8 Quiet Games Kids Will Love And You Can Use Anytime, Anywhere
by Brandon Hunt
You know…there are times when I dread going out in public with our two boys.
I never know what will trigger one of them (both under four) into a full blown tantrum. I often feel like I’m doing a speed run through the grocery store in a vain attempt to avoid conflict over a toy or piece of candy.
Uhhh….the grocery store….or sitting through church services…or waiting at an appointment. It’s a struggle trying to keep young kids quiet, yet entertained.
Perhaps you can relate…
I started wondering what else I can do to entertain my kids, but will also encourage them to develop some impulse control, especially over noise.
As I was pondering over past public outbursts (my boys, not me, though I sometimes feel like exploding), I realized I needed to find games, or something, that I can do on the spot, with minimal items. So, I started searching for ideas. Why try to make up games when others have already done so, right?
One of my search terms, “quiet games,” yielded plenty of game time fruit — in a manner of speaking. I thought, yeah, quiet games might be what I’m looking for. We could all use more tools in our arsenal of entertainment. And quiet games work in many situations: the store, at home, church, emergencies…
Whether you need a little quiet time at home, or when you’re out and about, or even the aftermath of a disaster, knowing a few quiet games may prove quite handy. Plus they have the added benefit of exercising children’s brains and containing some of that energy.
Without further ado, let’s go through the list of games.
Items needed: Ball, rolled up socks, stuffed animal, or other soft item.
How to play: The game is played in complete silence. The kids stand in a circle. One player throws the “ball” to another within the circle. If it’s a bad throw, the thrower sits down. In contrast, if the throw is good and the other person fails to catch it, the catcher sits down. Then the person who catches the “ball” throws it to someone else.
Also, anyone who talks has to sit down. Keep playing this way until only one person remains standing. It's a great game that is played in total silence.
Cotton Ball Puff Race
Items needed: Straws and cotton balls.
How to play: Create a race course using masking or painter’s tape. Make the course as simple as a starting and ending line, or as complex as weaves or curves. The players blow through straws to move their cotton balls to the finish line. Nothing more to it, but they’ll have fun.
M&M Color Game
Items needed: A large clear container, and several packs of M&M’s or other colored candy. Pencils and paper.
How to play: Pour the candy into the container. Use the paper to create a score chart. Decide how much each color of candy is worth, point wise. For example: green=10, brown =20, blue=30 etc. The first team to reach 100 points (or however many points you choose) wins. If you want to make up additional rules, such as creating tasks to perform before choosing a candy, this game is quite adaptable for that. Plus, it encourages kids to play quietly, partly I think, because they have candy in their mouths.
Items needed: Oreo cookies ( or any kind of cookie you choose)
How to play: The kids sit in a circle with their heads tilted back, so they’re looking up at the ceiling, arms behind their backs. Place a cookie on each child’s forehead. They then have to get the cookie into their mouths without using their hands.
Capture the Squares
Items needed: A pen or pencil and a notebook or piece of paper.
How to play: This is probably best for kids 6 and up. Draw rows of dots on a piece of paper (25-50 will work). Each person takes a turn drawing a line from dot to dot. Whoever draws the final line, completing a square, writes their initial in the box. Keep playing until all of the squares have been formed. Whoever has the most initials in boxes is the winner.
Guess What Object is Missing
Items needed: Various objects (preferably non-breakable)
How to play: Set out the objects. Let your kids look and memorize them for about 20 seconds. Have them turn around and close their eyes while you remove one or two items. Once they turn back around they have to figure out which objects are missing.
For toddlers or preschool age children, keep the objects to 10 at most.
Items needed: None
How to play: Whisper to the kids what statue you would like them to become, such as: tiger, bear, fireman, daddy, cat. On the count of three, the kids have to freeze into the statue that you told them. You pick the best statue, whereupon that kid whispers to the others what statues they will be in the next round. Continue to play for however long you (can take it) decide. Remind them that statues don’t talk or move.
I’m Thinking Of…
Items needed: none.
How to play: A guessing game your kids will enjoy. It’s not unlike other word games where you have to describe something, without saying what it is. Basically you will describe something you’re thinking of – animal, clothing, an object – without giving away what it is, while your kids try to guess what you’re thinking of.
This might be a good one for car rides, with your kids strapped in and nowhere to go.
There are plenty more quiet games out there to discover…or even make up on your own.
When it comes to encouraging kids to have a little quiet time, parents are quite inventive (or desperation that spawns creativity) at finding ways to entertain children. Not everything works, but some things do.
As mentioned in other posts, games are a great way for keeping kids busy during an emergency situation. And in some circumstances, playing quiet games might be what’s called for.
But, try these games out any time and let us know if there are any favorites, or if this is helpful to your preparation efforts.