Whether it’s a rainy day, a snow day, or a school break, it's always helpful to have a few tricks up your sleeves to transform toddlers, preschoolers, and kindergartners’ boredom into joy. Interactive games that don’t require a screen are a fun way to entertain the kids in your life.
These can be enjoyed in small groups in person, and with a sprinkle of creativity, you can play them over a Kinoo Connect call, too.
Here is a list of simple games your toddler, preschooler and kindergarten-aged kids (and older kids, too) will love:
Red Light, Green Light
Incorporating movement in outside play can be incredibly beneficial for the whole family. Playing outside can improve coordination, build muscle, lower stress, encourage creativity, and foster respect for yourself and others. If your family is stuck inside the house, it's important to still get some movement in your day for many of these same benefits.
Red light, green light is a game that can easily be played indoors and outdoors — even virtually. In this classic schoolyard game, one person stands a few yards away from the other players and shouts out different traffic light colors.
Red is for stop, green is for go, and yellow is for slow down. The goal is to be the first person to reach the traffic light operator, but watch out; if you don't listen to the direction, you'll have to go back to the starting line.
Simon Says is another interactive game that’s fun for elementary school students. This game can be played anywhere — in the car, inside on a rainy day, or outside.
To play Simon Says, one player is Simon. The role of Simon is to give out commands using the phrase “Simon Says.” For example, “Simon says jump,” “Simon says touch your toes,” or “Simon says stick out your tongue.”
The other players follow the directions of Simon as long as they use the phrase “Simon says” before the command. If they don’t use it, the other players should not move.
Anyone who moves is out! The last player standing can become Simon. This is an awesome game for both small and large groups since many people can be involved.
Highlights' world-famous hidden-object puzzles come to life with challenging gameplay that's fun for kids and grown-ups! Hidden Pictures from Highlights have been entertaining kids for over 75 years. They’re innovative, expertly crafted, and full of the humor and challenge kids love.
Searching for objects in Hidden Pictures scenes helps develop vocabulary, concentration and attention to detail.
Highlights Hidden Pictures puzzles are well-researched, well-constructed and visually appealing, to bring kids age-centric benefits and maximum fun.
Kids love the thrill of a challenge and working to achieve a goal. HIDDEN PICTURES puzzles encourage independence and persistence while also creating positive learning experiences.
Tic Tac Toe
A fun game to help teach kids about strategy is tic tac toe. For this game, all you need is a piece of paper and a crayon or pencil for endless fun. This interactive game is a lifesaver for less than exciting times for kids — waiting at the doctor’s, waiting for food at a restaurant, or even long car rides.
To make a tic tac toe game board, start with two parallel vertical lines and two parallel horizontal lines that intersect. One person is assigned Os, and the other player Xs. Each player takes turns writing their assigned letter in one of the boxes on the game board, with the goal being to be the first person to get three in a row.
If you ever played the classic game hangman as a kid, you know the rules of snowman. Over time, parents and educators have changed the drawing of a stick person to a more interactive snowman.
To play this game, grab a sheet of paper, and write out dashes for a word or phrase. Next, have your little buddy guess letters that may be in the missing spots. If they guess a letter correctly, put it on the appropriate dash. If they get it incorrect, add one piece of the snowman.
The guesser will have nine opportunities to guess the secret word or phrase. Here is what you can draw for each incorrect guess:
- One large circle for the bottom of the snowman
- One medium circle for the middle
- One smaller circle for the head
- One left stick arm
- One right stick arm
- Two eyes
- One carrot nose
- One mouth
- One hat
If you're looking for an interactive group game, it’s time for musical chairs. This is a fabulous game to play when you have a large family or friend gathering with lots of kids and young-at-heart grownups.
To play musical chairs, grab enough chairs for everyone but one person to sit in, and put them in a circle with the seat facing out. Line up the participants around the chairs and start the music.
When the music stops, everyone sits in the chair nearest to them. The last person standing is out of the game, and one chair is removed. This play continues until one player gets the very last available chair and is declared the champion.
If you don’t have enough chairs or space for everyone to enjoy musical chairs or your party is smaller in size, freeze dance may be for you. This fun activity can be the perfect indoor recess game when the sunshine is missing in action.
For this game, all you need are some sweet tunes and an easy way to start and start it to get the game started.
To start, choose one person to control the music. You can take turns being the unofficial DJ. Once the music starts, everyone starts to dance. Try out some new moves! When you hear the music stop, everyone FREEZE!
Freeze dance is a great game to help elementary kids build their listening skills and self-regulating skills.
Charades has long been an ultimate party game, and it's also a fantastic interactive game for elementary-aged kids. Starting with a list of mystery words, the first student acts out their word without using any sounds while the other players try to guess. Once that word is guessed correctly, the next person comes up and tries out their miming skills.
Who said that family game night meant players had to be in the same room? With a video call, you can take all the fun and laughs of this time-honored tradition and make it virtual!
A fantastic time to pull out the board games is during the early preschool ages. It’s around this time when kids start to understand basic gameplay and how to follow slightly more in-depth rules. Some of the best games for this age include Guess Who, Sorry!, and Trouble.
There are so many amazing games out there, both cooperative and competitive, that with trial and error, you and your family will put together an epic game cabinet. Remember to look for games created for your little one’s age. Games that are too easy may lose their attention, and games that are too hard may bring frustration to what should be a family-friendly evening.
Put away the worksheets — card games can support early math skills too!
Like board games, card games can be loads of entertainment. Many card games come with cards specific to the game, but some of the classics can be played with a standard deck of cards. Go Fish, Memory, and Old Maid are all interactive card games that may be appropriate for this age group.
This age may also be an ideal time to introduce the exciting game of memory (concentration) to your young card enthusiast. You can also play memory as a one-player game. Use a timer to try and get as many pairs as possible in three minutes.
Kinoo Magic Wand
The Kinoo Magic Wand is a very novel, high tech, kinetic, handheld device that merges movement with visual and auditory learning. To help young kids develop reading, numeracy and life skills without screens.
Recent peer-reviewed studies show moving while learning improves comprehension and retention—at all ages. Whether your child is walking & talking, stretching & studying, or clapping & counting, moving helps your child understand and remember what they learn.
The Kinoo Magic Wand makes the most of the power of movement by matching each activity with specific and intuitive gestures–like twisting, tapping, and clapping to keep your kids up and moving (and learning) as they play.
Interactive Games: A Summary
Interactive games can be any type of game that gets your kiddo engaged with not only the rules of the game but with the people they’re playing with. Many of them are team-building activities that can get a whole class working together.
Games are a great way to help build important skills like problem-solving, critical thinking, and communication. Board games help family and friends bond, but they can also build strong relationships between one student and the rest of the class.
At Kinoo, we believe a moving child is a learning child.
When you have a few games ready for your kiddos, it can keep them entertained, pass the time, and even help them learn new skills like problem-solving and communication.
The next time you're looking for an interactive game to play with your kids, try out one from our list of some of our favorite go-to games.
Let's Do Fun Things Together - Highlights
Bonding with Board Games | K-State
Get outside and play - 4-H Healthy Youth | MSU
Music freeze tag — Better Kid Care | Penn State Extension
10 Family Card Games That Support Early Math Skills | DREME Stanford University