a photo of a father and a child lying down and reading a book

Keep your children happy and healthy during the summer holidays with fun and educational games

As the summer days continue to heat up and the holidays get underway, it’s important to keep your children out of the sun and entertained. The games listed below are a great way for you and your children to bond and have fun indoors, as well as being a healthy alternative to the television or computer. Best of all, these games don’t require much preparation or equipment, so why not try them today!

The listening game
Concentrating on listening focuses the mind on a particular sense, encouraging children to pay attention to sounds and then identify these with objects – this concept is key to building communication skills and literacy. First, lay out a number of household items that you can make noise with, letting your child have a good look at them. Next, tell your child close their eyes and listen while you make noises with the objects. Your child then has to guess which object you are holding by listening to the sounds. Try running your fingers across a comb, gently tapping a glass, or clinking cutlery together.

Dance parties & ‘freeze’ game
Dancing games are great for both individual children and groups, and also provide important physical activity. Tell your children to dress in party clothes, put on some of their favourite music, and get them dancing. Help them invent simple dance routines involving clapping, jumping, spinning, etc. (or get them to teach each other).

You can also try the ‘freeze’ game. Play a popular song and get the children dancing to it. Every so often, pause the song, and the children have to freeze in whatever position they are in. To really get your children giggling, you can ask them to freeze into different shapes or animal poses.

Picnic memory game
This is a fun and simple verbal memory game, which will challenge your child while making them giggle! Sit in a circle and ask the first player to start by saying, “In my picnic basket, I packed…,” and then telling the group what he or she packed: ‘an apple’ for example. The next player then says, “In my picnic basket, I packed…,” and then recites what the first player packed and adds his or her own item to the basket, and so forth around the circle. Set a challenge to see who can remember the most number of picnic items!

Treasure hunt
Let’s play detective – this fun game will test your child and help them solve clues. Children love finding hidden objects — especially when there’s a prize at the end. Simply write clues on small pieces of paper — get creative and make the clues as easy or challenging as your child needs. Place the first clue somewhere easy to find, like inside your child’s cereal bowl or on their favourite toy. Then leave as many clues as you like around the house, making a trail to the final prize – perhaps a healthy treat.

If you have older children, help them develop their creative skills by suggesting they create a treasure hunt for you!

Reading together
Reading is a great way to keep your child’s mind active, particularly during the school holidays. Find a quiet and comfy place to sit together and pick a book that you think they will enjoy. Young children enjoy looking at bright and colourful pictures. Pointing to these while reading will help keep them engaged with the story. Encourage your child to join in – books and poems which include rhyme and repetition are great for helping children remember the words.

You can also try interactive storytelling, where you and your child make up your own story. Start by setting a scene and introducing a character, perhaps using your child’s name, and then take it in turns to add the next sentence to the story and see where your creative journey takes you!

More information on the above and many more indoor games can be found here.