QUESTION: “We have 14 children in our small group and we try to come up with different games or activities for them when we get together at parks or at homes. You have worked with a lot of children throughout your life. Are there any fun games you can share with us?
ANSWER: I love games that can be played anytime you need a fun and spontaneous activity for little ones. I also love games that build skills, character, and relationships. Here are 11 of our favorite “Anywhere Games” that children Ages 2.5 and up really love. None of these games require much planning, reading, or small game pieces, so you can play them anywhere and anytime you need to entertain children of all ages. The most you will need is a pencil, paper, and stuffed animal or toys that you already have. A few of these games can be played with no props at all, just imagination and conversation.
1. What do you like best?
Little Children love to ask questions, and they love to answer questions too. So we made up a game where we take turns asking questions that help us get to know each child better, and we laugh a lot!
To Play: I ask the first question: “Joseph, what do you like best: Bubbles or Squirt Guns?”
He will give his answer, and then it is his turn, and he will ask someone else in the group his question: “Anna, what do you like best planets or watermelons?” Then Anna will ask another child “What do you like best lunch or breakfast?” Then that child will ask another child a question: “What do you like best cookies or cake?” “Green or Blue?” “Trees of Flowers?” “Snow or Sand?” This game is endless. You may need to tell the kids the rules, we only have on: No Potty Talk.
2. Should We?
I made up this game for Joseph to help him to learn right and wrong, and to make good choices in a variety of unexpected situations. This game can also bring lots of laughs! Once again it is a game of questions. My kids love to come up to me and say “Let’s play Should We!”
To Play: Just ask questions to make your child think about the right thing to do in an interesting or everyday situation. Sometimes the kids will enjoy making up their own questions.
“Joseph should eat someone else’s cookie?”
“Should we play in the road?”
“Should we eat dirt?”
“Should we eat carrots?”
“Should we put the cat in the bathtub?”
“Should we hit little babies?”
“Should we help mommy sweep the floor?”
“Should we make cookies with grandma?”
“Should we put cookie dough on grandma’s windows?”
3. Family Questions (You can play this with any group, the kids love hearing the answers that the adults give too!)
We usually play this conversational game at the dinner table. With a family of 11 this one can take a lot of time. It also helps everyone to get to know each other. Once again it is a Questions Games.
To Play: Mom or dad usually asks the first question, and everyone takes turns giving their answer. We usually only get through 3 questions at a meal. One Rule: No “Yes or No” questions.
We ask questions like these:
“What would you buy if you had $20?”
“What country would you go to if you could go anywhere?”
“What is the most beautiful animal?”
“What do you think we should have for dinner tomorrow?”
“Name one important thing you should think about before you marry someone?”
“If you could have any super power what would it be?”
“What is something you like about the person to your right?”
4. Drawing on the Ceiling
My husband plays this game when he tucks in the kids at night. He points to the ceiling with his finger and draws a picture or writes a letter. The kids try to guess what he is drawing. They all take turns drawing a picture. They can give clues like “This is an animal.”
5. What Animal is It?
My kids love learning about animals, and happen to know the sounds of many interesting and exotic creatures. All we do is take turns making an animal’s sound and the first one to guess the animal correctly gets to go next.
6. What Comes Next?
Like most parents, we read the same stories, sing the same songs, and repeat the same rhymes and Bible verses over and over with each child. Once the words of the story or verse are familiar to the child I will give the child a chance to finish each line. Children ages 2 to 5 love this. When you are teaching or entertaining a group of children use this activity when telling a story or memorizing a verse. With older children you can increase the number of words for them to fill in until the child can recite the entire verse alone. This works well for groups, because the children can all shout out the missing words together.
“For God so loved the _____________.”
“Mary had a little _________.”
“How much is that doggie in the ______________.”
“In the great green room there was a telephone and a red _______________.”
“Jesus Loves ____ This I ________.” (click here to continue reading)