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Fun twists on classic playtime activities

Those classic playtime activities from your childhood are still golden. Break them out with your family to liven up a day at home. Keep things fresh by adding these fun twists to your favorite standbys.

Mom playing tag with preschooler

1Hide and seek

We all know how to play Hide and Seek. One person is “It,” and while that person closes their eyes and counts, everyone else hides. “It” then has to find all the hiding players. Switch things up a by having “It” choose a hiding spot while everyone else closes their eyes and counts to 30. At 30, the players open their eyes and each begin a search for “It.” When you find the hiding player, you don’t call him out. Instead, you join him in his hiding spot. By the time the game is over you’ll have several players crammed into one tiny hiding spot. The last person to discover the rest of the players is “It” for the next round. This version of Hide and Seek is best played with a crowd, since the more players you have, the more they’ll have to squeeze into each spot.

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This is a great game for kids of any age. Design your own game of memory by using your own family photos. Simply print out two copies of each photo you select and glue the backs each photo to identical pieces of construction paper. Turn them blank side up, and see who can match the most photos. Let your kids help you choose the photos, and let older children do the cutting and gluing. For older children, use at least 15-20 different photos. For younger kids, keep your photo selection low – between four and six photos.

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3Scavenger hunt

Scavenger hunts are great because they can be played anywhere, with any sized group and often on a whim. Simply come up with a list of items and have each player or team find those items. Make things a little trickier by having kids play without a list to help. Ask one child to make a list of 10 small and moveable items from around the room, but make sure they keep the list to themselves. Set a timer for one minute and let the rest of the kids scatter around the room searching for items they think may be on the list, bringing them back to the designated player at the end of the round. Each found item from the list gains the player one point. The player with the most points when all the items have been found wins.

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Tag is easy. One person is “It,” and everyone else runs from that player. If you’re tagged, you become “It.” This fun twist keeps the element of chase that kids love, but lets everyone be “It” at the same time. Start by giving each player a flag. This can be a swatch of fabric or a small hand towel if you need to improvise. Each player should tuck the flag into their pocket or waistband, so that at least half of it is hanging out. At the start of the round, everyone takes off, running away from the rest of the players. If you can get close enough to someone else, grab their flag. Once your flag is taken, you’re eliminated from the round. The person with the most flags is the winner.

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