10 Ways to Entertain a Group of Kids
When kids of various ages get together, there are plenty of possibilities for fun. Put the big kids in charge and the little ones will look up to them for direction; a mutual admiration society will form in no time! Informally assign each older child to look after one or two younger ones, to be sure no one is excluded in all the hubbub.
- Five-Senses Walk: Older children call out the name of the sense to search for: sight, touch, hearing, smell, or taste. Have each child call out what they sense.
- Bubble Fest: Make a bubble mixture from 1/2 cup dishwashing liquid and 2 1/2 cups of water. Head outside. Older kids blow bubbles; younger ones try to pop them with their hands.
- Paper-Bag Masks: Decorate with art materials, trim and sequins, and cutouts from cereal boxes or magazines.
- Homemade Books: Think of five special days in your life, and draw a picture of each on a separate page. Compare and tell each other about those times.
- Super-Size Stamps: Cut paper with pinking shears. Carve potatoes or sponges into shapes and decorate the stamps by dipping the shapes in paint — or just use your thumbs and fingertips!
- Row Houses: Using colored markers, make a mural that shows everyone's house all in a row, as if all the kids in the group lived side by side. Put an address on each house. Everyone works on his own house. Make them as realistic as possible.
- Going, Going, Gone: Hold an auction for old toys, household items, or small party favors. Make play money, and pretend you're selling things for odd amounts, like $1.51, 38 cents, 76 cents, and $6.29. Help the little ones spend their money.
- Peanut Run: Divide into two teams. Give each team a butter knife or tongue depressor. Spread some peanuts on the ground and an empty pan at a distance. Each runner must pick up a peanut with the knife or stick, deposit it in the empty pan, then run back and (safely!) hand the tool to the next person. The first team to finish wins.
- Step Right Up: Divide into three-person teams, and stage a circus. Each team creates an act to perform — magic tricks, acrobatics, clowning around, or whatever sounds fun. Give an award to each act, focusing on the positive!
- Balloon Race: In this alternative to ping-pong, players use a paper fan and a balloon instead of a ball and paddle. Each player moves her balloon by waving the fan, trying to send it flying off the table or past the opposite player.