Not only is silly free play and goofy personal challenges a TON of fun, it teaches kids about themselves, their limitations, skills, talents, and personality. Plus, laughing, goofy off, and playing are like ‘down time’ for kids. It’s when they can relax, reduce any anxiety or stress that has built up and burn off a little steam. As well, ooey gooey challenges can promote sensory awareness and more!
So the next time your kids need to blow off a little steam or you want to hear some giggles, bring out these tricky challenges and silly, ooey, gooey play ideas. Your kids will love it! (And I hope you will too.)
These hilarious free play activities are just the beginning. There are more gigglicious activities on the It’s All Kid’s Play blog as well as here, and on Pinterest. And sometimes I share ideas on Twitter, too! Oh! And be sure to check out the book I wrote, too. It includes even more travel games as well as over 1,000 other play activities so no matter where you are and what your interests or age, there is something in there for you–guaranteed! Check it out!
Create a Secret Code to Share with Friends
Make a secret code so you can write letters and notes to friends or cousins without adults being able to read it! You can pretend you are spies, or just send a secret code for the fun of it. One of the easiest codes is to use the Backwards Alphabet Code (but parents might know this one) or trickier, but still easy is the Shifted Alphabet Code.
What are they? The Backwards Alphabet Code is where you flip the alphabet so A is Z, and the Shifted Alphabet Code is where you shift the letters of the alphabet over a certain number of letters (for example, you could shift them over five letters so A=E).
The Backwards Alphabet Secret Code for Kids: A=Z B=Y C=X D=W E=V F=U G=T H=S I=R J=Q K=P L=O M=N N=M O=L P=K Q=J R=I S=H T=G U=F V=E W=D X=C Y=B Z=A
The Shifted Alphabet Secret Code for Kids (shifting the letters over five): A=E B=F C=G D=H E=I F=J G=K H=L I=M J=N K=O L=P M=Q N=R O=S P=T Q=U R=V S=W T=X U=Y V=Z W=A X=B Y=C Z=D
Can you hula? How long can you keep it going? Can you hula on your arm? One leg? More than one hula hoop at a time? Give it a spin and see what you can do.
Burp the Alphabet
Can you say the whole alphabet while burping. One letter per burp or maybe see how many letters you can say which one burp comes out.
Hang a Spoon Off Your Nose
Can you hang a spoon off the end of your nose? How about off your chin? Cheeks? Eyebrow? Ears? Where else? The world record for spoons on one’s face is 17!!! See that here. (By the way, that record is held by a kid!)
Pick Things Up With Your Toes
Do you have “finger toes?” Can you pick up things like a pencil, t-shirt, and more using your toes?
Cross Your Eyes
Can you do it? If not, here’s how to cross your eyes. Hold your finger out in front of your face. Hold it way far out. Now focus on it with both eyes while you slowly bring your finger to your nose. By the time your finger reaches your nose you should be cross-eyed! (Doesn’t it feel strange?)
Click Your Heels
Jump in the air and try to click your heels together off to your left or right side. Can you do it?
Lick Your Elbow
Can you do it? Some kids can… some kids can’t. (But nope, not me.)
Wiggle Your Ears
Can you do it? Again… some people can wiggle their ears, some can’t. (I can’t.)
Wiggle Your Nose
I can do this one! Can you?
Snap Your Fingers
Make a Baby Giggle
What does it take to make a baby giggle? If the baby giggles, will it make you giggle too?
Catch Coins Off your Elbow
Put your right hand on your right shoulder. Point your elbow out in front of you and lift your elbow up so it is parallel to your shoulder (same height). Lay a penny on the flat part of your arm above your elbow. Without moving your arm, turn your hand so the palm of your hand is facing up. Very quickly drop your elbow down and try to catch the penny with your right hand as it falls. The record for caught pennies when I was a kid was a stack of 14!
To make a good armpit fart you need to place your hand in your bare armpit. Hook your thumb up so it is pointing towards your shoulder. Then move your arm up and down quickly to make a farting noise. It might take a bit of practice to make a farting sound.
Why let your armpits have all the fun? Where else can you make an armpit sound? With your hands clasped together? In the elbow? Under the chin? Behind the knees? Does it help if your hands are damp?
Build a House of Cards
Build a house by stacking playing cards on their edges. See if you can use the whole deck without your house collapsing. It’s tricky!
Can’t Touch the Floor!
There are many different variations for this tricky game, but the one rule that is always the same is that your feet can’t touch the floor and you have to get from Point A to Point B.
Other Body Parts: Since your feet can’t touch the floor, walk on your hands, roll, or slither on your stomach.
Not Parts: None of your body can touch the floor or you will be melted in the lava, eaten by crocodiles, or fall off the cloud! In this case, what can you use to walk on? Pieces of paper to walk, cushions, or furniture are good things to start with. If you are outside you can use leaves—don’t let your feet touch the grass. To make it more challenging, make paths, jumps, and long steps.
Teach Your Pet a New Trick
Even cats can learn tricks. I taught my cat to jump through a hoop, sit on a chair, roll over, shake a paw, sit up, and lay down. My mom’s cat can play the piano!
Hint: Be gentle and patient and bribe them with their favourite treat. Also teach them one trick at a time. Once they have learned one–it might take a few days–then move on to teaching them another one. (Otherwise they may get a bit confused.)
Burst a Paper Bag
Blow a paper bag full of air. Hold the bag closed and bang hard on the bottom to make it break. When it breaks it will make a loud bang. Think you can scare anyone? I bet you can!!! (Plastic bags work well too.)
Tennis Ball Races
Using only your nose, push your tennis ball along the floor and try to beat the other racers across the finish line.
What can you do without thumbs?
Have someone gently tape your thumbs to the side of your hand. Try different things like tying your shoes and writing your name. Those thumbs are handy, aren’t they?
Can you say these tricky phrases 10 times, really fast, without messing up?
- Mass at the Mosque
- Toy Boat
- The skunk said the stump stunk.
- She sells seashells at the seashore.
What other tongue twisters do you know? Can you make some up?
Spin around in circle until you are dizzy and then try to walk a straight line. Can you do it? It’s hard! And fun.
Look Through Binoculars
Safety First: Don’t look at the sun—it will hurt your eyes.
How does the world look? Try looking through the ‘wrong’ end of the binoculars. How do things look now?
Give a Shock
This works best when it is winter and the air is dry. Drag your stocking feet across the carpet and then touch someone. Yeoch!
Move Cotton Balls With Your Nose
Breathe in through your nose above a cotton ball to pick it up. Keep inhaling until you want to drop the cotton ball or you have to exhale. (Tee, hee! It tickles!!!)
How far can you travel with a cotton ball? Have a contest with a friend or sibling.
Make it a cotton ball game: Who can move their cottons balls from the cotton ball bowl to an empty bowl one the fastest?
Look at the World Upside Down
Lay on your back on the couch or on your bed. Hang your head over the edge and ta-da! The world is upside down. Don’t doorways look strange? What would life be like if our whole house was upside down like this?
Look Through a Magnifying Glass
Look at insects, the weave of your clothes, the carpet, your hands, everything! It looks so different. What surprised you the most?
Keep a Balloon in the Air
Try to keep it from touching the ground by hitting it back up in the air with your feet, hands, butt, shoulder, head.
How many times can you hit it to keep it from touching the floor? You can also time yourself. Can you make 1 minute? How about you and a friend? How many times can you hit it back and forth before someone misses it?
Pop Balloons by Sitting on Them
This one feels scary until you do it–it’s not scary at all and doesn’t hurt.
The first time I had to pop a balloon by sitting on it was at a birthday party. I was freaked out! But it was totally fine! And fun.
Make Balloon Animals
You will need long, thin balloons made specially for making balloon animals. Look up directions on the Internet or in a book or make it up as you go.
P.S. There are special hand pumps you can use to blow up balloon animal balloons–they make it way easier to blow up! (Air compressors do okay, but they aren’t as great. We’ve tried.)
Static Electricity and Balloons
Rub a balloon in your hair and then stick it to the wall. If there is enough static electricity, it will stay on the wall. It should make your hair nice and crazy too! Can you make all your hair stand up?
Jump on Your Bed
I love this one! Stand in a doorjamb with your arms out at your sides. Push the tops of your hands against the doorjamb. Push as hard as you can for about a minute. Step out of the doorjamb and relax your arms. They should feel like they are going to lift themselves up all alone! So crazy cool!
When you moonwalk, it will look like you are walking forward, but you are actually sliding backwards. It’s so crazy!
How to do the moonwalk: You are going to move backwards, but you aren’t going to let your toes or the balls of your feet (the part of your foot behind your toes) ever leave the ground. To move, come up onto the ball of your right foot, knee bent. It will sort of look like you are about to take a step with that foot. Slide your left foot back (kept flat on the ground) so it barely, barely even leaves the ground–you are just lifting it enough that you can slide it backwards. Then switch feet. You’re moonwalking!
Hint: Wear socks so you slide better.
Can you hold a pencil between your upper lip and your nose? How about between your lower lip and your chin? Try balancing it on your ear, nose, and on your eyebrows. Where else?
Basically, you pose like you are running, but you are not. Someone takes a picture. See all the strange places you can phoon.
Find someone taking a picture and pop yourself into the background without them noticing. Extra points if you are making a funny face! (Or sneak Mom’s camera and take a picture of yourself. Say “Cheese!”)
Make Faces with a Flashlight
A good place to do this is in front of a mirror in a dark place like a bathroom. Place the flashlight under your chin and shine it up to your face. Make scary faces. Rrrrrrrrr!
Make Salt Crystals
Materials needed to make salt or sugar crystals: table salt (or white sugar if you are making sugar crystals), water, a pot, spoon, measuring cup, saucer, paper.
With help from an adult, bring 180 mL (¾ cup) of water to a boil.
Remove it from the stove and slowly stir in the salt. Do this very, very slowly. You want to dissolve as much salt in the water as you can. Take lots of time. The water may be a bit cloudy from the salt, but keep adding salt in until it no longer dissolves (it starts to stay on the bottom of the pot after stirring).
Have an adult pour the hot, salty water into a saucer. (If there are bits of salt at the bottom of the pot, do not pour that into the saucer.) Cover the saucer with a piece of paper.
Set the saucer somewhere safe where it can sit for the next few days and let the water slowly evaporate. (Don’t bump it and move it around–you can peek though.) You should see some beautiful crystals start to form within a few days.
Make sure your joke won’t hurt anyone because then it wouldn’t be funny, just mean.
A good practical joke is funny, but doesn’t hurt anyone is short sheeting someone’s bed or doing the ‘pull my loose thread trick.’
To short sheet someone’s bed: Take the blanket, pillow and top sheet off their bed. Take the top sheet and tuck the foot end of the sheet under the mattress up at the head of the bed (sort of like you would if you were making your bed, but you are tucking the end in at the head end instead of the foot end of the bed. Now pull the sheet down flat over the bed. About half way down, fold the loose end of the sheet back up towards the head end of the bed. Place the blanket over the sheet like you were making the bed. Fold the extra end of the sheet over the edge of the blanket like you normally would. Your bed looks gorgeous, the only thing that is different is when someone tries to put their feet down in their made bed, they won’t be able to because their sheet is folded! If you have a fake dog poop or a fake spider, place that in there too!
Pull my loose thread practical joke: Place a spool of thread in a pocket, or tuck it somewhere hidden. Take the end of the spool’s thread and let it hang out of the pocket, bottom of your sweater, wherever works. Ask someone to do you a favour and pull the loose thread off. When they pull, the spool of thread will unravel and they’ll freak out thinking they are unraveling your shirt, pants, sweater, or whatever! Tee hee!
P.S. These practical jokes are great for April Fool’s Day. (BTW, I have more practical jokes on my Pinterest board.)
In a dark room, shine a flashlight through a strainer or colander. It will make star shapes on your ceiling. (Great for sleepovers!)
Card Tricks and Magic Tricks
Tricks dazzle everyone! Grab a magic book from your local library and learn to amaze your family and friends!
Take Something Apart
Ever wondered what the inside of that old alarm clock looks like? Take it apart! (Make sure you ask your parents first.)
Make Yucky Concoctions
Have to do the dishes? Combine all the weird bits that are left over in a glass. How yucky can you make it? What about those bits of mashed potato? Coffee? Milk? Bacon fat? Stir it up! Ewwww! (I totally don’t dare you to drink it.)
Sometimes you accidentally make yucky concoctions, but it’s how we learn what works in cooking and what doesn’t. My dad and I made one the other weekend trying to make chocolate covered ginger without a recipe… and then trying to save it by making chocolate milk… and yeah. Unsweetened chocolate is really bitter. And maple syrup doesn’t help it out much. But we tried! It might have been really, really yummy… if it hadn’t gone so weird and gross!
Pick Your Nose
Remember: You can pick your friends, and you can pick your nose, but you can’t pick your friend’s nose! (And recent studies say that up to 91% of all adults admit to picking their nose. And gross as it may sound, the studies suggest that it is possible that eating your boogers may boost your immune system. Hmm. What do you think?)
How to make Glop:
You will need:
Milk 125 mL (½ cup)
Vinegar (60 mL (¼ cup)
Coffee filter or paper towel
Warm up milk in the microwave (just to room temperature). Stir in vinegar. Bubbles and small lumps will start to form. Strain the liquid by pouring it through a paper coffee filter or a piece of paper towel. What is left in the filter is your glop. How does it feel? Smoosh it, squish it, squeeze it. Isn’t it amazing?
How to make Flubber:
Borax 10 mL (2 tsp)
Warm water (1 cup)
Container for mixing
Add Borax to warm water. Add white glue. Stir really well. Let it sit for a minute and then mix it again, using your hands. Make sure you squeeze the glue gobs really well, otherwise you will end up with sticky gluey gobs in your flubber.
The glue turns into Flubber, so the more glue you add, the more Flubber. If you want a Flubber ball, form it when you take the Flubber out of the water. As the Flubber dries out, it becomes more firm and harder to shape.
It’s pretty cool.
You will need help from an adult and these ingredients to make homemade playdough that simply rocks:
Flour 500 mL (2 cups)
Water 500 mL (2 cups)
Salt 250 mL (1 cup)
Cooking oil 30 mL (2 tbsp)
Cream of tartar 60 mL (4 tbsp)
Food colouring (if you want to make different coloured Playdough)
Combine the above ingredients in a pot and cook on the stove over medium heat until the dough starts to leave the side of the pot. Cook for a few minutes more. Let it cool. Once cool, knead the playdough until it is smooth. It is now ready.
HINT: After playing with it, store it in a sealed bag in the fridge and it will last a long time.
HINT: Add the food colouring to the water so it blends nicely.
HINT: Add glitter!!
To make a homemade volcano you will need:
250mL (1 cup) Vinegar
60 mL (4 tbsp) Baking Soda
Red food colouring–about 4 drops(Optional)
Dish Detergent–about 6 drops
A jar or bottle (you will build your volcano in here.)
a stir stick (a long straw works)
In your jar or bottle, dump in your baking soda, food colouring if you are using it, and dish detergent. Pour in the vinegar and give it a slight stir. You should get a bubbly eruption!
Dress in your Favourite Colour
What is your favourite colour? Can you make a whole outfit out of that colour? (Do you think anyone will notice you are wearing all the same colour?)
Lace Up Challenge
Can you tie up your shoe laces in a new way? Zigzag those laces? Use more than one pair of laces in each shoes?
Wear All of Your Clothes at Once
Can you do it? Can you squeeze into all your shirts at once? If you can… can you still move???
Wear Your Clothes Inside Out and Backwards
Inside Out: Pants are so weird inside out. Can you do up the fly? If pants with a zipper is too tricky, try sweatpants!
Backwards: Again, pants are the strange one. Jeans just feel so wrong backwards!!
So Strange & Second Hand Challenge
That’s a mighty odd hat/cape/shirt you are wearing today. Where’d you get it?
Take a cruise through the second hand store and see if you can find something cool, funky, and different. Buy it and wear it all day. See if you can get the whole family to wear weird stuff with you.
Looking for more? Try these pages:
Might I also suggest this time-saver…
Never be bored again! All of this website’s great content and MORE!