.
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Name, Place, Animal, Thing
Any number of people can participate in this game. An alphabet is chosen by one participant – either through chits or by repeating all the alphabets till another player says stop.
All players must note down a name, a place, an animal, and a thing starting from the alphabet chosen. Each round lasts for one minute. After the time is up, players cannot write anymore.
The answers of all players under the different categories are compared. If the player has mentioned a unique name, place, animal, or thing, they get 2 points.
If the same is mentioned by two or more players, the said players will get 1 point. If the player is not able to name anything, they get no points. After all the rounds, the points are calculated and a winner is determined.
Each player rolls the die turn by turn. The member who rolls the highest number starts the game. The aim of the game is to complete the drawing of a bug.
Different numbers of the die indicate different body parts. If the player rolls 1, they can draw the body; when they roll 2, they can draw the head; when they roll 3, they can draw antennae; when they roll 4, they can draw an eye; when they roll 5, they can draw the mouth; when they roll 6, they can draw a leg.
For the player to start the game, they must first draw a body and then a head. If they don’t roll the required number, they skip that turn and have to wait for the next turn.
After drawing the body and head in order, the players are free to draw any body part they like in any order. The first person to finish the drawing of a bug wins the game.
This game is played with two players. A category is mutually chosen by the players. One of the players chooses an item and draws blanks on the paper corresponding to the number of letters.
If the item consists of two or more words, a slash is used to indicate the space. The other player must guess the word or phrase chosen. For every wrong guess, the first player draws the gallows, a rope, and the head, body, and limbs of a man.
Each wrong guess equates to one line drawn. If the player manages to guess, they win the game.
Chits are made containing designations of killers, police, and citizens. Players must sit in a circle and pick up the chits.
The killer makes attacks by winking. When he winks at a citizen, they need to proclaim to the group that they have been killed. The killer’s aim is to kill all the citizens without getting caught by the police.
The police must be observant and figure out who the killer is. If the killer is caught or the killer succeeds in killing all citizens, the game comes to an end. The chits are drawn for the next round.
Each member is assigned a number. The game starts when the balloon is shot in the air by number 1. Number 2 must hit the balloon before it reaches the ground and so on.
After the last number, number 1 must hit the balloon again. This goes on till the balloon hits the ground.
The player who missed the balloon starts the next round. Players of all ages can take part in this game and have fun with balloons again.
Players are divided into two teams. 5 cups of juice are arranged in the formation of a pyramid. Players must stand behind their cups.
Members of the opposite team must aim to shoot a ping pong ball into the cups of juice. If they succeed, the team loses the cup. They must remove the cup from the formation and drink the juice. The team that loses all their cups, loses the game.
Age-appropriate dares can also be included when the team loses a cup to make the game more interesting.
Puzzles are interesting ways of spending time. Looking at a bigger picture and putting together smaller pieces is challenging and occupies the mind. They are a good way to spend time while stuck indoors.
The group of players chooses a ‘Curator’. All others must run and walk around the space until the curator shouts ‘STATUE!’.
Everyone must freeze in the position they are in when they hear ‘statue’. The curator can try to make the players move for a period of 2 minutes after everyone freezes.
If the curator catches someone moving, that player becomes the next curator. If not, the old curator continues for the next round as well.
Chairs are arranged in a straight line. Consecutive chairs will face opposite directions. The number of chairs must be one less than the number of players.
When music is played, all players must run around the chairs in a line. On stopping the music, players must sit on a chair as soon as they can.
Players are not allowed to run in the opposite direction to sit on a chair. The player that doesn’t get a seat is removed from the game. Before the next round, one chair is removed from the game space.
In this manner, the number of chairs keeps reducing. The winner will be the one who sits on the chair when only one chair is left.
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Verbal Games to Play at Home
20 questions is a fun, guessing game. One of the players must think of a personality, animated character, fictional character, or person common to all players of the game. The other players ask questions with the aim of trying to figure out who it is.
The player who has thought of the personality can only answer with ‘yes’ or ‘no’. The others can ask a total of 20 questions cumulatively.
The person who guesses the personality right becomes the player to think of a personality next.
Players must decide the order in which they will play. The first player will start the game by saying the name of a place. The place can be a continent, a country, a region, a state, or a city. Localizations beyond this will not be accepted.
The next player must say the place of a name that starts with the letter the first place ended with. The third player will say the name of a place that starts with the letter that the second ended with.
This goes on till one of the players is not able to continue the game. Places cannot be repeated once said. Each player has 1 minute to think of the name of a place.
Like the previous game, players must first decide the order in which they will play. Then, they must choose a category like food, sports, vegetables, fictional characters, etc.
The first person must name an item from the chosen category. The second person must name the item named by the first person and add another one to the list. The third must name the two items and add another item and so on.
The round ends when any player omits a name from the list or adds an item that was already there. Another category can be chosen for the next round.
The players are divided into two teams. The opposing team gives one of the team members a word to act out. The player must act out the word without lip-syncing or giving hints verbally.
Members of the player’s team must try to guess the word. If guessed correctly, the team gets one point. A category can be chosen for the round like movies, sports, songs, etc.
The team with the most points at the end of the round wins the round.
Pass the Parcel
Players sit in a circle. They pass a pillow or soft toy around when music is played. When the music stops, the person holding the pillow is out.
The game goes on till one person is left. That player is the winner of the game.
The player is blindfolded and presented with an object. The person must use touch, smell, and taste to guess the object that they are presented with.
If they guess right, they get a point. The next player is presented with another object and so on. The player with the most points wins.
The obstacle course is one of the most physical yet easy games to play at home. The easily movable furniture in the space is arranged to make an obstacle course. All players must clear the obstacle course. The player who does it in the least time will win the course.
All participants are given a common category. Participants are given half an hour to prepare their piece of art. The art can be a short song, a choreography, a painting, or a skit of any kind. This is a fun game that will bring out the creativity of the participants.
This is one of the most interesting games you can play at home. Space is made as dark as possible. A person is chosen to start. He or she will be the seeker and will count to 20 as all other players go to hide.
After the seeker is done counting, the search for all the other players will begin. The seeker’s aim is to catch all players before they reach the spot where they started. If a player reaches the spot, the seeker remains the same.
If the seeker manages to catch all the players, the first player he caught will be the seeker for the next round.
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Summary of Games to Play at Home
This list of fun games can be enjoyed indoors. All the games can be played by all ages. They can be played over the weekend when the whole family is together.
Playing games like these will help foster a stronger bond among family members. You can say bye-bye to boredom with games like these. Have fun playing indoors!
Naomi is an educator with 2 decades of experience working with children of all ages. She is a keen observer of the magic and importance of Maths in our daily lives. Follow me on Linkedin