I knew better growing up than to tell my mom or dad I was bored. The response was never a trip to the amusement park or a game, but instead, some mundane chore meant more for inmates, not children. It is a different generation now, and I want to spend as much time with my kids while they still think I’m cool. With that in mind, here are some games the entire family can enjoy without spending any money.
Building an obstacle course
This is a great way to get kids up and moving. Have them go around the house and find things they can use to create an obstacle course. It can be as simple as you want. Once they have collected everything, they put it together and let them loose! This type of play is excellent for their problem-solving skills.
Get creative and encourage your kids to do the same. You can use sticks, scrap wood, rope, or whatever you find that you think everyone can safely walk on or jump over.
For more ideas on obstacle courses click here.
Spud is like a combination of H.O.R.S.E and ball tag. This game works best with at least five people but can be played with fewer. You will need a ball of some sort. Try and choose a ball that is getting hit in the face friendly.
Unofficial Rules of Spud
- Pick someone to be “it” and hand them the ball
- The remaining players huddle up and secretly assign numbers based on the number of players in the huddle. If there are four players in the huddle, each person is assigned a number one through four. Don’t let the person who is “it” know your numbers.
- The players break the huddle and then circle the person with the ball
- The player with the ball throws the ball straight up; I repeat straight up and shout one of the numbers.
- Everyone whose number wasn’t called, including the person who threw the ball, runs as fast as they can away from the ball until they hear the word “spud.”
- The person whose number was called must grab the ball, secure it, and shout spud.
- Everyone must freeze once they hear “spud” called. Don’t be that person that takes a few extra steps. Spud is a game of honor and integrity.
- The person who now has the ball is trying to hit one of the remaining players with the ball. The thrower can take three steps toward the player of their choosing. The thrower can get a running start if they launch from the starting point where they initially yelled spud.
- Players can move their bodies up and down and side to side to avoid the ball as long as their feet stay planted.
- If the thrower hits a person with the ball, the person who got hit gets the letter S. If the thrower misses, the thrower gets the letter S.
- Whoever got the letter is the next person who throws the ball.
- The game continues until someone gets all the letters to spell out S.P.U.D. This person has lost the game and now must suffer some sort of humiliation of your choosing.
You can forego the punishment, but that was always kind of the fun part. Our preferred method is the spanking machine! It’s not as bad or as good as it sounds, so don’t get upset or weird. The player who lost the game has to crawl between the other player’s legs while they take turns spanking the loser.
The official rules can be found here.
This is our rainy day option when we can’t get outside and run around. You will need a deck of cards, and you will need spoons (one per player minus one). The game is best with four to six people but can also be played with fewer.
The game’s object is to collect a hand of four of a kind. This is a game of speed and deception.
To set up the game, place spoons in the middle of the table equidistance from each player. Then, shuffle the deck of cards and deal four cards out to the players. The remaining cards are placed face down for the dealer, which is the draw pile.
Unofficial rules of Spoons
- The dealer starts the game by drawing a card from the draw pile and then deciding which one they want to discard.
- The dealer discards to the player to the left, who picks up the card and decides which one they want to discard. Meanwhile, the dealer hits the draw pile again and repeats.
- The cards continue to be passed to the left, and the dealer continues to draw and discard.
- Once a player gets four of a kind in their hand, they grab a spoon from the middle of the table as quickly and quietly as possible. Once a player grabs a spoon, all the other players can grab a spoon too. The person left without a spoon in hand drops their head in shame and sits out the next round.
- A spoon is removed from the center of the table, the cards are shuffled and dealt, and another round starts until one person is standing.
Official rules can be found here.
This game is a blast and teaches kids dexterity, how to pay attention and the fun of competition.
Although the games listed above are free, they provide hours of entertainment for all family members. These games promote physical activity, cognitive skills, and teamwork. So gather your family together and get ready to have some fun!