Games to play at home. Ideas from MentalUp

MentalUP is a great app that we love, and they have come up with some ideas for games to play to keep everyone busy…

MentalUp

During lockdown and social distancing, it is impossible to bring children together on playdates with their friends, so here is a list of games, including some old-school, nostalgic games to play at home both single-player games and multiplayer games.

First of all, of course, you can download the MentalUP app which protects children from harmful content on the internet which includes many single-player games, with each game pedagogically-certified and designed to improve children’s’ mental skills. 

When your child performs well in the games, they earn in-game gold and can spend it to develop their avatar. Not only does this create an immersive gaming experience, but it also supports the development of the child’s attention spanmemory, and verbal, visual and numerical intelligence.

Other games to play:

Single player games

Card Matching Game (Improves Memory)

This game is a memory game that can be played at home.

First, divide an A4-sized paper or cardboard into eight equal pieces. Next, draw two of the same symbol, number or pattern on each piece of paper. We now have four sets (eight pieces) of paper, with two of each image. Turn the papers upside down and mix them up.

Now the game begins! Try to find the same two images. If you cannot, then both cards must be flipped down again. Repeat this process until all the same images are successfully opened in quick succession.

As children grow older, the number of cards can be increased to further test their memory skills.

Maze, Spot the Difference, and Similar Paper-Based Games (Support Visual Intelligence Development)

There are several books for these types of games, but if you don’t have one yet, you can also print them from the internet. These kinds of games can be played alone at home. You can even prepare the maze game yourself and play it on your own.

For example, in the maze game, all you need to do is draw a maze path to the target. Then replace your own path with dead-end streets to create a full maze. By the time you complete the maze, you will probably have lost your way. Now it’s time to try again!

Racquet Sports (Supports Development of Motor Skills and Kinesthetic Intelligence)

Yes we know racket sports are usually played by two players. But tennis and badminton can turn into a fun activity that children can play alone. They can play by throwing the balls against a wall, bouncing the ball with the racquet on the floor, or counting how many times they can bounce the ball upwards by holding their racquet horizontally.

Hopscotch (Improves Motor Skills)

Hopscotch is perhaps one of the oldest games. It not only helps children develop their motor skills, but also provides important daily physical activity. And it’s also very simple to play: 

Draw a hopscotch design on the ground using chalk.

Throw a stone or stone like object to land on square one.

Hop through the squares, skipping the one you have your marker on.

Do not step on the lines, always keep your feet inside the square.

When you turn back, pick up the marker stone and repeat by throwing your stone to the next square in turn.

Solitaire (Improves Strategic Thinking Skills)

Solitaire is the most common single-player game and it’s a really fun game for kids. It is a card game but has many digital versions nowadays.

Cards are distributed from a card deck to an arrangement on the desktop. The player tries to reorder the deck by suit and rank and transfers the cards from one place to another under certain restrictions. The aim of the game is to create four card-blocks from each suit ranging from ace to the king, being able to get cards from the layout if

Bananagrams (Improves Strategic Thinking and Verbal Skills)

It’s actually a game similar to Scrabble, but with fewer rules. The aim of the game is to create words. But, unlike Scrabble, even in the multiplayer version of the game, you create your own word chain without anyone stealing your space for the perfect word.

Hula Hoop (Improves Kinesthetic Intelligence and Motor Skills)

It is a good challenge for kids. How many turns will they be able to spin the Hula hoop without dropping it?

Children can play this game both inside and outside. Of course, they will need a large area to turn the circle. If your child doesn’t know how to turn the hula hoop circle, it would make sense to have him/her watch a few videos to help get started. 

MULTIPLAYER GAMES TO PLAY AT HOME

Balloon Game (Supports Development of Kinesthetic Intelligence and Motor Skills)

All you need for this game is a balloon. First, you inflate the balloon and start by throwing it to each other. The aim of the game is to keep the balloon in the air.

It is possible to add various rules to the game. For example, you can make the game more difficult by saying that it cannot touch any objects. This game is important for the development of children’s kinesthetic intelligence areas, such as balance and motor skills. Games played at home with balloons can be for two or more players.

Touchy-feely (Improves Fine Motor Skills, Logic and Focusing)

A great game for kids who love to explore! Find a cardboard box o and make a hole on a surface that your child’s hand can pass through. Place any fruit, toy or another object inside the box. You can even make things a bit messier. Maybe a plate of pasta!

Put your child’s hand in the box and ask him/her to guess the object inside. If he/she doesn’t know, you win.

Tic-Tac-Toe (Develops Strategic Thinking and Focusing)

Tic-Tac-Toe is one of the most well-known games and perhaps the first pencil and card game a child learns. It is also quite simple to play. Draw a grid of two horizontal lines that intersect two vertical lines. Players select a box in turn and place the letter 0 or the letter X to mark their boxes. The object of the game is to fill three marks in a row or prevent your opponent from doing this.

Indoor bowling (Improves Focusing and Gross Motor Skills)

Think small, create great fun! Any ball and a few empty plastic bottles will be enough to start this game. Make sure that the ball is not too big that it is not easy to topple the bottles. If you put a few small stones in the bottles, they will balance better. That way they can be more difficult to overturn. Shape the fun according to your child’s age and skills!

Guess the Sound (Supports Development of Attention, Focusing and Problem-Solving Skills)

Collect a few items that you think may produce sound for example several blocks of wood, paper, spoons, whistles etc. The important thing is that it can make a unique sound. Cover your child’s eyes and make sounds using these objects. Have your child try recognizing objects by their sound.

Dots and Boxes (Improves Fine Motor Skills, Focusing and Problem-Solving Skills)

It is a pencil and paper game played by two players. Dots and Boxes begin with an empty dot grid. Players move in turn by adding a single horizontal or vertical line between two adjacent points in order.

The player who completes the fourth side of the 1 × 1 box earns one more point and one more turn. Players write their initials in the boxes to indicate who has completed each. Dots and Boxes end when there are no more lines to be placed. The winner is the player with the most boxes completed.

Puzzles (Improves Fine Motor Skills, Focusing and Visual Intelligence)

A puzzle is an activity that can be done alone but you can also make the puzzle-solving activity a fun and challenging game. Close your eyes and choose one of the pieces randomly. Let the winner be the first to find where their chosen piece belongs!

GAMES PLAYED AT HOME FOR 3 OR MORE PEOPLE

Circus Show Game (Improves Attention and Gross Motor Skills)

The Circus Show game is a very entertaining game that can be played at home by three people.

You need two balls. First, three people position themselves to form a triangle. Two people hold a ball, which means one person is left empty-handed. The person who does not have the ball always issues the commands.

The commands are “right” and “left”. For example, if the command is “right”, each person will throw the ball to the person on the right. The ball continues to be thrown to the right until the next command is received.

The only person who can issue the next command is the one without a ball. This person can suddenly say “left”. As soon as the “left” command is received, the direction of the ball’s movement turns to the left. That means, everybody starts throwing the ball to the left. Those who drop the ball or forget to throw the ball in the right direction receives penalty points!

Weeble Game (Develops Attention and Reflexes)

When talking about playing games at home for four or more people, the first games that come to mind are board games like Ludo and Monopoly. However, if you are looking for more active games, especially for children aged 4, 5 and 6, the Weeble game is just for you.

You can play the Weeble game with a rolling pin or just a simple pole. First, players sit in a circle. One of the players places a pole in the middle and holds it in their hand in an upright position. Each player is given a nickname or number.

The player holding the pole says the nickname or number of another player and drops the pole. The named player must act quickly and catch the pole before it falls to the ground. If the pole falls, the player takes a penalty score. They then say another name and drop the pole. In this way, the game continues.

Word Whiz (Develops Verbal Skills, Logic and Attention)

Each player gets a piece of paper and a pen. Players move a dictionary from hand to hand, and in turn, select a word they believe other players will not know. Players read the words aloud and, if necessary, spell them.

The other players write down what they think the word means. All definitions are read and players choose which one they think is correct. The player who chose the word gets one point for each wrong guess and then shows the real definition. The player with the most points after a certain number of rounds wins the game.

Hot Potato (Improves attention, Reflexes and Focusing)

It is an old but never outdated game. Everyone sits on the floor to form a circle. Turn on the music while players pass the “hot potato”, which is actually a small ball, as quickly as possible in the circle. When the music stops, the player holding the ball is out. When only one player remains, you have the winner of the game.

Draw & Pass (Supports Development of Visual Intelligence, Fine Motor Skills and Strategic Thinking)

Let the youngest begin! The game proceeds according to the date of birth. Find a big piece of paper. Get coloured pencils. The youngest player draws something. It can be a circle or a line, and then every other player adds something to this drawing. 

Freeze! (Supports Development of Creativity, Gross Motor Skills and Reflexes)

Dancing time! Choose your kids’ favourite music and tell them to dance. Until the music stops. As soon as the music stops, everyone freezes in a position – maybe a crazy dance figure or a wild animal! The most creatively frozen person wins!

Hide and Seek (Improves Strategic Thinking, Reflexes and Motor Skills)

Hide and Seek is a game that all children love, regardless of age. You can predetermine certain rooms or hiding places for the game your little children play inside. But for older children, it will be more fun to make the game difficult.

You can also enjoy playing in the dark and outside in your garden. Give a torch to the player trying to find people. The last person found is the winner.

Treasure Hunt (Improves Logic, Attention and Strategic Thinking Skills)

Children always love to explore. Finding hidden objects is exciting. While some preparation is required to play this game at home, the fun it provides is worth it. Write clues on small folded pieces of paper. Plan each tip to take the kids to the next point. When the children reach the end, they find a reward.

OLD FAVOURITES –  GAMES TO PLAY AT HOME

Here, we share games that never get old.

SOS: This is a game for two people. It is played in a fixed area on a checkered notebook. Each player has a single move each time. The player can either put an “S” or an “O ” inside the frame of his choice. The player who completes the word S-O-S first wins points and new moves. The player with the most completed SOS words wins.

Name the City: This game can be played with three or more people. Any adult or child who is 6-7 years old and can read is able to enjoy this game. Everyone needs a piece of paper in front of them. There are headings on the papers that contain categories, such as names, cities, animals, and plants. One letter is specified, for example, the letter B. Everyone writes a WORD starting with the letter B in the relevant categories without showing their papers. Each correct word that is written is worth 10 points. The score of those who have written the same words is divided between them and they are given 5 points for each word. Fields left blank are zero points. At the end of the game, the highest score wins.

Hot-Cold: This is a game that is more fun to play with a group. Inside the house, there are set boundaries and an item is placed within these boundaries. Others will offer hints to help; as the player approaches the item they are searching for, their fellow players will say “hot”. Conversely, if the player moves away from the item, they will start saying “cold”. The player who finds the lost item as soon as possible will earn points.

Hangman: Players try to complete the spelling of a word before the drawing of a hangman ends. The first player thinks of a word or phrase and writes a space for each letter under the drawing of a gallows with an empty rope. The second player guesses the letters and tries to spell the word. Each false prediction gives the guessing player a body part attached to the swinging rope – a head, body, two arms, and two legs. If the hangman predictions are completed without giving the correct word or phrase, the player who chose the word wins. 

Domino Run: Arrange the dominoes to trigger each other. Use your creativity and improve the track. Children will need to adjust the distances correctly.  After patiently lining the dominoes, touch the trigger together and enjoy watching this amazing movement you’ve built.

Monopoly: Monopoly is a classic real-estate trading game. This nostalgic game is so popular that both board game and online versions are produced. In the game, players roll two six-sided dice to move around the board, buy and trade property, and develop them with houses and hotels. The game has many house rules.

Heads Up: One of the oldest known party games. Each player writes the name of someone or something on a piece of paper. One of these common acquaintances can be a celebrity, a movie, and even an animal. Then everyone puts the paper he wrote on the forehead of the person next to him. Everyone tries to guess the person on his forehead.

Musical chairs: It is a frequently played game at children’s birthday parties. Chairs are lined up so that there is one less than the number of participants. Music starts and children start dancing around the chairs. Whoever is still standing when the music stops is eliminated. Who gets the last chair wins the game.

Yahtzee: The object of the game is to roll five dice to make certain combinations. The dice can be rotated three times to make various scoring combinations and the dice must remain in the box. One game consists of thirteen rounds. After each round, the player chooses which scoring category to use for that round. It can’t be used again after using a category in the game. The scoring categories have varying score values, some of which are fixed values and some of them depend on the value of the dice.

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