Great Indoor Games for Families

Winter Games
Photograph by Dana Gallagher
Everyone can be a champion with these six silly family contests.
Photograph by Dana Gallagher
Photograph by Dana Gallagher

Tippy Tower

It's hard to say what kids will love more about this game: building the giant block tower or watching it come crashing down.

Set up: Collect 15 to 20 empty boxes from your recycling bin (our boxes held cereal, oats, crackers, and other dry goods). Tape the tops shut and, if you like, wrap the boxes with paper.

Play: The first player selects a box and sets it in place. The next stacks a box on top of it. Play continues with each person adding to the tower. The player who topples the tower is out, and a new round begins. Play until only the winner remains.

Originally published in the February 2014 issue of FamilyFun magazine.

Photograph by Dana Gallagher
Photograph by Dana Gallagher

Pom-Pom Curling

This tabletop tournament is loosely based on curling, the granite-stone-sliding, broom- brushing game played on ice.

Set up: You'll need two sets of three pom-poms and several drinking straws. Print out our target template, below, and tape it to the end of a rectangular table. Mark a boundary line a few inches away with painter's tape, as shown.

Play: Divide into two teams of three (if you have fewer than six players, you can rotate positions so that each person gets a turn as the bowler). The first team picks two players to hold drinking straws and sit on either side of the table, and one bowler, who stands at the end opposite the target. The bowler rolls a pom-pom toward the target, and the straw- holders blow through their straws to direct the pom-pom's path. Once the pom-pom crosses the tape line, the straw-holders must stop blowing and let it roll to a stop. The second team's bowler then rolls her pom-pom, steered by her team's straw-holders. (You're allowed to knock the other team?s pom-pom with yours.) Teams alternate turns until all six pom-poms have been bowled. The first team to a predetermined number of points wins.

Originally published in the February 2014 issue of FamilyFun magazine.

Photograph by Dana Gallagher
Photograph by Dana Gallagher

Hard to Chews

A summer-camp staple, this game rewards those who have kept their bubble gum chewing skills sharp.

Set up: Place socks or mittens on each player's hands, then give each a piece of wrapped bubble gum.

Play: At "Go," players race to unwrap the gum, chew it, and blow a bubble. Play several elimination rounds to decide the ultimate victor.

Originally published in the February 2014 issue of FamilyFun magazine.

Photograph by Dana Gallagher
Photograph by Dana Gallagher

Thin Ice

The die adds an element of chance to this suspenseful game of strategy and skill.

Set up: Use a rubber band to secure a facial tissue tautly over the top of a mug. Place a quarter on the tissue.

Play: Taking turns, players roll a die and use a sharpened pencil to poke the designated number of holes through the tissue. If you break the ice and send the quarter into the mug, you're out. Replace the tissue and continue playing until one winner remains.

Originally published in the February 2014 issue of FamilyFun magazine.

This toy zips across the floor under rubber band power -- and its wheels are made from pint container lids, giving you a great excuse to buy ice cream! Idea from FamilyFun magazine.

Make an Axle Racer

This toy zips across the floor under rubber band power -- and its wheels are made from pint container lids, giving you a great excuse to buy ice cream!

Originally published in FamilyFun magazine.

Photograph by Dana Gallagher
Photograph by Dana Gallagher

Javelin Straws

This breathtaking challenge involves launching paper javelins using only puffs of air.

Set up: Make a javelin by rolling a 6- by 2-inch strip of paper around a pencil. Tape the seam, then fold over and tape one end. Make five javelins. Mark a shooting line about five feet from a bucket or wastepaper basket. To launch a javelin, slide it over a straw and blow.

Play: Taking turns, players shoot the five javelins, earning a point for each one that lands in the basket. The highest score wins the match.

Originally published in the February 2014 issue of FamilyFun magazine.

Photograph by Dana Gallagher
Photograph by Dana Gallagher

Whee Ball

Inspired by the arcade classic Skee-Ball, this game doesn't dispense prize tickets, but it's just as much fun to play--and no tokens required!

Set up: Find a square box (ours is 14 inches on a side) and cut the top at an angle, as shown. Tape a cardboard ramp to the front edge. Paint the box, if you like. Set the bottom of an egg carton in the rear of the box.

Play: From a spot several feet away from the box, players take turns rolling 12 Ping-Pong or golf balls up the ramp, trying to land them in the egg carton. After their roll, they count up their score and gather the balls for the next player. Highest score wins the round.

Originally published in the February 2014 issue of FamilyFun magazine.

Photograph by Dana Gallagher
Photograph by Dana Gallagher

Go for the Silver

It wouldn't be a proper Winter Games without medals of victory. To make a set, cut numbers from corrugated cardboard and glue each to the center of a jar lid. Brush the fronts of the lids (and the numbers) with glue, then wrap them with aluminum foil. Use hot glue (an adult's job) to attach the ends of colored ribbons to the backs.

Originally published in the February 2014 issue of FamilyFun magazine.

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