Ten super smart games

By Drum Digital
31 March 2014

Are the kids at a loss of what to do with themselves during the school holidays? These ten indoor games are not only fun, they also help develop essential skills.

Listening game

Show your child a collection of objects and allow him to study the items for a minute or two. Ask him to shut his eyes while you make a noise using one of the objects, and they he has to guess what the object is. For instance, you could run your finger over the teeth of a comb, and tap a glass, or a saucepan, with a spoon.

Get smart: The game improves listening skills, the first step towards good communication skills.

Bingo with pics

Take nine family photographs and arrange them in rows of three each. Give each child nine playing cards. When you call “Sister!” or “Grandpa!” they cover the appropriate photograph with one of the cards. The winner is the child who completes the row first.

Get smart: This game improves memory and teaches kids who’s who in their extended family.

Memory game

The children sit in a circle. The first child says, “I packed a fork into my picnic basket.” The next child says, “I packed a fork and knife into my picnic basket.” The next player repeats what they said and adds his or her own item. They carry on like this, each time repeating what’s already in the basket and adding their own item, until they’re so confused they can no longer remember what’s in the basket.

Get smart: This game improves mental agility, creativity and vocabulary. Kids have to pay attention to what the others say and keep in mind an item to add to the basket. Once the obvious items have been listed they will have to be creative in their choice of something suitable.

Balloon game

Give each child two balloons. As soon as you call “Start!” they have to keep the balloons in the air for a set time – start with 30 seconds. If they’re adept they will be able to keep the balloons in the air using their nose or one finger.

Get smart: The game improves gross motor development as well as coordination.

Safety first! Don’t let kids under the age of three play this game; balloons are associated with the risk of choking.

I never thought of that

Collect a selection of items, such as a bucket, spoon and a mug. Give your child a minute to think of as many uses as possible for each item. For instance the bucket can be used as a stool, storage container, dustbin or a drum.

Get smart: Children develop creativity and learn how to improvise.

Indoor netball

Separate the socks after the laundry has dried. Show your child how to sort the socks into pairs and to roll them into balls. Put shoe boxes – one for each family member – some distance away and write each person’s name on the box. Your child has to throw the socks into the right box.

Get smart: Your child gets used to helping with household chores.

Touch game

Cut a hole in the side of a shoe box and put something inside the box. Put on the lid. The children take turns putting their hand through the hole and guessing what’s inside the box. It could be something straightforward, such as a brush, or something that feels creepy, such as cooked spaghetti. Let the kids decorate the box beforehand.

Variation: Fill bowls with a variety of items. Blindfold your child and ask him or her to touch them and guess what they are; for instance, grapes, wool and dried beans.

Get smart: This improves thinking skills, vocabulary and concentration. It also encourages a spirit of adventure and bravery.

Skittle fun

Arrange six or so small empty water bottles in a row – these are the skittles. The kids stand at the other end of the room and throw a ball (tennis ball size) at the skittles to try to knock them over. If the skittles fall over too easily, put sand or water in them to make them heavier.

Get smart: This game improves your kids’ planning skills, their counting technique and dexterity. It also teaches them to share and take turns.

Toy swop

Invite friends over and ask them to bring toys they no longer want and would like to swop. The toys should be in good condition. Arrange a display of the toys and let the kids draw numbers to see who will have first choice of a “new” toy.

Get smart: This activity teaches kids the art of sharing.

Kiddies’ disco

Who cares whether discos are in or out? This game is great fun, especially in the evening. Draw the curtains, dim the lights or switch them off, give each child a torch and a small scarf to swing around. Play your favourite dance music (Abba’s Dancing Queen is always a hit) and watch the kids bop till they drop. And it’s great fun for adults too!

Get smart: Children learn important music skills such as rhythm.

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