19 Family Games for When You're Stuck in the House
Keep the kids—and yourself—entertained with these accessible activities.
Schools across the country are closed—in some places, already through the end of the school year—thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, meaning that most families are spending more time than usual together. While keeping up with school work and reading are important, so is relaxation and family bonding. Going out to the movies or the mall isn't an option right now, but you can easily replace those outings with family games you can easily play while you're stuck in the house.
Turn to this list when you've run through your list of tried-and-true activities. These games will get the whole family laughing and working together, and they're suitable for most ages. The best part? Almost all of these games are completely free to play, and you’ll need only minimal supplies, if any. So let’s get started! And for more fun activities to keep you busy, check out 13 New Hobbies to Master During Quarantine.
Would You Rather?
Borrow this classic car game for household use if you have elementary school-aged kids. It’s a favorite with this age group, and they’ll love coming up with their own questions (or you can search for some online). Be prepared for a hilarious (and possibly gross!) good time—trust us, your kids will find a way to bring "boogers" into it.
Plan a scavenger hunt for your kids to complete in your house and/or your yard. Although this game takes a bit of advance planning, the great thing is you can adapt it to just about any age, from toddlers to teens. Toddlers benefit from picture-based hunts with familiar objects like balloons or teddy bears, while teens will enjoy a challenging scavenger hunt that comes with riddle-like clues. And coming up with the game ought to keep you entertained as well.
This classic and prop-free game is a perfect way to pass the time when everyone’s bored and cranky. All you need to play are your imaginations. Take turns coming up with topics and acting them out. Clues can be as simple or complex as you like, depending on the ages playing.
Minute to Win It
With a little bit of ingenuity and some common household items, you can come up with tons of Minute to Win It-inspired activities for the whole family. The object is to complete a certain task in less than a minute, and the ticking clock definitely ups the excitement. Check out this ultimate guide of Minute to Win It games for some ideas.
Remember beer pong? You can actually play it with your kids (sans alcohol, of course) if you happen to have some Solo cups (or something similar) and some ping pong balls laying around. Set the cups up however you’d like and split the family into teams. Give each person a shot at getting the ping pong balls into the cups. Change it up by challenging everyone to bounce the ball once first or dream up your own variations of this fun family game.
There’s something about Hot Potato that converts even the most reluctant game player. It’s hard not to get totally into it once that music starts playing! Create a fun playlist that appeals to your whole family or use one of the hot potato songs on YouTube that stop and start at different intervals. Anything relatively soft that can be passed easily can serve as your potato.
Hallway Laser Maze
If you have a roll of painter’s tape in the garage, there are tons of fun things you can do with it to keep the kids entertained. One of our favorite uses? Making a hallway laser maze. Run the tape from one wall to the other at various heights and locations to create your very own laser maze. Then, have each member of the family try to make their way through the maze without tearing it down.
Laundry Basket Skee-Ball
Using laundry baskets and a makeshift ramp, you can recreate this super fun skee-ball game from Frugal Fun for Boys. Looks like a blast!
This fast-paced card game is a favorite among kids and adults alike. Place spoons in the middle of the table; one fewer than the number of people playing. Deal four cards to each player. The object is to get four of a kind. To do so, the first person draws a card, then passes one of their cards to the person on their left. Play continues around the circle until someone gets four of a kind. That person then picks up a spoon, and it’s a race for everyone else to pick one up as well. The person stuck without a spoon gets an “S.” Get to S-P-O-O-N, and you're out!
Everyone’s already familiar with this classic game, most often played in the car or used as an icebreaker. Repurpose it for the family, maybe as everyone’s finishing dinner one night. It’s super fun and easy to play, requiring nothing but a bit of brain power.
Movie Quotes Game
You can buy lots of games that have players guess quotes from different movies. But why spend your money when you can make your own? With just a bit of advance planning (and some help from the internet), you can create your own "Guess the Movie" game by writing down a bunch of popular movie quotes on notecards, one quote per card. For a fun twist, keep all your quotes within a certain theme, such as Disney movies or comedies.
Here’s another game you can easily make on your own. Split the family into teams to see who can figure out what their teammate is trying to draw. Don’t have a white board or a chalkboard? A chalk marker on a french door (where each team gets one side) totally works too.
Draw up your own BINGO cards, or use this awesome site to have BINGO night, quarantine-style. You can even come up with prizes, like a night off from chores or the opportunity to choose the next movie you all watch together.
If you've never played bunco, now’s the perfect time to try it! All you’ll need are some dice to play this fun game. It’s so addictive, chances are you’ll want to continue your family bunco night even after social distancing is a distant memory. This easy rules breakdown explains how to score.
If your kids are a bit older, this is a great time to teach them how to play Gin Rummy. It’s a bit more involved than Go Fish or War, but once they’ve got it down, this fun card game can provide hours of enjoyment. Refresh your memory on the rules here.
Roll a Face Printable
Conversely, this adorable printable game is fun for the younger set. A roll of the dice determines which unique combination of facial features your character will have. Of course, it’s never the same result twice!
Sure, you could go online and buy a game of Yahtzee, but did you know it’s super easy to make your own? All you need are five die and this printable Yahtzee score card.
Got lots of LEGO laying around? Gather them up and invite your family to participate in a LEGO competition. There are tons of different ways to do this, but our favorite is to write several building challenges (like "build a car" or "build a fire station") on a set of notecards, then draw a card and complete the challenge using only LEGO and your imagination. Rotate who gets to judge the creations to keep everything fair.
Don’t Eat Pete
Here’s a game for little people and big people alike that can be adapted to just about any holiday. It’s called Don’t Eat Pete, and all it requires is a printable game card. To play, one person leaves the room while everyone else looks at the characters on the card and decides which one will be designated “Pete.” Then, they place chocolate candies on each character. The person returns and begins eating the candies one at a time. When they go to eat the piece on Pete, everyone shouts, “Don’t eat Pete!” Yep, that’s it! For this time of year, we love this seasonal take on the game from Simple Everyday Mom, called Don’t Eat Peter Rabbit.