This pandemic has us all cooped up. It isn’t time for summer camp yet (darn it), but the best way to make sure all this social distancing saves our summer is to stay at home!
I know, I know, it’s no fun being stuck in the house. Everyone’s getting stir crazy. Camp families will be itching to get outside and do something fun once this is all over. In the meantime, here are some creative games for youth that you can share—for starters, with every cooped up camp family you know!
8 Creative Games for Youth Stuck in the House
1. Sock War!
First, everyone needs to be wearing socks on their hands and feet. Make two teams. Each one builds a fort from blankets, cushions, pillows, and furniture. Clear away anything breakable or delicate.
Now, have everyone meet in-between the two forts and crawl around trying to pull off the other team’s socks! Once all socks are off, take your loot back to the fort, roll them into sock balls, and go crazy. You’re out if a sock ball hits you—and you’ve gotta act out a dramatic death. Last team standing wins!
A great camp game! Kind of like a scavenger hunt mixed with freeze tag—and all you need is a flashlight. Disassemble the flashlight and place the pieces around the house. Name someone the “grog,” and everyone else has to assemble the flashlight before they get tagged! More rules here.
3. Rube Goldberg Machine
Talk about creative games for youth! There are kits for these, but you can create an elaborate Rube Goldberg machine with simple objects and craft supplies already lying around the house. Marbles, cardboard tubes, string, dominoes, sports balls, funnels, magnets...anything. The idea is to accomplish a basic task through a machine that’s as complicated as possible, with as many steps as you can manage. Each element of the device triggers the next one until the final step does the job!
4. Jenga + Monopoly
We borrowed this one from Inspiration Laboratories’ 5 Ways to Play Jenga. All you’ll need is a Jenga set and Monopoly money. For every block pulled out, the player earns a buck! These can be consolidated over time into $5s and $10s.
Personally, we like the idea of also spending the money! Make deals to buy the turn of another player, or sell yours to the highest bidder. As the tower gets tall, no one wants to take a turn and topple it!
The winner is the player with the most Monopoly money who didn’t topple the tower.
5. Jenga as the “Tower of Dread”
If you’ve got geekily-inclined teenagers in the house, Jenga also makes a really fun way to play a super simple, sure-to-be-thrilling, D&D-like tabletop roleplaying game. No stats, no dice—just the Tower of Dread. Watch this video example of a real session, then download a .PDF of the instructions for Dread (or just learn it from the video for free!).
6. Paper Airplane Runways
Designing paper airplanes is fun, but it’s better as a game. Create a landing strip from paper or just pick an element in the house to act as the landing strip. Design the perfect airplane to land on the strip! Get creative with it, and adjust the size of the landing zone for the age of the kids.
7. Frozen Shirt Race
If social distancing extends into the warm weather, you could be stuck in the house, wishing you could cool off at the beach or pool party. Instead, have each player soak a t-shirt in water and freeze them overnight. Now take them out and go out in the yard, where it’s warm. Whoever gets the shirt on the fastest wins!
Of all these creative games for youth, you may want to save this for last! If you’ve stockpiled so much TP that you’ve still got some left after stay-at-home is over, have some fun with it. Pair up into teams of mummies and monks. Give a few rolls of toilet paper to each monk. The first team to completely wrap their mummy in TP wins!
Don’t forget to take pictures to commemorate the end of this cooped up experience!