Easy Indoor Games for Kids


Feel something soft in the Feather Face-Off Game.
Feel something soft in the Feather Face-Off Game.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

Easy indoor games for kids can make a long afternoon seem shorter, a dreary day seem brighter, and complaints of boredom seem far away. Try the soft touch of the Feather Face-Off Games, board games like the Chaldean Board Game and file folder math games, or a shout-out activity like the Four Score Game. But that's not all. You'll also find collages and color activities, letter writing and graphing, and a trick to stump your kids' friends.

You'll find these games easy to play and fun for kids to make, using materials that you have around the house. The weather outside may be frightful, but why settle for boredom when you can all get together and have some indoor fun?

Follow the links below to find easy indoor games that you can play with kids:

Letter to a Favorite Author

Send a letter to a writer -- and see if you get one back.

Artful Number Collage

Use numbers from magazines to create colorful collages.

Feather Face-Off

Guess which soft touch comes from a feather.

Four Score Game

Find the most 4s to win this game.

Dollar Pick-up Trick

Discover why picking up a dollar may not be easy.

Mother Nature's Color Game

Match colors you find to those you see in nature.

File Folder Math Games

Create your own math board games to play and file away.

Chaldean Board Game

Make and play a modern version of an ancient game.

Penny Graph Game

Find out how old most pennies in circulation are.

Family Shoes Game

Select shoes to start a giving and sharing family exercise.

Do you have an author whose books you like best? Go to the next page to learn how you can write him or her a letter.

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Letter to a Favorite Author

Help kids send a letter to a favorite author to say what his or her words mean to them. Think about it. Is there an author who writes books that they can't put down or always want read to them? Send a letter, and the author may be pleased or interested enough to write back!

What You'll Need:

  • Stationery or lined paper
  • Pen
  • Envelope
  • Stamp
  • Computer with Internet access (optional)

Step 1: Write the letter. Keep it neat and brief, but tell the kids not to hesitate to tell the writer exactly how they feel. Did the book make them happy? Sad? Thoughtful? Mad? Tell the author.

Step 2: If someone has written a sequel, final scene or new ending to one of the author's books, send that along with the note. Or maybe you have a young artist who would like to send an illustration based on the author's books.

Step 3: Find an address for the author. If you have a computer, you can try looking up the author's name on an Internet search engine. Or you can write to the author in care of the company that published the books. The publisher's address will be inside each book.

Step 4: Address the envelope, add a stamp, and mail the letter. Don't forget to put your return address in the letter and on the envelope so the author can respond.

Go to the next page to find out how you can turn numbers cut from magazines into colorful collages.

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Artful Number Collage

Put together your own artful number collage.
Put together your own artful number collage.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

Beat the blahs with an artful number collage that kids can make. Turn numbers cut out of magazine pictures into colorful collages, and practice some number recognition, too.

What You'll Need:

  • Old magazines
  • Scissors
  • Construction paper
  • Glue

Step 1: Look through old magazines, and cut out bright and colorful numbers that you find in pictures and ads. Find a variety of numbers in different colors and sizes.

Step 2: Design and arrange the cutout numbers on a piece of construction paper, and glue them in place. A collage could include a random assortment of numbers, or it could have a theme, such as multiples of 4. You can also use the numbers as graphic elements to create figures and objects.Is soft still soft if you can't see what is touching you? Find out by trying the game on the next page.

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Feather Face-Off Game

©2007 Publications International, Ltd.                              Feel something soft in the Feather Face-Off Game.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd. Feel something soft in the Feather Face-Off Game.
2007 Publications International, Ltd.

Try the Feather Face-Off Game to answer this question: Is soft still soft if you can't see what is touching you? This easy indoor game for kids may work well as a quiet or cool-down activity.

What You'll Need:

  • Feathers
  • Cloth
  • Cotton balls
  • Anything extremely soft to the touch
  • Blindfold

Step 1: Have two players face each other, one blindfolded and the other with a variety of soft objects within reach.

Step 2: The sighted player brushes the soft objects, one by one, across the blindfolded player's cheek. The player with the objects has to handle them so carefully that the other player can't tell which is which.

Step 3: The blindfolded player guesses when the object is being brushed across his or her cheek is the feather, rather than another soft object.

Step 4: When the blindfolded player guesses correctly, the two players switch places.

Remember, the gentler the pressure, the harder it is to tell what's touching you. Working on senses (in this case, the sense of touch) can be as fun as working on muscles!

Go to the next page to find a game where the player with the most 4s wins.

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Four Score Game

Be the player who finds the most 4s, and you score in the Four Score Game. Try this fast-paced and easy indoor game for kids to liven up a rainy day or beat the summer doldrums.

What You'll Need:

  • Sports and/or stock market page of a newspaper for each player
  • Colored markers
  • Timer

Step 1: Give each player one sports or stock market page from the newspaper.

Step 2: Give instructions. Each player must put a colored dot on every number 4 that they find on their page. Players call out "4 Score" each time they find a 4.

Step 3: Set the timer for five minutes, and yell "Start."

Step 4: The player who has found the most 4s when the timer rings is the winner.

A dollar bill isn't as easy to pick up as you might think. Discover why in the game on the next page.

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Dollar Pick-up Trick

Even George Washington couldn't do this dollar pick-up trick! Tell your friends you'll give them each a dollar if they can pick it up from the floor. But there is a catch: They have to pick it up using your instructions. You'll have fun fooling them with this easy indoor game for kids.

What You'll Need:

  • Dollar bill
  • Wall

Step 1: Have your friends stand with their feet together and heels up against a wall.

Step 2: Put dollar bills on the floor 12 inches in front of their feet.

Step 3: Tell them to pick up the dollars without bending their knees or moving their feet.

It is impossible to do! Why? When you are standing against a wall, your center of gravity is over your feet. If you bend forward, you have to move your center of gravity forward to keep your balance. Since you can't move your feet during this trick, you're flat out of luck. But that's better than being flat on your face!

Mother Nature wears a lot more colors than you might think. Look on the next page for a matching game that will show you many of her hues.

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Mother Nature's Color Game

Mother Nature's Color Game will help kids discover which colors they like best. Try this fun and easy matching game, and you may be surprised at how it turns out.

What You'll Need:

  • Squares of paper in various bright and dull colors
  • Scissors

Step 1: Collect paper in as many different colors as you can find. Look through cupboards, old colored paper supplies, and any place paper is stored to find old pieces of gray cardboard, faded construction paper, and other dull colors. Collect brighter colors as well, including vivid neon colors.

Step 2: Cut the paper into two-inch squares.

Step 3: Give each of the players five squares picked at random, and take them outdoors.

Step 4: Tell them they must find something in nature that matches each of the squares exactly. For instance, a square of green paper may not be the same shade of green as grass. The player must keep looking at leaves, moss, and other plants to find an exact match.

Step 5: See if you can figure out what colors are used most in nature.

You can also let the players pick the colors they want to find. Many people like to pick the neon colors rather than the dull colors, but they soon learn the dull colors are much easier to match, while the neon colors are nearly impossible!

Look on the next page to see how kids can create their own math games to play again and again.

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File Folder Math Games

Save these file folder math games to play again.
Save these file folder math games to play again.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

File folder math games are quick and easy to make with colorful markers. And because kids make up the games and the rules, they can play their way. Cover these easy indoor games for kids with clear adhesive paper, and they will stay clean to file and play over and over again!

What You'll Need:

  • Manila file folders
  • Colorful markers
  • Index cards
  • Clear vinyl adhesive paper
  • Small toys or coins
  • Die

Step 1: Pick one file folder to use for each game. Open the folder, and draw the game board on the inside, placing squares around the outside of the folder.

Step 2: Choose a corner square as the starting point for the game. Label it "START," and then number the rest of the squares around the board in order. Label the last square "FINISH."

Step 3: Fill in most of the squares with different math problems. Figure out the answers to each problem, and put each answer on a separate index card so players can check their answers as they play.

Step 4: Make the rest of the squares penalty squares. During the game, anyone landing on a penalty square will have to go back a few spaces or start over, for example. (You get to make up the rules!)

Step 5: Decorate the board by drawing colorful pictures or designs with markers, write the name of your game on the file tab, and then cover the board with the clear adhesive paper.

Step 6: Use small toys or coins for game pieces.

Step 7: Once you've developed all the rules and the object of the game (for example, to be the first to get all the way around the board), play the game with a friend by rolling a die to determine how many squares each player will advance.

Step 8: C­reate as many different board games as you want, maybe one for addition problems, one for subtraction, one for multiplication, and one for division.

Step 9: File your games with the index cards inside, and you're ready to play again another day.

Go to the next page to discover how kids can make and play a modern version of a 4,000-year-old board game.

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

Chaldean Board Game

Make your move with the Chaldean Board Game.
Make your move with the Chaldean Board Game.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

Archaeologists have found game boards made by people called Chaldeans more than 4,000 years ago in the ancient city-state of Ur. Now you can make an easy-to-play version of that same Chaldean board game!

What You'll Need:

  • 3 boxes (Cereal boxes work well, but make sure one box is much smaller and the other two are the same size.)
  • Glue
  • Paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Marker
  • Bottle caps

Step 1: Lay the boxes flat, with the smaller box in the middle connecting the other two boxes like a bridge.

Step 2: Glue the boxes together, and paint them however you'd like.

Step 3: When the paint is dry, divide the box tops into squares with a marker or paint. Make the bridge only one square wide. Paint designs in the squares, if you'd like.

Step 4: Decorate bottle caps for game pieces. Be sure to make two sets of game pieces, one for each of the two players.

Step 5: Make up rules for your game. For example, see who can hop his or her game pieces from one end of the game board to the other and back again (like checkers). Or try to line up your markers to block the bridge so your opponent can't get his markers across. You're the rule maker, so make your game as hard or as easy as you'd like!

How old are the coins that circulate most? If you've ever wondered, look for an answer on next page with the Penny Graph Game.

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Penny Graph Game

Record your results in the Penny Graph Game.
Record your results in the Penny Graph Game.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

Every penny counts in the Penny Graph Game! Learn more about coins in circulation with this easy indoor game for kids. By taking a sampling of when coins were minted and graphing the results, kids can find out when most pennies in circulation were minted. Turn this activity into a game by comparing the results when two friends each have 100 pennies and make their own graphs.

What You'll Need:

  • 100 pennies
  • Poster board
  • Markers
  • Ruler
  • Craft glue (optional)

Step 1: Sort pennies into piles according to the years they were minted.

Step 2: Draw a bar graph on poster board, starting with the first year of minted pennies and going through the most recent.

Step 3: Chart how many pennies were minted during each of those years. If you don't want to draw a bar graph, you can glue the pennies directly onto poster board to create a graph. (Just don't forget to remove the pennies from the board and clean them after a few days.)

Step 4: Remember to wash your hands after counting and sorting all the pennies, because coins and bills are very dirty. Think of all the hands they've passed through and the places they've been!

Go to the next page to find out how you can help family members with the Family Shoes Game.

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Family Shoes Game

Select a shoe in the Family Shoes Game.
Select a shoe in the Family Shoes Game.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

The Family Shoes Game can help your family get to know one another better. In fact, your family may like this thoughtful and easy indoor game for kids so much that it becomes a weekly event.

What You'll Need:

  • Cardboard box large enough for one shoe of each family member
  • Paints and paintbrushes
  • Family members and their shoes
  • Scarf

Step 1: Decorate a large cardboard box by painting it in bright colors. Each family member might want to contribute part of the design.

Step 2: Let the box dry overnight.

Step 3: The next day, have each family member put one of their shoes into the box.

Step 4: Use a scarf to blindfold family members one at a time, and have them reach into the box and pick out a shoe. If they pick their own shoe, they should put it back and try again.

Step 5: When everyone has picked someone else's shoe, they have to think of three nice surprises they can do for the shoe's owner. Dad may be able to use a helping hand around the house. Or Grandma may need help mowing her lawn.

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ABOUT THE DESIGNERS

Four Score Game by Lisa Lerner and Kersten HamiltonDollar Pick-up Trick by Lisa Lerner and Kersten HamiltonFamily Shoes Game by Lisa Lerner and Kersten Hamilton