Kids use cue cards during a performance.

©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

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Indoor Games for Kids

Indoor games for kids let kids explore new ideas and concepts while having fun. Activities range from a dress-up relay race to making their own nature-themed board game.

Kids' games offer so many activities that kids can do at home, which require easy-to-find household supplies. Learn about indoor games for kids that encourage creative play.

With these indoor games, kids can find plenty of ways to play with their friends. Follow the links below to play indoor games for kids.

Dress-Up Relay

Teams face off in this relay race to find out which one can dress and undress fastest.

Tossing Buttons

Toss buttons on a number-filled board to see who scores highest.

Guessing Game

Make and play a guessing game that challenges the mind.

Interpreting Phrases

With this fun art challenge, find out how many ways there are to interpret the same phrase.

Car Race Game

Kids experience the thrill of racing when they make their own grand prix track.

Tag-Team Art

Drawings evolve as team members finish each others' artwork.

Moon Rock Relay

In this relay race game, kids take a trip to the moon and back.

The Beetle Game

Kids compete to see who can be the first to complete a beetle in this fun game.

Nature's Board Game

Kids can create and play a board game while learning about nature themes such as rain forests or recycling.

Mini Miniature Bowling

Kids can practice their math skills while racing ping-pong balls down a homemade alley.

Portable Soccer Game

Kids score goals when they use fingers for soccer balls in this tabletop game.

State Capitals Matching Game

Challenge kids' memory skills when they match states to their capitals.

Face Charades

Happy, sad, anger -- guess which emotion kids are portraying in this charades-inspired game.

Cue Card Crazies

Make 'em laugh with this entertaining performance, which uses cue cards for the audience.

From putting on an entertaining show to using fingers as soccer balls, indoor games provide creative ways to keep kids busy. Start playing indoor games with a dress-up relay race -- find out how on the next page.

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Use old clothes for a relay race.

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Dress-Up Relay

Dress-up relay combines two favorite kids' activities -- dressing up and racing. This indoor game uses old clothes for a fast-paced relay race. Start by following the steps below.

What You'll Need:

  • Old clothes, at least ten items for each team

The object of this indoor game is to dress and undress as quickly as possible, regardless of where on your body the clothes actually wind up.

Step 1: Divide into two teams.

Step 2: Pile ten clothing items for each team or player -- anything from scarves to pants to shirts to purses to hats -- at the opposite end of the room.

Step 3: When someone says "go" the first player on each team runs to the pile and puts on the clothes over his or her own, as quickly as possible. Anything goes, as long as nothing falls off your body as you run.

Step 4: The players run back to their starting point and take off the clothes.

Step 5: The next player on the team must put on the clothes, run back to the far side of the room, and take the clothes off.

Step 6: Then they sprint back to their team and touch the hand of the next player.

Step 7: The next player runs to the clothes and puts them on. The game goes on until the last player returns to the team. The first team to finish wins.

You can even play this game on your own by racing against the clock. Keep trying to beat your best time!

Relay games test coordination and speed. Continue reading to learn how to play a game that will test your math skills.

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Flip buttons onto numbered spaces.

©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

Tossing Buttons

Tossing buttons combines athletic skills with math ability. This indoor game involves flicking buttons at a numbered board. Follow the steps below to learn how to play.

What You'll Need:

  • Paper
  • Colored markers or crayons
  • Ruler
  • 24 buttons (12 of one color, 12 of another)
  • Score pad

Step 1: Using a blank piece of paper, make a game board with 12 same-size squares. Randomly label each square with the numbers 1 - 12.

Step 2: Once your game board is complete, place it on a table. Place your 12 colored buttons next to the board, then flick each button with your fingernail onto the board.

Step 3: Add up your score based on where your buttons landed (for example, if all 12 of your buttons landed on the 10 square, give yourself 120 points.) Make a note of your score on the score pad.

Step 4: Pick up your buttons, and watch your friend flick his or her buttons. You can also play against yourself to better your own score.

Tossing buttons combines agility with math skills. Continue reading to test your mental agility by learning to play a guessing game.

For more great math exercises and math instruction, check out:

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Guessing Game

Guessing game challenges kids to describe objects without using their actual names. This indoor memory game tests kids' ability to remember and name simple items. For hours of fun, follow the steps below.

What You'll Need:

  • Magazines
  • Glue
  • 3 x 5 index cards
  • Box

Play this game with a partner.

Step 1: Find photos of simple objects such as dogs, cats, cereal boxes, and baseballs in an old magazine.

Step 2: Cut them out, and glue them on 3 x 5 cards.

Step 3: Put the cards in a box, and mix them up.

Step 4: Take a card from the box, and say words that describe the object without saying what the object is. See how long it takes your friend to guess what object you're trying to describe. Then it's your turn to guess!

Describing objects without using their names provides a challenge. Continue reading to learn about another challenging game.

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Decorate boxes with different phrases.

©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

Interpreting Phrases

Interpreting phrases offers kids a chance to see how differently their friends understand the same phrase. This indoor game lets kids glimpse into the variety of ways there are to see the same things.

What You'll Need:

  • Large cardboard boxes
  • Timer
  • Scissors
  • Markers
  • Scraps of paper, fabric, etc.

Playing with enormous boxes is always fun. So this activity is sure to be a knockout.

Step 1: Two teams each get a slip of paper with the same phrase written on it. The phrases will be instructions such as "Make your box a watery wonder," or "Make your box really fly."

Step 2: Without looking at the other team, you and your creative friends have exactly 15 minutes to decorate half the box to reflect that phrase. Do the decorations match? How did you interpret the phrase differently? Try another phrase on the other side of the box.

Continue reading for a different twist on a car race.

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Make a racetrack and then hold a car race.

©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

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Car Race Game

The car race game allows kids to rev up their engines by drawing their own Grand Prix track and racing a friend to the finish line. Indoor games let kids explore their creative side with fun activities. Let the race begin by following the steps below.

What You'll Need:

  • Graph paper
  • Markers
  • Die

Step 1: Draw a curvy track at least one inch wide on a piece of graph paper. Draw a tiny grandstand, start/finish line, pit stop area, and walls.

Step 2: To make your "race cars," cut two squares from another piece of graph paper the same size as the squares on the graph paper track. Mark one with an X and one with an O. Or instead of an X and O, you can draw one type of car on a square and a different car on the other square. Follow these steps to play the game.

Step 1: Place your cars at the start line.

Step 2: Roll the die to determine how many squares to move. You may move your car in only one direction -- either across or down. You may not move diagonally.

Step 3: If your move sends your car off the track, you lose a turn. When it's your turn again, you come back to the last spot you were on inside the track. If you land on the same spot as the other car, go back to the last spot you were on and skip a turn.

Step 4: Take turns with your friend moving your race cars. The first one to cross the finish line wins.

Racing cars can be a fun activity especially when you make your own Grand Prix track. On the next page, find out how artwork is transformed when it becomes a tag-team event.

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Tag-Team Art

Tag-team art challenges kids to create artwork from lines, shapes and squiggles. This fun indoor game gives kids a creative way to play with friends.

What You'll Need:

  • Paper
  • Pen or pencil

An artist can see a sunset in a line, a face in a circle, or a mountain in a squiggle on a page. What do you see?

Art is twice as fun when you share the pencil! The rules are simple.

Step 1: Player One draws a line, squiggle, or simple shape on a piece of paper. As soon as you lift your pencil, it's the next player's turn.

Step 2: Player Two takes the paper and adds another line, squiggle, or shape, trying to turn the art into a picture.

Don't tell the other person what you are trying to draw. That might spoil some of the surprise. What you think is going to be a seagull might turn out to be a sunflower! See how long you can keep adding lines to your artwork. When you decide that your masterpiece is finished, start a new picture.

Making art with a friend can be a great tag-team activity. Continue reading for another relay race game.

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Moon Rock Relay

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Moon rock relay takes kids on a race to the moon and back in this fast-paced indoor game. Making moon rocks can be a good way to start.

What You'll Need:

  • Cardboard
  • Scissors
  • Black marker

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Step quickly on these moon rocks to race to the moon and back. Play this game to see which team of astronauts can blast off to the moon and back first.

Step 1: Cut six large rock shapes out of cardboard and use a black marker to color them so they look like moon rocks.

Step 2: Divide players into two teams.

Step 3: Mark the start of the racecourse with a cardboard sign that says Earth. Place a sign that says Moon about 20 feet away.

To play:

Step 1: The first player on each team has to toss out three moon rocks and step on them, each time picking up the back rock and moving it forward toward the moon. The players can only move forward by stepping on the moon rocks.

Step 2: When the player reaches the moon, she or he picks up the moon rocks, tosses them out again, and repeats the process to get back to Earth as quickly as possible.

Step 3: When the first player gets safely back to Earth, it's time for the next player on the team to go to the moon and back. The first team to send all its astronauts to the moon and back is the winner.

Racing to the moon challenges you to be fast. Continue reading to learn about another fast-paced game.

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Which kid can complete his beetle first?

©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

The Beetle Game

The beetle game asks who can complete a bug the fastest. This indoor game relies partly on luck and partly on skill to complete an original beetle. See who gets theirs done first!

What You'll Need:

  • Drawing paper
  • Markers
  • Pair of dice

Here's a fun game you can play with your friends. The object is to be the first to make your own "beetle."

This is a game for two or more players. Each player needs a sheet of drawing paper and some markers. You will roll the dice to draw a beetle. Here's what you must roll to draw each part:

  • 1 - head
  • 2 - body
  • 3 - leg
  • 4 - leg
  • 5 - leg
  • 6 - leg
  • 7 - leg
  • 8 - leg
  • 9 - eye
  • 10 - eye
  • 11 - antenna
  • 12 - antenna

Roll both dice each time, but only draw one beetle part for each roll. Here are two examples to show you how it works:

Let's say you roll a one and a two. You can draw either the beetle's head (one) or body (two) but not both. Or, you can draw a leg, because one plus two equals three, and a three lets you draw a leg.

If your beetle already has the parts for which you rolled, your turn is over.

Use different colors to make your beetle special. Whoever finishes his or her beetle first wins.

Decorating and completing a beetle requires creativity. Continue reading to learn how to expand your creativity by making your own board game.

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Create a nature-themed board game.

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Nature's Board Game

Nature's board game encourages kids to learn about nature while creating their own board game. In this indoor game, kids can learn about saving forests, recycling, or other nature-inspired themes.

What You'll Need:

  • Poster board
  • Index cards
  • Markers
  • Small stones or coins
  • Dice

It's fun to create your very own nature board game and play it with your friends. It may seem hard at first to make up a board game about nature, but you'll soon discover that nature can be both educational and fun.

Step 1: To get started, choose a theme, such as "save the forest," "clean up that oil spill," or "recycle for life."

Step 2: Then think of a board game that you like to play. You can use this game as a model for yours.

Step 3: Draw squares throughout your game board as shown, and think of things to write or draw in the squares. Remember, everything in the game should be about nature. For example, you could have a player lose a turn for throwing trash in a river, or move ahead for picking up trash. Use your imagination!

Step 4: Be sure to write down rules for your game. Again, use the rules from one of your games as a guide.

Step 5: Finally, try playing your game, using small stones or coins as playing pieces. You may find there are things you need to change. Keep working on it until your game goes smoothly!

Creating a nature-inspired board game provides a fun way to learn about nature -- even when indoors. Bowling can be a fun indoor activity -- find out how to make a bowling alley on the next page.

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Kids can make their own miniature bowling alley.

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Mini Miniature Bowling

Mini miniature bowling allows kids to practice their math skills while playing this fun indoor game. Making a cardboard bowling alley can be a great way to start.

What You'll Need:

  • Black crayon
  • 10 foam cups
  • Craft glue
  • 2 pieces of cardboard (approximately 10 or more inches square)
  • Transparent tape
  • Black and red markers
  • 4 Ping-Pong balls
  • 2 large books
  • Paper
  • Pencil

Step 1: Use a black crayon to number the cups from one to 10 on the upper inside of each cup. Glue the cups to a piece of cardboard. Allow the glue to dry, then run a strip of tape around all the cups to hold them in place.Step 2: Color two Ping-Pong balls with the black marker and two balls with the red marker.

Step 3: Use a book to prop up your cardboard at a 45-degree angle so the seven through 10 cups are at floor level and cup number one is raised.

Step 4: Make a ramp with the remaining cardboard, book, and tape. Tape one end of the cardboard on the floor, with the book underneath the other end to form a ramp. The angle of this ramp shouldn't be as steep as that of the cups, and the end of the ramp should be 5 to 7 inches away from the cups.Step 5: Each player takes a turn rolling the balls up the ramp and into the cups. After rolling two balls, a player adds up (the cup numbers are added) and writes down his or her score before the other player bowls. The player with the highest score wins.

Making a bowling alley provides a great way to practice math skills. Continue reading to learn about a game that tests your coordination skills.

For more great math exercises and math instruction, check out:

Make a portable soccer game.

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Portable Soccer Game

The portable soccer game lets kids enjoy all the action of their favorite sport. This tabletop version gets kids in on the action by making an easy playing board. When kids play this indoor game, they'll understand why soccer is the most popular sport in the world.

What You'll Need:

  • Berry basket
  • Scissors
  • Large rectangular piece of cardboard
  • Twist ties
  • Green and white paint or markers
  • Paintbrush (optional)
  • Aluminum foil

Step 1: Cut the berry basket in half; each half will be a goal.Step 2: Place a berry-basket goal in the middle of the short end of the cardboard. Start on the right side of the berry basket. Poke two holes next to each other in the cardboard -- one on the inside of the basket, the other on the outside.

Step 3: Repeat for the left side of the basket. Attach the goal to the cardboard by bending a twist tie through each pair of holes in the cardboard. Twist the tie ends together underneath the cardboard. Repeat the process for the other short side of the cardboard with the other berry-basket goal.Step 4: Paint or use markers to make the cardboard look like a soccer field, using green for grass and white for the boundary lines.

Step 5: Make a ball from foil.

Step 6: Turn your hand into a soccer player -- use your pointer and middle fingers as legs to kick the ball. It's now time to find an opponent and start playing!

Playing portable soccer requires coordination. Continue reading to learn about a game that tests your mental coordination.

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Match the states to the capitals with this memory game.

©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

State Capitals Matching Game

The state capitals matching game challenges kids to match the capital to the correct state. Made with craft sticks, this indoor game is a great way to remember states and their capitals.

What You'll Need:

  • Reference books
  • 100 large craft sticks
  • Markers

Step 1: Print the names of all the states on craft sticks.

Step 2: Next, print the name of each state capital on a separate stick.

Step 3: On the back of matching sticks, you can draw the state flower or state bird for each set. Then when you play the game, you'll know that if the backs match, you've correctly matched the state with its capital.

Step 4: Now it's time to play the game! Lay all the sticks on a big table or on the floor. See if you can match the states to their capitals.

The state capitals matching game can be a great way to test memory skills. Find out how to test your ability to portray emotions on the next page.

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Lots and Lots of Words

When you use words to communicate, you have a lot to choose from. The average American's vocabulary is around 10,000 words -- 15,000 if you are really smart! The famous writer William Shakespeare had a vocabulary of over 29,000 words.

Face Charades

Face charades provides a way for kids to see if others can guess how they're feeling -- without saying a word. This indoor game resembles regular charades, only players portray emotions rather than words or phrases.

What You'll Need:

  • Pens or pencils
  • Paper
  • Cup or hat

Step One: Before you begin, have each person write three or four emotions on different pieces of paper.

Step Two: Fold them up, and put them into a cup or hat.

Step Three: Each player takes a turn drawing an emotion out of the cup and then acting it out for the other players. This must be done without making any sound and without moving any part of the body except for the face and head. That's right -- no hand, arm, leg, or other body motions.

The following are some feelings and emotions to start out with. How many more can you think of?

  • HAPPINESS
  • SADNESS
  • SHYNESS
  • SURPRISE
  • HUNGER
  • ANGER
  • LOVE
  • CONFUSION
  • FRIGHT
  • SLEEPINESS
  • DISGUST
  • BOREDOM

Playing charades requires acting skills. Continue reading to learn how to put on an entertaining show.

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Kids use cue cards during a performance.

©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

Cue Card Crazies

Cue card crazies inspires kids to make an audience laugh with a fun performance. This indoor game inspires kids to prove their skills at entertaining an audience.

What You'll Need:

  • Favorite song or poem
  • Card stock or cardboard
  • Colored markers

Is it time to put on a class or club program? Or are you and your friends in the mood to entertain your folks? Well, try this fun cue-card performance for a change of pace.

Step 1: Pick a famous song or poem; "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" is a good example of what would work for this. Have everyone practice singing the song; playing a record or tape of the song would also work.

Step 2: Illustrate each word or key phrase of the song or poem on large, sturdy pieces of card stock or cardboard. Pass out the cards, and sing or play the song.

Step 3: Each performer should flip up their word each time the word is said or sung. Practice until everyone gets it right.

Step 4: Now speed up the singing to see if the group can keep up. Before you know it, everyone will be giggling!

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