Parents these days are under a lot of pressure to buy the latest toys and gadgets for their children. However, the reality is that this is expensive; often your children only ever play with them once! Finding ways to provide free games for kids is a great alternative, particularly seeing as young children are just as happy playing with paper towel tubes!
Engaging with everyday household materials can channel your child’s creativity as they entertain themselves. This will help your child practice skills like being more resourceful to solve problems with only the materials they have around them.
Take advantage of your little one’s inexpensive tastes with our five free games for kids:
- Reuse Old Egg Boxes
Some materials for homemade games can come from your recycling bin. Think about all the games you could play using an egg box. You can mark each section with a colour, number or letter, and then give your child squares of coloured card or papers with lower-case letters to match the capital letters inside the egg carton sections. How about taking a handful of dried beans or buttons and placing the appropriate amount inside each egg cup to match the number written inside? Challenge your child to a counting game for fun and learning at the same time!
- Save Cereal Boxes
Keep your empty cereal boxes. Invite your child to pick their favourite picture from the boxes and make a jigsaw puzzle. Cut the appropriate number of pieces for your child’s age. You can make a bunch of puzzles and keep each one separately in sandwich bags. Or you can create your own matching game. Stimulate your child’s memory by taking two cereal boxes with the same picture and cutting them into equally sized squares. Lay the pieces on a table and turn over two at a time trying to make a match.
- Decorate Shopping Bags
Paper bags in all sizes are perfect for making a town or village. Use different coloured pens to make each bag look like a house or building. Your children can create the town of their dreams complete with a bakery, school, bank, police station and more. After the artwork is done, stuff a second bag (same size) with crumpled newspaper and slip the decorated bag on top. This town can be set up on the floor or on a tabletop, adding a few toy cars and dolls to make the city come alive. Challenge your children to see who can make the biggest city!
- Bowling With Water Bottles
Reuse empty water or fizzy drink bottles for a game of bowling. Fill each bottle with four centimetres of sand or water, and screw the top closed. Set up the bottles in a triangular bowling configuration (with six to eight bottles) and let the children experiment with different balls (a tennis ball, football or cricket ball etc) to see which ones knock over the most bottles. Keep a tally of how many pins each player knocks down on each turn. This game gets your children using physical energy as well as hand-eye coordination.
- Sculpt With Tin Foil
Older children may enjoy sculpting people from tin foil. All it takes is a pinch here and a pinch there to make them strike a pose. From a 30cm long piece from the roll, make two cuts down from the top of the sheet and one cut from the bottom. Scrunch together the centre of the sheet to form a torso. Then pinch and mould the upper corners into arms and the lower corners for legs and feet. Then shape the upper midsection into a head and neck. Creative play helps children develop their imagination. To turn it into a competition, bring out a timer and see who can make a tin man the quickest.
Children should be encouraged to use their independence and exploration as a learning tool when playing games. These are only a few of the many free games for kids you can make from odds and ends around the house.