Fourteen game ideas to try with the kids no matter how much time you have on your hands

(Maskot/Getty Images)
(Maskot/Getty Images)

Since lockdown began, some parents may have gone from having only a limited amount of time to spare for play with the kids to all the time in the world. 

For other moms and dads working from home, deadlines, and meetings have not stopped, leaving you stressed about how to divide your time between work and parental duties. 

Regardless of whether you have just five minutes to spend with your little ones, or hours to fill-up, Parent24's got you covered. 

Here's are carefully timed games to try out with your family: 

Five-minute hoopla

The sweets in water experiment

A quick and easy activity to do when you're low on time, and makes for exciting results for kids!

All you need is:

  • a plate,
  • some colourful sweets and
  • some water.

Arrange different colours of sweets next to one another in a circle on the plate, and slowly add warm water to the middle of the circle until the sweets are half submerged. Now, sit back and wait for the colour burst surprise!

Have a dance party!

Five minutes isn't much, but it's just enough to get up and boogie together to one of your child's favourite tunes.

Build a tower

Build the world's tallest tower made out of building blocks or any other stackable items you can find – try to see who can make theirs the tallest before it tips over.

Ten-minute madness 

Make some ooey-gooey slime!

Homemade slime is quick and easy to make, not to mention safer for little ones to play with than most store-bought versions. For 'edible' slime, simply mix some cornflour and jelly powder with just enough water to create a viscous slime mixture that's not too sticky.

Dig for treasure

For your little palaeontologist in the making, bury a few dinosaur toys and other mini treasures in a sandbox. Parents and kids can dig up their own exciting discoveries using a plastic spade or a brush to gently dust away the sand.

Clean up games

This might sound to your child like a cleverly disguised way of getting them to do chores, but you can make it fun by turning it into a race to see who can pack away toys or tidy up the living room the fastest.

You can even make up a song as you go, and offer a few rewards like an extra bed-time story or slightly later bed-time. 

Fifteen minutes of fun 

Play with rainbow rice

This is a fun, and educational sensory play idea – the kids will love running their fingers through the grains, and the multitude of colours have been found to stimulate brain development too.

Simply fill a few empty ice cream containers about halfway with rice and add a few drops of food colouring in different colours to each container.

Put the lids on and give them a good shake to spread the colour around, and leave to dry for a few hours on a tray – it's best to make the rice a day ahead to make things more convenient at playtime. 

Minute-to-win-it games

These games are tons of fun and a great way to get the kids to play competitively in a fun and healthy way.

Prop a piece of cardboard up at an incline. Place a marble on the board and, using a spoon, see who can keep the marble from rolling off the board the longest.

You can find more fun ideas and contests here.  

Twenty 20 minute antics 

Decorate mum and dad

Decorate mum and dad using beaded necklaces, scarves, stickers and even a few items of make-up (if you don't have to head into a video conference meeting straight afterwards, that is!)

Indoor obstacle course

Create an indoor obstacle course with anything you have lying around the house – a pile of couch cushions becomes a mountain to climb over, a few strips of tape could be a hop-in-hop-out ladder, tables and chairs can be climbed over or under, and a row of cardboard boxes becomes the coolest tunnel to crawl through. 

Build a fantasy creature out of building blocks

Stacking, connecting and building things together as a family is a unique way to bond, inspire creativity for parents and kids alike, and encourage children to use their imagination. 

Half hour high jinks 

Go on a garden safari

Grab a few stuffed animals and place them around the garden. You can even make a set of binoculars out of toilet roll holders to spot as many creatures as possible. Encourage the kids to get creative and make up a few animals of their own, along with the sounds they think the animals would make.

Whip up a meal 

Whip up a meal together and spend some time eating together afterwards too. Pick something quick and simple, like cheese and crackers with some fruit, or a yummy sandwich that's easy enough for your little one to put together without taking too long.

You can also turn it into a competition to see who can make the most interesting-looking faces with fruit pieces, for example. 

Draw With Rob

Rob Biddulph is an illustrator and author who posts draw-along videos that are fun and easy enough for parents and kids to do together. You may even find yourself taking an extended lunch break to continue the fun! Draw along with Rob here

What are your go-to games to play with your children? 

Game ideas supplied by Lego. 

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