Fuss-Free Games To Keep Your Little Ones Entertained

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It may be cold, wet and windy outside, but that doesn't mean you have to rely on the good old TV for entertainment. Here are some DIY games to keep the whole family smiling...

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When they're bouncing back from a poorly spell, or just feeling under the weather, it's important to keep kids' minds occupied with games, puzzles and crafts. 

What we all need is a bank of fuss-free games that will encourage lots of smiles, without making your life difficult! To give you some inspiration, we've rounded up our favourite activities for children that won't break the bank or require lots of expensive toys. 

Think pencils, paper and a lot of imagination!

Pen and paper games for a quick boredom fix

Join the dots and hangman are good old fashioned favourites, but if you want to get your children's minds working you may want to try the 'Letters' game. You'll each need a piece of paper and a pencil - that's it! Start by coming up with categories, we recommend girl's name, boy's name, animal, country, toy and sport. 

Next decide on a letter of the alphabet. You'll have one minute to think of a word starting with that letter for each of the categories. Award two points for anyone who guesses a word no one else has guessed, and one for any who've doubled up. Simple, but very fun!

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Child-friendly card games for ambitious kids

We're not suggesting you teach them Poker, but Snap is a good place to start! Have them build card towers to see who can make it the highest, give Clock Patience a try (especially if they're learning how to tell the time at school), or discover the hilarious 'Spoons' - a race against time to get four of a kind and grab a spoon in the centre of the table. Imagine musical chairs in card form!

Create paper puzzles that will fill your time

Everyone knows that jigsaw puzzles get mixed up, pieces get lost or kids just give up. Make things easier with a hand-made puzzle with one of your little ones' drawings. Once they've drawn their picture, map out the puzzle pieces over the top, cut them up and have them rearrange the segments. 

Play hide and seek with a twist

Now that the nights are dark, we recommend a game of hide and seek in the dark (best stay away from the stairs though!). Turn off the lights in your living room, grab a couple of torches or the light from your phone and have a blast. We promise kids will love this!  

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A game of charades made even more silly 

Throw the names of lots of different animals into a hat and get your children to pick one out. They have to act out this animal with sound effects, but they're not allowed to say any words. If you can guess what animal they're pretending to be they get points. 

A DIY balance beam is great for staying active

Carefully cut sheets of plain paper into strips and lay them on the floor as a DIY balance beam. Tell your little ones they have to walk with their feet on the paper and if they slip they have to start again. It's up to you whether you want to take the circus theme to new levels with juggling and face painting...

Pass the balloon for feats of teamwork

It's amazing how much enjoyment kids can get out of a humble balloon. Encourage team work by getting your children to play 'balance the balloon' - get them to stand side by side and place the balloon between their waists. They'll have to walk carefully together and in-sync to stop the balloon from dropping to the floor. 

Child with balloons

What games does your family love playing? Let us know in the comments below...