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Games to cure cabin fever

If you’re feeling a bit cooped up and want some ideas for free and fun things to do, here are some games you can play to beat the boredom.

Game #1: Jump to the beat

If everyone’s getting hyper, this tip is a good way to burn off some of that excess energy. Put some music on, dance around, and get your kids to count out different actions with you - like 10 hops or 16 jumps - in time to the music.

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Game #2: People's vote

Get them to ask everyone in your family what their favourite animal, fruit or TV show is. You can also do it the other way round, and find out which type of music, or vegetable is their least favourite.


Ask them to write it down so they can show you the most and least popular in your household. Hello, Brussel sprouts!

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Game #3: Bursting bubbles

Most kids (and adults!) love popping bubble wrap. If you have some lying around at home, why not have a bubble wrap race? Who can pop the most in a minute? You can count the burst bubbles together to find out who’s the best popper in the house.

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Game #4: Bingo

Bingo is a fast-paced game that kids love to play. You could make or buy your own scorecards of 5 squares across and 5 squares down and add in some numbers. Cut out a matching set of numbers, put them in a hat or bowl, and give everyone a scorecard and a pen. Then pull out a number, show it to the children - and get them to colour over the matching number on their scorecard if they have it. They’ll love yelling ‘Bingo!’ when they get a full house.

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Game #5: Play shops

Help them get some tins from the kitchen, then choose which cans are worth 10p, 20p or £1 in pretend money. Have a go at making your own paper coins together (10p, 20p and £1). Next, decide who is going to be the shopkeeper and who is going to be the customer. You could take it in turns to shop using the money you made and see who gets the best deal!

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Game #6: Grand designs

Why not give your child a design challenge, and get them to create their own bank note or coin? They can decide how much their bank note or coin is worth, and add the images - just don’t try to use it at the supermarket.

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Game #7: Number magnets

If you have some, get some number magnets and help them count forwards from Zero-10. Stick each number on the fridge or the radiator as you go. When you've stuck all the numbers up, why not count backwards from 10-Zero together? If your child is in P1, their Bookbug bag has free number magnets all ready to go!

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Game #8: Snakes and ladders

Quick questions can help your child learn while they play - try asking them what happens when you land on a snake? What comes after 29? Can you try counting in tens up the board? You could show them how to use their counter or finger to count up the board as you go.

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Game #9: Penny Tumble

Have you ever tried Penny Tumble? Just put 10 coins of the same type into a small container. One person can choose heads, the other tails. Then shake and spill to see who has the most. Count up how many wins each person gets.

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Game #10: Breakfast by numbers

If you need to keep them busy at breakfast, get them to do something like counting the number of words they can find on their cereal pack with the same letter. Count the number of words they can find beginning with the same letter. You can also get them to do something like finding words that rhyme.

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Game #11: Two dice = lots of different numbers

Playing dice games with your child is a simple way you can help them with their counting - and is ideal if you’re looking for a quick and easy game for two to play.

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Game #12: Shaping up

If you want to keep them busy around the house, why not try spotting shapes? How many circles, triangles or squares can your child spot in the room? After they've named the shape, they could look for other items with the same shape.

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Game #13: What’s the time Mr Wolf?

The next time your child has friends round, a fun game they can play is 'What's the time Mr Wolf?' Mr Wolf stands at one end of the room and everyone else at the other side. Mr Wolf turns his back while the others shout 'What's the time Mr Wolf?' Mr Wolf answers with a time (4 o'clock for example) and the players then take 4 steps towards him. They keep asking the question until he shouts 'Dinnertime' and tries to catch a player. If Mr Wolf catches them, they become Mr Wolf. Watch out!

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Game #14: Stop the clock

If you want something that will keep them busy, grab your phone or a clock and ask your child to find as many green things as they can in the living room in 30 seconds. To mix it up, change the amount of time you have, the room that you're looking in and the colour you choose. Why not join in yourself, and take it in turns to time each other as you move from room to room. It’ll keep you both fit too.

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Game #15: Ready, steady, go!

If you want a trick to get them doing something in record time, why not try “ready steady go”?  Use a stopwatch or a clock with a second hand to help your child figure out how long it takes to do everyday things - like tidying up toys, getting ready in the morning, or helping you sort out the recycling. You’ll probably find they’ll start trying to “beat” their record- good news for getting the chores done!

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Last updated: 10 May, 2019