Whether the weather is not cooperating today or you’re staying safe inside due to the Covid-19 global health crisis, there are many ways you can get everyone in the family rolling in laughter and away from the electronics for a few minutes (or hours!).
Below, we’ve compiled a list of some of our favorite, easy, exercise worthy activities for kids and adults alike who are looking to integrate a bit more fun and movement into any day, especially an at-home day!
While some of these can be done outside, weather permitting, you can also do them right in your living room -- no expensive equipment, toys, or gadgets required! And the best part? These boredom-busters are so much fun, they won’t even feel like exercise!
10 Boredom-Busting At-Home Fun Games = Exercises for the Family
- Scavenger or Treasure Hunt
A scavenger or treasure hunt generally consists of a prepared list of specific items the players need to find. Create a scavenger hunt by creating a list or writing up clues where certain items are hiding around your home or yard. Give each member of your family the list and a bag for collecting the items. Your family can race to find each item, and whoever finds all of the items first wins a small prize! You can also put a spin on this by choosing a theme. For example, the scavenger hunt and clues could revolve around items that are red, items that start with the letter M, or items related to Disney characters or movies.
- Red Light, Green Light
To play Red Light, Green light, choose someone to be the “traffic light guard” who stands at a finish line set away from the players -- who line up at a starting line. When the guard shouts “green light,” the players can move toward him at the finish line, and when he says “red light,” the players must stop and freeze in place. Best to set rules with no running allowed.
If a player moves or steps forward during “red light,” that person must go back to the starting line. Be creative! With older kids or adults, have them facing backwards to the guard. Or, incorporate other color signals or signs that mean players can only move toward the guard hopping on one foot, walking heel-to-toe, doing crab walks, frog jumps, bear crawls, lunges, broad jumps, somersaults, and more!
- Simon Says
Simon Says is a classic game that consists of following directions that can be played anywhere. Choose someone to play Simon, and listen closely as Simon gives directions. If Simon tells you to do something, he/she must also say the words “Simon says…”. Players must act fast and correctly. Simon must also perform the action required. If Simon chooses not to say the words “Simon says…” and he performs the action and the players do too, the players who performed the action are out, since he did not say the words “Simon says…”
The exercise possibilities here are endless: jumping jacks, standing on one foot, touching your toes, raising your arms, walking like a crab, doing a somersault or cartwheel, hopping like a bunny, making circles with your arms, and dancing are all fantastic --and fun! -- ways to get the body moving!
- Musical Chairs
Musical Chairs is sure to get everyone moving and laughing! Begin by choosing a DJ who plays the music as the players walk around the perimeter of a circle of chairs (but make sure you have one less chair than the number of people playing). When the music stops, everyone has to scramble for a chair, and the one person left standing without a chair is out. Remove a chair, and continue until one person is left! Make the game even more interesting by having players hop, skip, jump, bear crawl, or walk backwards around the circle.
- Freeze Dance
Get the blood pumping by sneaking in this lookalike cardio workout! Begin by choosing a DJ who will be in charge of the music. Turn on some tunes and have everyone in the family show off their best dance moves. When the music stops, freeze in your spot and hold your position until the music starts again. If you move or stumble, you’re out! The last person standing gets to be the next DJ.
- Follow the Leader
A classic game for both kids and adults, Follow the Leader is as exciting and active as you make it! Choose someone in the family to be the “leader,” and have everyone follow behind him in a straight line, mimicking his actions. If you’re looking to get out of the house, you can play Follow the Leader anywhere, including the parking lot, your backyard, down the sidewalk -- wherever the Leader desires! Add to the workout with energetic movements such as squatting, stomping, jumping, kicking, sprinting, climbing, and rolling.
- Silent Charades
If you’re tired of the fighting, screaming, and yelling, Silent Charades is the perfect (quiet!) family-friendly activity! Make sure you have one piece of paper for each person participating. Write down one word or phrase on two pieces of paper to create pairs until everyone is accounted for. Mix the papers up into a hat. Everyone draws a paper and begins to act out their word or phrase. To win, you must find a partner doing a similar act and sit down. Once everyone is sitting, go around and see if you have a matching pair of words! If you do, you win!
- Floor is Lava
The Floor is Lava, or Hot Lava, is a game in which players pretend that the floor is made of lava or any other lethal substance such as quicksand. Since the floor is dangerous and deadly, players must avoid touching it at all costs to stay alive. Kids and adults can stand on furniture, books, chairs, pillows -- anything in the room -- so long as they don’t touch the floor. If you are worried for safety, place special squares, fabric sections or pillows on the floor that are safe. Make it more interesting and challenging by creating a race or an obstacle course around the space! This game is great because there’s only one rule -- to stay off of the ground -- and anyone can start the game just by shouting “The floor is lava!”
- Capture the Flag
Capture the Flag is sure to keep the family active and busy for a long time! Divide the players into two teams, and give each team a designated home-base area and a flag (a CD, a stuffed animal, a t-shirt) that the other team knows and has to find. If anyone catches someone on the opposite team on their own home-base, the trespasser is captured until someone from his own team touches him. The goal of the game is to capture the other team’s “flag” and return it safely -- without getting caught! -- to your home-base. This game is better played outdoors with closed spaces to hide, mainly since a big part of the game involves ducking, rolling, crawling, and hiding around corners.
- Air Balloon
There are a variety of ways to setup and play this Air Balloon game. The object overall is to keep the balloon in the air. For younger players, hit the balloon up in the air but don’t let it touch the ground. For older kids or adults, set the rules to bounce only off your head, tie one hand back, balance the balloon on the top of your hand while you move, or have more than one balloon in play. There are tons of variations possible whether one or more players, one or more balloons, and to just keep it up and off the floor.
With the advent of screens and technology, it’s become a huge task to get kids (and adults!) off of their digital gadgets, let alone get them to go outside and be active voluntarily. And with so many attention-grabbing, screen-based activities and games, we can’t really blame them! Rather than banning digital devices for good, we can try to make physical activity more exciting than it’s ever been before. By keeping the focus on fun, exercising won’t seem like such a chore. In fact, there’s a good possibility that these ideas will inspire your family to come up with even more entertaining ways to stay active (and off the screens)!