I’m generally an optimistic person so I wouldn’t usually start off a post with negative comments (except perhaps when I’m having a Mini Rant!), but for the purpose of this particular observation, I feel it’s necessary.
You see, this month we have a Bank Holiday coming up. I don’t know if you recall, but the earlier Bank Holiday this month was a total washout. Well, it was where I live in Kent.
And if there's one thing that’s unpredictable it’s the British weather. So, taking a leaf out of the Scout's Motto, this month I’m going to be prepared.
Now if it's sunny, then that's great – we'll be out in the garden pottering around and catching some rays.
But if it rains then I'm sorted too; I’ve come up with Five Great Indoor Games for families with tweens.
Actually, since we play the games quite regularly they’re all in my head (and I’ve got more than five – one not so favourite being the ‘IT' Game!), but for the purposes of this post, I’m showcasing my five favourite go-to family games.
Have you ever seen the TV panel show Call My Bluff? If so, this game is pretty similar to that. Say you’re a family of four (although the game can be played with as few as two players), then one person is designated the card reader. There are five categories in the game to choose from – Initials, Film, Person, Place and Law.
So looking at Initials, as an example – the card reader might read: What do the initials T.O.L.S stand for? The players then make up a fictitious association or club – e.g. Time of Our Lives Society – and write this on a piece of paper. When all players have thought of an answer they hand their scraps of paper to the card reader.
The card reader will then read out (in random order) all of the responses PLUS the correct answer, trying not to give anything away (I always get the card reader to hide behind the game box so players can’t see if they are reading the correct (card) answer or the scraps of paper!)
You have to have a bit of a poker face to play Balderdash; many a time I’ve been caught out by someone reading out my answer and I’ve laughed at my own answer – mostly because I’ve either written (a) something totally childish or (b) I’ve been a bit rude.
Sometimes though I’ll try and fool the other players into thinking one of the answers was the one that I wrote by looking shifty or smirking. Balderdash has been my favourite game since I discovered it about ten years ago – I haven’t yet found anything that comes close to making me laugh or amused me.
And now the kids are tweens, it’s great to see them use their vivid imagination to come up with the most unlikely answer. Truth is, usually the most unlikely answers turn out to be the real answer, which is the beauty of this game.
2. The Laughing Game
This is a family game that we made up donkeys years ago. The object of the game is very simple: Don’t laugh! Actually, a game has since launched called Don’t Laugh – I’m gutted I didn’t think of it first as I already had the idea – and was implementing it!
So how does it work? Well we all sit on the floor and the person who is trying to make the others laugh leaves the room to ‘prepare’.
They can get props to help them – or dress up – but when they walk into the room the other players are forbidden to laugh. Smiling is allowed – and even smirking to a degree- but if one teeny weenie sound passes the lips of anyone, they’re out!
So what sorts of things do we get up to? Well, the kids contort their bodies and come into the room putting on an accent. Usually things associated with farting, pooing and weeing will have them in hysterics
VIP will usually come into the room pretending he’s a silverback gorilla which the kids love, and I usually opt for pretending I’m some sort of animal or putting my face next to the kids and pretend I’m sniffing them, which usually has them dissolve into a fit of giggles (especially if you gently blow on their ears while doing it!)
What’s great about this game is that you don’t need any set up – you just sit down and start playing.
3. Hide and Seek
You’re probably wondering why I’ve listed Hide and Seek as a favourite indoor game to play, but seriously…when did you last play it? It’s great fun – and the kids still enjoy it despite being a bit older. And even though I struggle to find some great places to hide (my usual go-tos are in the shower, behind a door/curtain and in the wardrobe), I once disguised myself as a bin bag, which worked a treat – no one found me for ages!
The rules are…whoever gets found first is the next person to count. When we play the person who's counting allows at least 20 seconds (usually 30) to give the other players the best chance of finding a great hiding place.
The best hide and seek I ever did on my kids? I left the house to go to a Slimming World meeting while they were still counting. VIP tells me they eventually saw the funny side, but were not impressed when they had searched high and low for me for 20 minutes.
4. Mallet’s Mallet
Anyone remember Mallet’s Mallet? It was an 80s kids show with Timmy Mallet and was fast paced and great fun! The great thing about this game is that you can transfer it to wherever you are – sitting in a traffic jam, at the airport – basically wherever you have to wait as it helps pass the time.
If you’re at home though, all the family sits in a circle and one person kicks off the game by shouting out a word. The gane moves clockwise and the person next to them has to think of a word associated with what the person has just said.
So, for example, we could start off with the word bear, then the next person might say brown, then the next might say another colour etc…
Actually, we did go down this last time and for some reason the kids almost always end up saying ‘poo’ or ‘wee’ because they think it’s hilarious. But is it makes them laugh, that’s great.
There are some rules of course. You can’t hesitate or take too long in answering (hence why it’s such a fast-paced game); and you can challenge a word if you think it’s not associated with the previous one (the person must then explain the connection).
We usually play until the last person wins but it’s great at getting the kids’ creative juices flowing, plus it’s also educational as the kids end up learning new words they haven’t heard before – a win-win!
Drawing was never my forte and the kids absolutely love it when I agree to play Pictionary. Why? Because I’m pretty naff at drawing and they howl with laughter when they see my attempts. Mind you, I do the same with my own mum.
We usually pair up in teams – adults V kids or girls V boys and swap around to make it more interesting (and stop the kids fighting when they start losing)
You don’t actually need a board game to do this – just 2 pens/pencils and lots of paper. Two people (one from each team) decide what they are going to draw a picture of (without letting the other players hear their decision).
Then on the count of three, the drawing commences – the first person to shout out the correct answer is the winning team.
There are rules – things like gesturing is not allowed or writing words on the picture, but the more obscure you make the object to draw, the funnier the results!
What indoor family games do you enjoy playing – and which of the above is your favourite?
*This post is in collaboration with Provident as part of its ‘Don’t Break The Bank Holiday’ campaign to advise families across the UK on what to do on a budget. Check out more ideas on what to do this Bank Holiday!