Many adults can feel uncertain and a bit out of their depth when spending time with children. However, with a little preparation, you can turn those potentially awkward moments into fun and meaningful interactions. One easy way to do this is by having a few simple games or activities at the ready. Whether it's a classic board game, a quick round of "I Spy," or an impromptu dance party, having something engaging to do together can help break the ice and foster a sense of connection between you and the child. So, next time you find yourself spending time with kids, don't stress! Just pull out a game or activity and get ready to have some fun.
A classic game where one player takes the role of Simon and gives commands to the others. The catch is that the command must begin with "Simon says." If Simon forgets to say "Simon says," and a player still does the action, they are out.
Red Light, Green Light
One player is the traffic light and stands at the opposite end of a playing field. The other players line up at the other end. When the traffic light says "green light," players can move towards the traffic light, but when the traffic light says "red light," players must stop. If a player is caught moving after the traffic light says "red light," they are out.
Duck, Duck, Goose
Players sit in a circle, and one player walks around tapping others on the head, saying "duck" for each person tapped. Eventually, the player will tap someone and say "goose" instead. The chosen "goose" then chases the first player around the circle, and if they catch them, the roles are switched
One player chooses an object within sight, and says "I spy with my little eye something that is (color or shape)." The other players must guess what the object is.
Players split into two teams and stand in lines facing each other. One team calls out a player from the other team, saying "Red Rover, Red Rover, send (player's name) over." The chosen player must run and try to break through the other team's linked arms. If they succeed, they choose a player from the other team to join their team. If they fail, they join the other team.
Follow the Leader
One player is the leader and the others follow them, copying their movements and actions. The leader can do things like hopping on one foot or waving their arms in the air.
Players sit in a circle and pass a "potato" (such as a ball or stuffed animal) around while music plays. When the music stops, whoever is holding the "potato" is out.
"101 Great Games for Infants, Toddlers, and Preschoolers" by Jolene L. Roehlkepartain. This book offers a wide variety of games and activities for children ages 0-5, including indoor and outdoor games, music and movement activities, and more.
"The Ultimate Playground & Recess Game Book" by Guy Bailey and Constance H. Bailey. This book contains over 500 games and activities for children of all ages, including classic games like tag and hide-and-seek, as well as new games and variations on traditional favorites.
"The Everything Kids' Games & Puzzles Book" by Jennifer A. Ericsson and Beth L. Blair. This book offers a wide variety of games and puzzles for children ages 7-12, including word games, logic puzzles, and physical activities.
"The Art of Children's Conversation: Talking to the Big, Little, and In-Between" by Martha B. Straus. This book provides guidance for parents and educators on how to engage children in meaningful conversations and activities that promote social and emotional development.