Many parents know at least a few games. There are strategy games, sports games, cooking games, and educational games. The important for parents is being able to say, “I’m not so sure about this.” If your child has asked you about video games, but you wouldn’t know for sure whether they’re good or not, that parent must first make a list of good fun. The plan must then be reduced to good games, for kids, under a specific age range and a certain price.
I’m reminded of a story from the 1980s: a middle-aged man returned home from Vietnam. He had been away for six months. He arrived home in a wheelchair. He said there were two best indoor games he could think of: bike racing and hopscotch.
The big problem was that he could only remember one game: bike racing. So, his list of best indoor games for grownups, which also included hopscotch, included balance beam, hopscotch, and the bean bag toss. Balance beam was the only one of the three games he could remember ever playing.
But for younger kids, such games may be limited by their ability to see where the ball is headed. So, his third-best indoor game would be jumping jacks. Again, he would need a large variety of such games. A table with at least five evenly spaced, square blocks might be helpful.
Okay, jumping jacks is a great idea. But my third best idea is something more involved. Parents don’t usually see it coming, but they can help kids develop critical social skills. For example, if children are always grabbing for their balls and not dropping them, they can start using the whole family on the floor. This is an example of an entire family game, not just one person. Try it; you’ll see it’s a great family activity.
Another great idea for an indoor game would be “coin-operated” or “motorized coin-operated.” There are many games to choose from. I’d suggest developing a list of ideas and picking one from among those on the list. For example, one family game involves a child wearing a mask and running down a hallway while carrying a weighted coin.
For another example of a fun way to introduce children to technology, take a group of kids and have them film a video. Then, show the recording to the entire family. For this suggestion, have them record a short movie using some digital cameras, perhaps. They could use their cell phones to record the video or show the recording to the whole family. The great thing about digital cameras is that it’s easy to share videos with others. Sharing is a great way to introduce children to technology.
Another last person suggestion is a “Last person Standing” game. Kids will love this one, and it’s best played in groups, so look for a game like this at your local mall. Kids will love the idea of finishing one person and then being able to go and play with the next person in line. Again, try to use some digital cameras for this one since it’s easy to delete the old ones.
Another idea is a “Pretend to be a Kid for a Day” game. Kids can pretend to be little adults for a day and pretend to visit the dentist. The best part of this game is that a real dentist isn’t going to come to your house, but you can get a kit to make the game believable enough for kids to enjoy.
For older kids, the best idea is to pair up and compete in a Hand-eye coordination contest. Two teams are made up, and each group is given a series of obstacles they must maneuver around using only a hand-held device, such as a stick. The first team to finish all the blocks wins. This game is excellent for developing hand-eye coordination.
Finally, consider the activity of “Bumper Toilet” based on the famous TV game show. In this game, two teams are formed, and one person acts as the “jumper.” Each person acts out a series of balloon activities to win the game. Typically, the obstacle course comes together logically, but the jumper must think ahead and work around obstacles in the series. The game is excellent for both kids and adults, and there are some excellent bumper obstacle courses available online. The best part of this game is that it’s not just silly: it teaches valuable life lessons at the same time!