Finding easy ways to keep the whole family entertained can be tricky – especially when you’re trying to please a range of ages, from toddlers to teens. The answer? Encourage a bit of competitive spirit.
We’ve come up with 17 fun and homemade games everyone can enjoy – all you need is a few household objects, and a healthy imagination…
Go on a minibeast hunt
Beetles, ladybirds, caterpillars, spiders, worms… your garden is home to a whole host of fascinating minibeasts. Set a challenge to see how many each person can find in 10 minutes. If you’re really keen, you could even photograph them with your phone camera.
Make an obstacle course
Create an indoor or outdoor obstacle course using everyday objects. Contestants can crawl under blankets, throw balls into buckets, climb over or under furniture, and balance on planks of wood. To make it fair, adults could compete blindfolded. Who can get around the fastest?
Do the limbo
The first step to good limbo dancing? Play some tropical tunes! Then tie a length of string between two garden canes stuck into the ground (indoors, use two chairs instead). Players take it in turns to limbo underneath the string without touching it, moving the string an inch or so nearer the ground each time. How low can you go?
Be a fashion designer
Either in teams or individually, players have half-an-hour to fashion an ‘outfit’ using things they find around the house. Sheets, rubbish bags, string, tea towels, newspapers… anything can be tied, draped or stuck to a willing ‘model’. The most outlandish creation wins!
Build a Lego tower
Get your bricks out and see who can build the tallest tower. Prizes could be awarded for artistic merit, sturdiness, and to anyone who manages to build higher than their own head.
Sail bath boats
Make use of all those plastic bottles and tubs from the recycling bin by using them to build boats. Use electrical tape to hold everything together and decorate them with acrylic paint; then use the bath to test them out. Extra points go to the person whose boat floats the longest or looks the most impressive.
Brave the laser maze
Wind lengths of string between chairs and tables to act as ‘laser beams’; then see who can crawl and bend their way through them, Mission Impossible-style, without tweaking the string. It’s fiendishly difficult!
Go on a night-time treasure hunt
Most things are more fun after dark – and hunting for sparkly stuff is no exception. Wrap some small objects in tinfoil to act as ‘treasure’ and hide them in plain sight around your garden or a darkened room. Next, give everyone a torch and a set of clues. When they guess a clue correctly and shine the torch in the right spot, the treasure will reflect the light by ‘twinkling’.
Test your memory
The beauty of this traditional game is that you don’t need any special equipment to play. Simply place 12 random household objects on a tray (such as a pencil, peg, coin, matchstick or piece of fruit) and give players a minute to memorise them all. Then cover up the tray with a cloth – how many can they remember?
Avoid a lava pit
In this surprisingly hilarious indoor or outdoor game, players must pretend the floor is a molten lava pit. The aim is to get across a room or the garden by only using cushions or furniture as stepping stones. Anyone who accidentally treads in the lava gets ‘melted’ and is out. Ouch!
Hold a sports day
This summer’s Olympic Games has been postponed – so hold a mini one in your back garden instead. ‘Sports’ could include pillowcase sack races; a hula hooping marathon; egg and spoon sprints (give adults smaller spoons to even things up); and long jump on the grass, complete with measuring tape. Reward lucky winners with medals made from tin foil. Ready, get set, go!
Make a drinking glass organ
A great game for testing your musical ability. Fill bottles or glasses with different amounts of water, so that they sound as different notes when tapped with a spoon. Take it in turns – who can play the best tune?
Play waving hide and seek
Kids love hide and seek, so try this version with a twist. Everyone hides except for the seeker. When the first person is found, that hider has to walk behind the seeker while they look for others. If the original hider spots someone else hiding, they can wave at them. If that person then waves back without the seeker spotting them, the original hider can run off and hide again!
HOLD A CARROT TOP GROWING CONTEST
Whilst carrot tops won’t produce more vegetables, they do make fascinating, fast-growing plants. Cut an inch off the top of a carrot and place it in a dish on top of damp cotton wool. Keep the cotton moist (but not soaking) and in a few days, green leaves will start to sprout, meaning you can transfer them to a soil-filled pot. Whose will grow the tallest?
host a games tournament
Dedicate an afternoon or weekend to hosting an exciting competition playing various games you have stored away. Whatever it is that you're playing, display a scoreboard to build on the excitement, prepare snacks to enjoy along the way, and organise prizes so the whole family truly get involved.
Blow giant bubbles
Carefully bend a wire coat hanger into a circle to make a huge wand; then dip it into a bucket filled with washing liquid and water. Who can blow the biggest bubble?
Have a go at fruit croquet
Don't have a croquet set stashed away? Simply create your own with fruit! Make a ‘mallet’ by putting an orange or apple in a sock, then holding the end and swinging it between your legs. Croquet hoops can be made with wire or pieces of cardboard; then just use your fruity mallets to knock a tennis ball through them, playing according to normal croquet rules.
We'll be posting more brilliant ideas for keeping entertained at home here and across our social channels, so stay tuned!