Looking to entertain some kindergarten-aged kiddos? Maybe you’re a teacher with a kindergarten class stuck inside on a snow day or a mama about to embark on homeschooling a kindergartener during the pandemic. Or, perhaps, you’re just looking for ways to entertain your 5 to 7 year olds at home. You need some kindergarten classroom games. That’s for sure.
Let’s not get it twisted: Kindergarten is important. By the time our kids finish kindergarten, they’ll know how to identify and write all 26 alphabet letters, make their sounds, and read simple sight words. They’ll also learn to count to about 30 and be able to add and subtract numbers less than ten. One very big part of kindergarten, though, is learning to socialize — to share, converse, and play together. The best teachers can foster those skills by playing games in their kindergarten classroom. Kindergarten teachers know what’s up. They can educate and entertain little ones better than anyone else. So, when looking for ways to appease bored kiddos, look no further than kindergarten classroom games like the ones below.
1. Simple Charades
Smaller children may not be ready for miming “Where The Red Fern Grows.” They can, however, play a version that’s on their level. Instead of writing down ideas, use things like animal, number or letter flashcards that they can draw out of a hat. Can they make that number or letter by contorting their bodies or just holding that number of fingers up? Can they do a good impersonation of an elephant? If their team can guess what they’re doing, they get a point.
2. Hot Potato Game
Do you remember playing Hot Potato as a kid? Sure. Do you remember exactly how it’s played? We don’t! Once you get the hang of it, though, this game’s sense of excitement and urgency is a great way to shake out the post-lunch haze.
3. Four Corners
Start by labeling each corner of your room with a number. Have “It” stand in the middle of the room, close their eyes, and count to ten. While “It” is counting, have everyone else scramble to the corner of their choice. When they’re done counting, “It” will call out a the number or name of one of the corners — “Corner 2,” for instance. Anyone in that corner must return to their desk. “It” will count, again and your kids should continue to scramble to different corners. Each time “It” calls a new corner, the numbers will dwindle until only one player remains. That player becomes the new “It” and everyone can start over, again.
4. Pass The Drawing
This is an especially great game to play in small teams (like at each table in your kindergarten classroom). Give one person at the table 15 seconds to draw something on a piece of paper. Afterward, they should pass it to another person on their team to add to the drawing. Keep passing every 10-15 seconds until everyone at the table or in the team has had a chance to add to the drawing. Collect the drawings. From here, you could simply have other teams guess what each table drew, guess who drew it, or let everyone vote on their favorite.
Limbo is such a great way to get out some energy and make everyone laugh. You can play the limbo song, but really any music will do.
6. Duck, Duck, Goose
Who doesn’t remember how to play duck, duck, goose?
7. Jump The Line
This is a great way to review the day or week’s lessons. Put down a piece of painter’s tape on the floor and have your kids line up on the tape. Assign one side as true and the other as false. Give them information they should know and let them decide if they should jump to the true side or the false side. If they choose wrong, they’re out. (Example: “Two plus two is five.” Anyone who jumped to the “true” side will be out.)
8. Freeze Dance
Need some time to get out those wiggles? Cue up some music on your phone and let your kiddos get wild. When you’re ready, hit “pause” and make them freeze. Anyone still dancing (or the last person dancing) is out.
9. Simon Says
Simon says this game is a classic for a reason: It’s fun and teaches kids to follow directions.
10. Musical Chairs
You’ll probably need to set some ground rules so no one violates anyone’s personal bubble. But, this game is a classic and oh-so-fun.
11. Crazy Train
Have your little buddies line up in one long “train.” Starting off, you be the leader and steer the train in circles, over chairs, and around obstacles. After a while, consider letting someone else lead.
12. Red Light, Green Light
Green means “Go!” And red means “Stop!” We’re pretty sure you know how to play this, right?
13. What Time Is It, Mr. Wolf?
This super silly listening game is very similar to Red Light, Green Light. The biggest difference? It incorporates a bit of “tag.”
14. Please, Mr. Crocodile
Man, these animals are bossy! Mr. Crocodile takes Mr. Wolf’s impending doom and amps it up with a bit of totalitarian favoritism. Confused? Perfect.
15. Row Your Boat
Seasoned educators at the Whitby School recommend using this game as a way to teach movement control and teamwork to kindergarteners. They suggest pairing two kids up and sitting them on the floor with their knees up to their chest as they hold each other’s hands and rock back and forth while singing or listening to “Row, Row, Row Your Boat.” This game may feel simple but actually teaches kids coordination with others.
16. Build An Obstacle Course
This activity has great teamwork and body movement elements in it, making it a perfect game to encourage discussion and communication as well as physical activity. Have the kids use cones, smaller hula hoops, and steps to build their obstacle course before taking turns running through them.
Need something super-easy? Look no further than GoNoodle. This free website offers tons of movement-and-mindfulness-based videos designed to engage kids. And since each video is just a few minutes long, you can mix and match to create the perfect indoor recess for your kiddos.
18. “Bluebird, Bluebird”
Even if you never played the game, you’ve probably heard this classic childhood song. “Bluebird, bluebird in and out my window/Bluebird, bluebird in and out my window/Bluebird, bluebird in and out my window/Oh Johnny, I’m so tired!/Take a friend and tap them on the shoulder/Take a friend and tap them on the shoulder/Take a friend and tap them on the shoulder/Oh Johnny, I’m so tired!”
So, how do you play the game? Pick one child to be the bluebird, then have the rest stand in a circle holding hands. Have them raise their clasped hands high to form “windows.” As everyone sings the chorus, the bluebird weaves in and out of the windows. When the song reaches “Oh Johnny,” the bluebird stops. Then lightly tap on the shoulders of the student they’re standing behind, who leaves the circle to hold the bluebird’s hand and follow them in and out of windows. Keep repeating this sequence until there are only two kids left — those two will be the bridge for “London Bridge Is Falling Down.” The bluebird leads everyone through the “bridge.” The student who gets caught when the bridge collapses (on “my fair lady”) gets to be the bluebird the next time you play.