25 Safe and Fun Games for Kids at Home and at School
Set down your screens, kids! It’s time for some games!
December 26, 2023
Set down your screens, kids! It’s time for some games!
Kids love playing games, and games are good for them. They help develop memory, strategy, and social skills. If you find your kids are playing the same games over and over and want something new, here are 25 ideas for games that are safe and fun, plus tips on how to choose safe games.
Every parent has shouted this as their children dash toward the playground. For any parent, there is nothing more important than the safety of their children. Playtime should be a carefree time for kids, free of safety concerns, and parents should share in that peace of mind. Here are some factors to weigh when determining the safety of a game.
When playing outdoors: Choose weather-appropriate clothes and shoes, and stay inside if the weather is bad. Scan the play area for dangerous items, and teach your children to not touch anything that is out of place. Be attentive while at the playground.
Find more safety tips here: Playing Outside in the Yard: 8 Tips to Keep it Fun & Safe for Kids
Promote safe web browsing through ASTROSafe, an internet browser for schools, through which parents and teachers can monitor and restrict their children’s internet access. ASTROSafe makes it easy for students to safely explore the internet, so that teachers can be confident that their students are safe and focused online. Learn more about How We're Fixing the Internet for Kids.
There are thousands of game apps on phones and tablets. Thankfully there are ways to set parental controls and limit the time kids spend on certain apps. Check out these sites for more tips for kid-safe use of phones and tablets:
- Android: How to Set Up Child Safety on Android Phone
- Apple Devices: The 3 Best Ways to Lock Apps and Limit Screen Time on iPad and iPhone
- Math games: Encourage math and number skills with these fun math games for all ages and levels. The best way to learn math is to practice, practice, practice! When math is made fun with these online games, kids want to practice. Math Games
- Typing games: Typing is an invaluable skill. These games will help your kids become lightning-fast with the keyboard! Older kids will have fun testing their typing speed. Typing Games
- Science games: Games are a great way for kids to learn about science. Check out games for young kids here: PBS Kids Science Games. For older kids, this website has games covering topics like plant and animal biology, physics, and properties of chemicals: Science Kids NZ
- Primary School ICT Games: This site has educational games for kids aged 5 - 8 years old. Topics include phonics, reading, spelling, and writing. ICT Games
- Geography Games: There is no better way to teach your kids geography than having them play around with maps! These games are great at teaching different states, countries, rivers, landmarks, and more. Knowing geography helps kids and adults be more well-rounded and fosters curiosity about the world outside their borders. Geography Games and Quizzes
- Games by Grade: This website has dozens of online games organized by category, age, and grade level: Safe Kid Games
Some of the best toys are puzzles. These brain games will make your kids think and learn problem-solving skills, and they will occupy lots of free time! Spending some time solo? Not a problem. Your kid can play many of these puzzles on their own.
- Rubik's Cube: Once your kid masters the classic 3X3 cube, there are countless other shapes and variations to try. Rubix Products.
- Sudoku for Kids: The classic number puzzle game can be played at many different levels. This site has beginner tutorials and tips: Sudoku for Kids - Play Sudoku Online.
Or download printable puzzles. Find some here: TPT Sudoku for Kids.
- Peg Game: Anyone who has had lunch at Cracker Barrel knows this game. It kept me entertained for countless hours as a kid. The satisfaction of completing it is bar-none. Peg Game - Cracker Barrel.
- Checkers: This classic board game involves two players moving diagonal pieces on a checkerboard in order to capture their opponent’s pieces. Jumbo Checkers.
- Wood Brain Teaser Puzzles: These 3D wooden puzzles range from (seemingly) simple to mind-bendingly complex. Find a huge selection here: Wooden Brain Teasers - Puzzle Warehouse
- Code a Robot with Cubetto: Cubetto is a robot for kids 3-9 that teaches the principles of coding through screenless control. Primo Toys
- Duck, Duck, Goose: Have the players sit in a circle facing inward. One person is the “goose” who goes around tapping the head of everyone saying “duck, duck, duck” until they choose one to tap on the head and call the “goose!” The chosen player jumps up and runs around the circle chasing the goose! It’s the goose's goal to take the seat of the person they tapped before being caught. If they can sit down before being caught, they are now a duck and the new goose is crowned.
- Red Light / Green Light: Choose one player to be the leader. All the other players must line up to race. When the leader calls out “green light” the players run, until they hear “red light!” and must stop. If the player doesn’t stop at “red light” then they are out! See who can make it across the finish line without breaking the red light rules.
- Freeze: This is similar to red light / green light, but the players can dance or move in different ways rather than racing one another. Great for young kids who need to get out some energy!
- Play Parachute: Remember these from elementary school? You can find them at any big chain or toy store, or choose from these online: Amazon: Play Parachute
- Musical chairs: Arrange chairs in a circle. Use one fewer chair than there are players. Have the players walk around the chairs in a circle while music plays. When the music stops, the players must find a chair to sit in. Whoever doesn’t get in a chair is out! Remove one more chair each round until there is a winner. This game can be competitive, so it is important to make sure that players are cautious and kind to one another.
- The Measurement Game: Give kids a tape measurer and have them guess the length of different things, and then measure to see how close they are. Or give them a food scale and ask them to find items around the house with different weights. This will teach them valuable estimation skills.
Road Trip/Car games:
“Mom, are we there yet?” Car rides can get boring for kids. Playing games can really help to pass the time. Most of these road trip games require no preparation, no supplies, no screens, no problems!
- State License Plate Game: Who can be the first to spot out-of-state license plates?
- I Packed Alphabet Game: One person starts by saying “I’m going on vacation and I packed…” something that starts with A. The next person will repeat the beginning, say the A word, and add something that starts with B. The third person will repeat both A & B, and add a C word. Keep going until someone forgets what was packed.
- I Spy Guessing Game: “I spy with my little eye something green!” Other players try to guess what it is.
- I Spy ABC Game: Similar to I Spy, but each player finds something that starts with the letters of the alphabet. The first person finds something that starts with A, the second player something that starts with B, and so on until Z. This game is good for long trips because it can take a long time to find some letters.
- 20 questions: One person picks something- anything!- and the other players have to guess by asking yes or no questions. This classic game teaches children how to ask good questions and think about different ways to describe a thing.
- One-sentence Storytelling: In this improv game, one person starts a story and each person adds a sentence to see how wacky it can get.
- Bingo: Road trip bingo is a classic. You can find bingo cards online at the links below, or make your own. Draw a 5x5 board that kids can mark off when they see a certain thing from the board. This can be fun with fast food restaurants, road signs, different cars, different kinds of business signs, state license plates, anything you can think of! Middle space is free!
Printable road trip games Buy from Teachers: most games under $5.
30 Printable Road Trip Games & Checklists | The Zebra Free printable games.
21 Fun Road Trip Games Fun games to play in the car.
These 25 games for kids offer a blend of entertainment and education. By choosing computer games that are age-appropriate and monitoring kids’ web browsing through ASTROSafe, you can rest better knowing your kids are in a safe place online. And while no game can ever promise 100% safety guaranteed, having awareness of the risks involved can help prevent accidents and injuries.
Fostering a safe and enjoyable play environment for your kids is important for their development and growth. From engaging group games that promote social interaction, to solo activities that encourage cognitive thinking skills, there are countless ways to keep kids entertained. So let the games begin, and may the playtime be filled with joy, learning, and safety.