Keeping morale high is important for kids and adults alike. I created this list for our school's emergency kits several years ago, and printed copies for my own emergency kits. It's a helpful list for summer boredom busters too.
Here is a one-page printable list. I'm printing it on card stock and rolling it up with a ribbon to go along with Christmas gifts for my preparedness-minded family and friends. I wish I would have thought of this yesterday, so we could have included them with our neighborhood gifts of dollar store emergency candles!
UPDATE: Click here for 97 games and activies that need little or no props! And how to make a FUN kit to include in your emergency kit.
2. I Spy with My little Eye (Something red and small. Who can guess what it is?) The winner gets to be the spy next. You have to choose objects that you can see right now.
3. Make an obstacle course of crawling under and over items.
4. Button, Button, who’s got the button? Use a pebble or any random item. Kids sit in a circle facing inward, each holding their palms tightly together. The kids pass their hands through the person’s hand to their left, motioning like they’re secretly dropping a button into the other child’s hands. Everyone’s hands keep doing this motion while only one button is really being passed. The trick is to catch someone passing the real button. If you guess wrong, you’re out of the game. If you guess right, both people involved in the passing are out of the game, until the next game starts.
5. Electricity. Kids sit in a circle facing inward, holding hands. One person starts the flow of “electricity” in one direction by squeezing their neighbor’s hand, who then squeezes his neighbor’s hand. The squeezes go down the line, until someone catches a person passing the electricity. The two passers are out of the game, until the next game starts. You could let the kids choose to reverse the pulse too.
6. Simon Says
7. Mother, May I? Kids stand side by side in a line. You stand several yards away. In turn, you give each child a command like, “Tara, take four baby steps. Mike, take two giant steps. Grant, take five crawling steps.” The child must remember to say “Mother may I?” before obeying your command. If a child forgets to say, “Mother, May I?” s/he returns to the starting line. The first child to reach you wins.
8. Duck, Duck Goose. Kids sit in a circle. One child (IT) walks around the outside of the circle, touching each child’s head in turn, saying “duck, duck, duck,” until he finally says “goose” to one child. The goose runs to chase IT around the circle, trying to touch IT before IT sits in the goose’s place on the ground. If IT gets caught, s/he gets to be IT again. If IT sits down first, the goose gets to be IT.
9. I Have a little Doggie and he won’t bite you. Kids sit in a circle. IT walks around the circle touching each person’s head saying “he won’t bite you, and he won’t bit you...” Until IT says to one child, “But he will bite you!” The “bitten” child chases IT around the circle, trying to touch IT before IT sits down in the “bitten” child’s place on the ground. If IT gets caught, s/he gets to be IT again. If IT sits down first, the bitten child gets to be IT.
10. Musical chairs (played with one shoe in each spot instead of a chair) The teacher sings instead of using a tape recorder.
11. Shoe race. Kids race to a big pile of all their shoes, to find their own, put them on, and run back. You could have two separate races, one for slip-on shoes, and one for tie-on shoes.
12. Thumb wars. Two kids join hands with both their thumbs on top. Each thumb tries to push down the other guy’s thumb to win.
13. Rock, Paper, Scissors
14. 20 Questions. You think of an object. Kids ask up to 20 Yes/No questions to try to guess what it is. For example, “Is it a person? Is it a place? Is it a thing? Is it big? Is it brown? Is it an animal?” You can only answer yes or no.
15. Homonyms Game. Teacher gives clues of 2 homonyms and students guess. Example: “I’m thinking of a word that’s a drink and a letter.” (Tea/T). Other ideas: Ant/Aunt, Mail/Male, Heel/Heal, Meet/Meat, Bored/Board, Hole/Whole, Reel/Real, Rose/Rows,
Sea/See, Two/Too, Use/Ewes, Way/Weigh.
16. Name that tune. You hum a tune they know and the person to guess gets to hum the next tune.
17. Red Rover. Divide into two teams. Each team locks arms in a long line. One team chants, “Red rover, red rover, send Katie right over!” Katie runs over to their chain of people, trying to run through it and break the chain. If she fails, Katie stays on the opposite team. If she succeeds, Katie gets to bring back two of the other team’s players to her team.
18. Lie down and let each person tell what a cloud looks like to them.
19. Gossip Game: Everyone lines up, the first person whispers a sentence in the second person’s ear, and so on down the line. By the last person it is fun to see how similar or different the sentence is after passing through that many ears. This is a good object lesson on not gossiping.
20. Chain story: Someone makes up a beginning to a story. Then each person takes a turn making up a part to the story to add on.
21. Lip Reading Game: In teams of two, ask the kids to “lip” to each other their favorite food, color, favorite anything else you tell them to.
22. Sit in a circle. In unison, all hit knees, clap, and snap to a beat. On each child’s turn on the snap part of the beat, they name one item that begins with the letter of the alphabet that lands on them. The first child uses A, like “apple,” second uses B, like “boat,” so on.
23. Hold a backwards spelling bee. You say a word, they say the word, then say it backwards, and then spell it backwards.
24. Mirror, Mirror. Two kids stand facing each other. One follows the movements of the other just like a mirror.
25. Have the kids lay on the ground next to each other to form letters to spell a word. You could start by giving them a word, then let them take turns thinking of a word, and letting you guess what the word is after they’ve worked out how to arrange themselves on the ground.
26. Hokey Pokey
27. Braille. One child slowly writes a word on the other child’s back with her finger, and the front child tries to guess what was written.
Activities to do with paper and pencils, chalk on the sidewalk, drawing in the dirt, or a dry erase board.
28. Hang Man
29. Tic Tac Toe
30. Connect the dots. Make lots of dots in rows and columns on the page. Two kids take turns drawing one line at a time to connect two dots. When a player draws the last line to make a square, s/he writes his/her initial in that square. At the end of the game, the player with the most initials wins.
31. Trace three different textures rubbing the side of your pencil lead on different items without leaving your seat.
32. Draw combinations of two or three different animals. For example, draw an animal that was part lion and part lamb.
33. Hold your pencil between your toes and draw a picture.
34. Make a “Cootie Catcher” (square piece of paper folded to make a game that you open and close, with info. hidden inside the flaps. )
35. Draw a picture drawing only with dots, no lines.
36. Draw a picture with your non-dominant hand.
If you have access to a ball, you just increased your list of game choices a bunch!
Then you can play dodge ball, kick ball, soccer, catch, keep away, monkey in the middle, hot potato, and so on. Here is a list of ball games. If you want more ideas for ball games, just do a Google search and you'll find plenty of ideas.
If you have access to one deck of Uno cards, you could also play a bunch of different games. So it's a good idea to store a ball and a deck of Uno in your emergency kit. (I didn't include this list in the one-page printable above.)
- Spaz Uno
- Younger kids can sort the cards by colors, by numbers, put them in order from 0 to 10, or say what a 2 and a 3 next to each other make, a 23.
- Simple patterns like red 1, yellow 2, red 2, ___.
- Medium age kids can add, subtract, multiply, divide.
- Krypto is where each player is given five number cards and one number card is in the middle. Each player must add, subtract, multiply, and/or divide all five of their cards to get it to equal the number in the middle.
- Go Fish
- See who can throw their card the furthest
- Build card houses
- Flip Ten is like Memory with math skills
Flip Ten: Kids line up cards in four rows of five. Then, they flip two cards over. If the sum of the two cards equals 10, they keep the cards and replace the cards with two more from the deck. The game ends when there are no more matches left. A match includes 6 and 4, 7 and 3, 8 and 2, 5 and 5. Whoever has the most cards wins the game! Note: You can change the game and have kids flip ______. Give them a different sum each time they play. For example Flip 5, kids look for 0 and 5, 1 and 4, 2 and 3.