When it comes to entertaining your children, sometimes you have to get creative—we know their imaginations can run wild during playtime, can yours? Here are some ways to perfectly distract your kids, from one parent to the next. 

Two Girls Play Silly Game Newspaper on Head
Credit: Stephanie Rausser 

“In Alligator, I am an alligator on the floor, and my children are kids going to the grocery store—by hopping onto couch cushions also on the floor, naturally. I ask them to pick up milk for me, a poor ’gator. Then when they return with the pretend milk, I eat them.” —Lyz Lenz, Cedar Rapids, Iowa

At my house, the Rubber Chicken Game has had my boys giggling for the past year. Here’s how it goes:

  1. Player 1 throws a tiny rubber chicken down someone’s pants.
  2. The person who has the chicken pretends to cry.
  3. The crier throws the chicken down somebody else’s pants, and the game starts again. —C.Z. 

“We look for dragons under the covers and then chase them away by dancing. They’re so scared of dancing!” —Jessica Winton, New York City

“At bedtime, my son hides under the covers. I sit on top of him, saying ‘Ah, I’m just going to rest on this bench here. But wait a minute! What’s that sound? Is it breathing?’ Then he pops up and says, ‘I’m an FBI agent! Don’t worry, ma’am, it’s not your fault. You didn’t know I was here.’ ” —Amy VanStee, Chicago

“Money Monster goes like this: I walk around singing ‘Doo-bee-doo-bee-doo’ in a casual way. At some point my 6-year-old leaps out and says ‘Rar!’ She’s the Money Monster. Then she chases me until I jump onto the couch, hiding my face, and when she tickles me, I turn into the Money Monster and chase her. Note: I no longer remember why it’s called Money Monster.” —Emily Popek, Oneonta, New York

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“My husband has a game called Bananas. He carries our son around the room and pretends to slip, wobbling around while almost dropping him, saying, ‘Who left banana peels all over the floor?’ Then it repeats, forever.” —Fiona Tapp, Ottawa, Canada

“One of our kids lies down on a pillow and names the grossest sandwich toppings imaginable. My husband then pretends to put these condiments on top of my kid, as if he were making a really big sandwich. Then he plops a pillow on top—the pillows are the bread—lifts the whole thing up, and pretends to take a huge bite.” —Amy Shearn, New York City

Parents Magazine