Keeping the grandkids happy and occupied can sometimes tax even the most creative mind. Here are a number of activities you might like to think about. They're easy to do and cheap to fund and should keep them happy for hours.
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Simple DIY games can be very satisfying for kids and can often be played on the spur of the moment, or on the go, much more easily than board games. Pong Hau K’i is a simple board game from China. It is also a traditional game in Korea, where it is known as Ou-moul-ko-no.
The rules are so simple that children of almost any age can learn to play. While Pong Hau K’i is not a three in a row variation game like Tapatan, if your child understands how to play Tic Tac Toe, he or she can play Pong Hau K’i. You can easily make your own game board yourself and play it anywhere at home, or even on the go. whatwedoallday.com has a video of how to set up and play the game that is worth watching. You can access it here.
What you need:
Each game board consists of 5 vertices and 7 edges (see right) and each player needs two markers. Any small items such as buttons, or coins will work.
Players place their markers as shown: player one takes the upper corners, player two takes the lower corners.
The first player moves one of his pieces into the center. Then players take turns moving counters until one player has blocked the other from moving.
That’s it! It’s so simple, but often the game can go on for quite some time.
Optional: If the same three moves are repeated three times, a tie is called.
BALLOON PING PONG
Nine holes is a 3 in a row game for kids. It had been widely played in England since the middle ages. It is traditionally played with holes (hence the name) and pegs, but you can fashion an easy DIY paper and token version of this simple abstract strategy game.
Nine holes is a precursor to the popular Nine Men’s Morris, but is much simpler and thus very easy for young children to learn. Even preschoolers can play, although their strategy skills may still need some encouragement and refinement.
Nine holes is a great alternative to tic tac toe when you are on the go with the kids. Pull out a pen, paper and six coins and you have an instant boredom buster and brain builder. Plus, surprise, surprise, playing games like this can help kids build a strong foundation for learning future skills like coding and mathematics.
HOW TO PLAY NINE HOLES
To be the first player to make a row with 3 tokens. Diagonal rows are not allowed.
Players alternate placing their tokens on the game board. Once all tokens have been placed on a “hole”, players take turns moving tokens, one at a time, along the lines (from “hole” to “hole”) in an attempt to get three in a row.
Watch the fabulous video from Whatwedoallday to see it in action: www.whatdowedoallday.com/nine-holes-game/
This game is ideal for larger groups and a sleepover favourite. Divide the kids up into groups. Give each group a bag filled with props, such as a spoon, toy jewellery, a sock, ball or ribbon. Then give them 15 minutes to construct a skit around the props. This game is so much fun that it doesn’t have to be competitive. If the kids want, though, they can all vote on a winning skit.
TOUCH AND FEEL BOX
Most preschoolers flock to the classroom sensory table as soon as the teachers pull it out. So there is little doubt they will love this entertaining challenge. Find a shoe box or any box that has a lid on it. Cut a hole in one of the sides of the box —large enough for your child to fit his or her hand in. If you want, get creative and decorate the box with glitter and question marks. When you’re ready to play, put an item inside the box and have your children guess what it is. They can ask questions about the item if they need to, or you can offer clues. Get as ooey-gooey as you wish (fresh pumpkin seeds or slimy spaghetti are great choices for Halloween), or use such simple objects as a brush, a toy, a piece of fruit. To make it competitive, you can give a point to the first child to name the object.
THE LISTENING GAME
This game is sure to both educate and delight little ones. Take out several miscellaneous items. Have the children look at all the items, and then take them away. Next, ask one child to hide his or her eyes and listen as you pick up an item and make sounds with it. Ask the child to guess which item made the sound. Examples of items might be a comb (run your fingers along it), a glass (gently tap it), cymbals, shakers, sandpaper, blocks rubbed together, a pot and spoon. Be creative and have fun!