Four of the best indoor games for kids as coronavirus lockdown continues – The Sun


KEEPING the kids entertained is going to be a priority for families across the country now we’re forced to stay indoors.

The Floor Is Lava, by Ivan Brett, includes 100 games for everyone to play at home.

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The floor is lava

Players: Two.

Difficulty:  Easy.

Time: Endless.

What you will need: Permission from Mum and Dad (or whoever owns the house) that it is OK to climb on the furniture.

HOW TO PLAY –  This is a ­ongoing game, which works best when sprung upon people in the room/area at random times.

Simply, one person yells: “The floor is lava!” and then starts counting down from five.

Every other person must be completely off the ground by the time the countdown reaches zero.

What, or who, they climb on is up to them, but if any part of them remains on the ground then they’ll be burnt to a crisp.

LEVEL-UP – The game can continue if you challenge other players to get to a certain place without touching the ground.

Watch as each player creatively devises a plan for crossing the dangerous lava without stepping down and ­burning their toes.

Control the robot

Players: Two.

Difficulty: Easy.

Time: 30 minutes

What you’ll need: Nothing.

How to play:  One player is the robot, the other is its creator.

The robot must follow every instruction it is given.

The creator should decide on a simple task that he wants the robot to complete.

It could be ­making a sandwich, brushing their teeth, feeding the cat or any other number of random chores.

The creator then begins giving simple, clear instructions.

“It is the robot’s job to take the instructions completely literally.

If told to “walk forward”, the robot should walk until they hit a wall and carry on walking.

If told to “turn left”, the robot should continually turn left in a  circle until told to stop.

If told to do ­anything complicated (e.g. “Go upstairs”) the robot should turn to the creator and announce in a robotic voice, ‘Bleep, bloop, does not compute.’

They will need much clearer and simpler instructions than that: Perhaps something like, “Lift your left leg and place your left foot on the stair in front of you,” etc. After the task is completed, swap roles and try a new task.

Tips –  If you’re the robot and feel like you aren’t getting precise enough instructions, don’t break character to complain about it.

Instead, say something like, “Bleep bloop, further data required,” or, “Query: direction of walking unclear. Awaiting input.”

Then another player will get the idea soon enough.

Similarly, if you are the creator and the robot doesn’t seem to be following instructions, or is getting things wrong on purpose, make a big performance of tutting, complaining about malfunctions, then turning the robot off and on again.

If that doesn’t work, unplug them at the wall and phone the manufacturer.

If the robot feels uncomfortable at any point, stop the game and talk about it.

At no point should the robot feel forced to do anything too far outside its comfort zone.

Likewise, the creator should never direct the robot to situations that might be dangerous, and the robot should not agree to go towards anything risky. Use your (human) brain!

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Crambo

Players:  Two or more.

Difficulty:   Medium.

Time:   10-20 minutes.

What you’ll need: Nothing.

How to play:   One player, the rhymer, picks a word. Start with shorter words (one syllable) but you can move on to something more complicated once you are all used to the game.

Let’s say the rhymer has chosen the word “bed”. They will think of a word that rhymes with “bed” and begin the game like this: “I know a word that rhymes with bread.”

Now the guessers know that they’re searching for a word that rhymes with “bread”. But they can’t just guess. They have to only hint at the word they’re guessing.

For example, one guesser thinks of “red”. So, they ask, “Is it a colour?” to which the rhymer would respond, “No, it’s not red.”

Another guesser might ask, “Is it on top of my neck?”

To which the rhymer would respond, ‘No, not in my head.’

The game continues until a guesser gives a clue that leads to the correct word. The rhymer will respond: “Yes, it is bed!”

I’ve just given an example, but here’s another.

Rhymer: “I know a word that rhymes with plate.”

Guesser 1: “Is it a garden door?”

Rhymer: “No, not a gate.”

Guesser 2: “Is it disliking?”

Rhymer: “No, it’s not hate.”

Guesser 3: “Is it a summer party?”

Rhymer: “No, not a fete.”

Guesser 1: “Is it just brilliant?”

Rhymer: “No, it’s not great.”

Guesser 2: “Is it behind time?”

Rhymer: “Yes! It is late!”

Tips – This game is excellent because everybody is doing something. Normally, the person who isn’t doing the guessing is just saying “yes” or “no”.

In this game, they have to think of the rhyming word each time.

For a group where everybody needs to feel involved all of the time, this works really well.

If the rhymer can’t work out the word that you’re guessing, keep giving clues, or give the first letter.

Never just tell them the word you’re guessing.

Level  Up: The “question, rhyming answer, question, rhyming answer” format is pretty simple, but why not make the whole thing have a rhythm too?

If you’re really into the “rap” ­element, you could beat along with a wooden spoon on the back of a saucepan.

If you have a particularly great round, why not write it down?

These “Crambo” poems are fun, silly and make the reader guess along with the game.

Lego challenge

Players: Two

Difficulty:  Hard

Time: At least one hour

What you’ll need: A small set of building blocks with instructions.

Lego is one of many types you can choose.

How to play:  One player, the instructor, holds the instructions, but may not touch or point to the blocks.

Meanwhile, the other player, the builder, may touch and build with the blocks, but not look at the instructions.

Together, they must build the model. The instructor will have to work out how to specify exactly which block to find from the set, and then how to add it to the model.

It’s really difficult, but any sort of pointing or demonstrating is banned. Use colour, shape, size, location, and then prepositions such as “under”, “above” and “beside” to be really specific about where each piece goes.

The builder will have to listen carefully, and prepare to be wrong many, many times!

Both players will need to be patient.

It’s worth trying this game at least twice, so you can play both roles. There are challenges for each. One important bit of admin between instructor and builder will be what to call each type of brick.

You could go mathematical (“two rows of five blobs, thin yellow rectangle”), freestyle (“a kinda squat, flat banana piece”) or relational (“same as you used for the propeller, but yellow”).

Develop your own style and stick with it. Develop a shared language. Whatever you do, don’t operate your builder like a fairground crane game. (“Left arm towards you, down a bit, up a bit, grab that piece. No, the other one.”) This is not the way to play.

If you’re the instructor, you’re going to be really tempted to intervene,  but don’t.

Sit on your hands and think about how you can be more specific. If the builder isn’t getting it, it’s more likely that you’re not being clear enough than that they aren’t listening properly.

Level up: If there are three of you, how about having one person as an instructor, one seeker who finds the pieces and one as the builder. Make sure to rotate the roles nice and often.


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