I don’t know about you, but this COVID-19 pandemic has brought some major changes to our family. We’re practicing social distancing, seriously cutting down on our social time with friends and trips out of the house. My husband, three kids, and I are going to be spending a LOT more time at home (meaning…practically all our of time at home).
There have been a few times during this pandemic already that games have helped us out, providing a chance to laugh and play together, to do more than chores or jobs or worrying.
I want to do a roundup post on games of all sorts that could be good to play during this time. If any of you have games you’re playing or want to see posted, let me know! I’d love to hear about them! For now, here’s a giant list of games that might see you through COVID-19…
For so many of these games, a word list would come in super handy! My word generator has TONS! You could create whole new games with some of the word lists on the page. Check it out!
Games to play socially distanced outside
If you’re careful, you should be able to play these games with people outside your home if you stay far apart.
- Invisible frisbee – A physically active game where players can stand super, super far apart and don’t need to touch the same frisbee!
- Red light, green light – Good for little kids
- Animal signs – Very funny and kind of silly game; good for older kids and up; not physically active
- Monkey see, monkey do – Good for little kids and up
- Simon says – Good for little kids
- Photo scavenger hunt – This could spread over a large area. Use a list of photography subjects that don’t involve getting close to other people
- Charades – Play spaced apart appropriately
- Signs – Not very physically active; good for older kids and up
- Where’s Waldo? IRL – Played walking around in a big area
- Kick the can – This involves tagging players, but if you replace the tagging with “I see ____!” it could work
- Hit the dirt – A super physically active outdoor game for older kids or teens
Games to play with friends or family virtually
You could of course also play any of these games with people in your home.
Games you could play over video message (or Zoom or Google Meet or FaceTime or any video call)
- Celebrities – A mix between catchphrase and charades
- Charades – Could work over video chat, too!
- In the manner of the adverb – A variation of charades
- Musical pictionary – Pictionary with a twist
- Say the same thing – A two-player cooperative game
- Mixtionary – Pictionary with a twist
- Reverse catchphrase
- Password – A four-person word game
- Catchphrase – Try to get players to guess a word by describing it
Games you could play over phone calls
(or over video message)
- Going on a picnic – Good for kids
- Alphabet chant – Good for kids
- Green glass doors – Good for any age
- Name that movie – Any age
- Name that tune – Any age
- Questions only – Any age
- Psychic – Any age
- Build a cabin in your mind – Any age; no competition involved
- Family trivia – Any age
- First letter, last letter – Very easy word game
- First word – Two-player talking game
- Fortunately, unfortunately – Storytelling game
Games you could play over text message
These are games that would also make great talking games, in person or over the phone.
- Movie title mash-up
- Photo scavenger hunt – This could be a fun thing to do over text; send each other pictures, and work cooperatively or competitively
- Get to know you questions
- Would you rather
- This or that
- Tell a story
- Twenty questions
- Two truths and a lie
- Breakfast combo
- Actor/movie loop
- Three things
Games to play with family members at home
- Pictionary – A classic, for any age that can draw; you just need something to write with and something to write on.
- Hangman – Another classic. Can be played with two or more players. Players must be old enough to spell.
- The dot game – Two players, for about ages six and up
- Draw your dream house – Any age, no competition involved
- Mirror drawing – Great for little kids, no competition involved
- Paper telephone – A funny group game for teens or adults
- Draw a monster – If you can draw, you can play!
- Ultimat tic-tac-toe – A more challenging way to play that actually turns it into a strategic game
- 3-D triple-decker tic-tac-toe – A slightly more ridiculous way to play
- Catchphrase – Classic. You just need a list of words
- No, because – Simple talking and guessing game
- Sing a song – Any age
- Telephone – Any age
- What if – For slightly older children to adults; can get quite funny
- Charades – Act out words and get players to guess. Classic!
- Garbage ball – You need wadded up trash and a room you don’t mind getting messy!
- Air-powered ping pong – You need straws, a ping-pong ball, and a flat table
- Marshmallow fight – You need lots of marshmallows!
- Castle – To be played outdoors at a playground, if you’re in an area where you’re able to
- Cake walk (or cupcake walk) – A simple activity you could use as a reward
- Capture the flag – An outdoor game if you have more players
- Flour bomb capture the flag – A fun variation to normal capture the flag. You could also just make and peg each other with flour bombs for fun!
- Duck-duck-goose – Any age, no supplies needed
- Freeze tag – Best played outside
- Freeze tag variations – They can get fun if you have enough players!
- Hide and seek – Best played outside
- Sardines (backward hide-and-seek) – Works great inside
- Hot or cold – Great for little kids
- Invisible frisbee – Yes, the frisbee is invisible, but it’s probably still best outdoors…
- Steamroller – For little kids
- Hot lava – Let’s get real; this is fun for ANY age
- Red light, green light – For little kids
- Floppy sock tag – One of our family’s favorites! You need long floppy socks; it’s quite active, hilarious, and most ages can participate
- Balloon stomp – Balloons and string required
Other games to play at home
- Cleaning games – These definitely might come in handy if you have young kids…
- Tape on the nose – Very silly, good for any age
- Photo scavenger hunt – Very adaptable!
- Don’t Eat Pete – Fun, easy little kid game
- Claps – No supplies needed, for older kids to teens, not really much competition involved
- The cup game – Also for older kids to teens, also not much competition involved
- Speed Scrabble – For teens to adults
- Animal signs – Tweens to adults; no supplies needed, and it’s fun!
- Clothespins – A game that could fill a whole day
- I spy – Great for young kids, also very adaptable
- Marshmallow toss – You need marshmallows and a muffin tin
- Monkey see, monkey do – No supplies required, but best with a slightly larger group
- Mystery gift pass – Could make a fun reward activity for kids of any age
- One hundred – Fast-paced, easy, and fun
- Simon says – Great little kid game
- Spoons – Face cards and spoons required
- The candy bar game – Some supplies required, but it can be a lot of fun! Great for kids, too
- The human knot – Need a slightly larger group
- Skittles – If you have a lot of Skittles…
- Murder (winks variation) – Tweens to adults, slightly larger group
- Murder (hand-squeezing variation) – Tweens to adults, slightly larger group
- Walk on the ceiling – Any age kid, and kind of a one-player game
- Penny in the flour – Can make a trivia game more exciting!
- Eat a donut from a string – A funny challenge game
- Water in the face – A guessing game
- Alliteration adventure – A type of versatile activity
- Who am I? – A guessing game; can be good for kids who can read
- Memory – Any age, various supplies required
- Play doh blow darts – Great for kids!
I would say the majority of these games do not keep people 6 feet apart. In addition, all the items you are using, can not be sanitized or should not be touched by different people. Not a very helpful article.
Hi Carolyn, sorry you misunderstood. The games I list that require close contact or physical items are all under the “Games to play with family members at home” heading–in other words, with people you live with in your own home. In these cases, keeping 6 feet apart/sanitizing items doesn’t apply. The games I list that are appropriate to play with people outside your home are under the “Games to play with friends or family virtually” heading and those games, as described, can all be played by players in different homes or locations. Sorry if that was confusing. I created the first list because even small families at home need games to play together. 🙂
I agree with Carolyn to a certain extent. It is the title that led us here that is misleading. I am searching for games that you can play outside WITH social distancing, not games you can play in lockdown with your household or can use with others via social media. Good ideas though, I think if people bring their own paper and pencils, things like pictionary can work.
I guess that this post is just outdated. When I first posted it, lockdown had just started and things weren’t open enough for people to gather and play games even outside. But things have changed and I can definitely add a list of some outdoor games that can be played during social distancing. There aren’t a whole lot of games that involve no physical contact, nothing players touch, and only standing six feet apart. But I found a few and I’ll add them to make the post more useful. Thanks for the feedback!
Thanks, I found many of your game suggestions helpful for the covid environment I am working in now and will be able to use many of them (some with a few modifications) in my current ministry.
Thanks, Angela! So glad I could help out!
Good suggestions that can be adapted for space and comfort level with guests/ participants! Thanks
The older teens and early 20s group like to play Hide and Seek with their cars. They go out late at night and hide their cars throughout the neighborhood and try to find each other, safely, following traffic rules. Passenger deals with the phone, so driver can concentrate on driving. They go to major parking lots like walmart, malls, mcdonalds, 711 and there is no chasing involved. It’s more like a counter surveillance detective game. Just park and tag each other.
The cops thought they were up to no good until I explained it is a safe alternative to street racing in the boring prairies.
Wow, that does sound fun, if you live in an area or community conducive to that type of activity. Very creative!
I thought your ideas were terrific. Great ways for families to enjoy time with each other even when things get back to normal(?).
Haha, yeah, hopefully that normal is a “when” and not an “if!”
I think these are AMAZING, thank you so much for sharing them. Perfect, perfect!
Glad to help!
for those families looking to extend play, when our 4 kids were young we made a bingo sheet. with 24 games and activities on it and a free spot. (printable blank bingo sheets on the web).
The activities could be anything.
these games above mixed with brush your teeth. fold laundry for 2 minutes(any chores) skip rope for 3 minutes, do 20 jumping Jack’s.etc.
you get the idea
it could take hours to fill or one line wins. our kids usually wanted to fill the card
parents and older siblings can help younger kiddies read their bingo card and help them.
teaches reading skills too.
That’s a great idea! Thanks for sharing!