Games are a great way for kids of all ages to burn off some energy and get those endorphins flowing.
And they are critical to 6 year olds as they build social, math and emotional skills.
Whether playing a group game or a game for two, 6-year-olds can learn a lot from the simple lessons games teach them.
In this article, I look at 12 fun games that you can play with your 6-year-old child.
"Choose games that you, the parent, want to play," says Susan Newman, Ph. D, social psychologist and author of Little Things Long Remembered: Making Your Children Feel Special Every Day.
Participating in your child's games means that your kids can learn so much more and have a lot more fun in the process.
If a parent is half-heartedly playing, running, or appearing distracted, a child feels a parent's disinterest.
The best games engage and challenge the child, but are not so difficult that he or she loses interest.
Are you looking forward to spending the weekend with your child, but not sure what games to play?
Is everyone fed up with the same boring board games? Or maybe that last round of hide and seek didn't go so well?
Read on for these unique and creative activities to play with your 6 year old.
What we discuss in this comprehensive post:
Best games for 6-year-olds
This simple game with a wooden board and glass bricks was first played in Ethiopia in the 14th century.
The object of the game for two people is to collect more stones than the other player.
The game is perfect for 6 year olds as it encourages light competition. 6 year olds are generally very competitive.
They cheat and get very upset when they lose, and overdo it when they win.
Many children can only get along well with winning and losing when they are about nine years old, but from about five years old you can help your child learn to deal with competition.
A great game for two children, but also with a group of six or more children.
- Tell the children to form two lines, opposite each other, each with the same number of participants.
- The attendant summons an animal, profession, or sport (ie octopus, chef, football).
- Children should imitate that specific word while the attendant counts down from 10.
- If it is at 0, then the kids must freeze whatever position they were in.
- The line that remains frozen the longest wins.
This is a great game to develop motor skills. Nice for 2 people, but with more you can send children and in pairs.
One member of the couple has to perform silly (but appropriate) moves while the other copies them at the same time, like a mirror!
Then you turn around and alternate the couples if necessary.
I'm going to have a picnic
Fun to do with your family, but also the perfect game for a group of eight or more kids.
- Everyone forms a circle and the first starts with: “I'm going to have a picnic and bring (name of a dish) with me”.
- The child next to them has to repeat what he or she just said and then add a dish.
- The next player continues in the same way and each time, each adding their own dish so that it becomes more and more.
- The challenge is to remember what everyone brings.
I know this one from the past with “I'm going on vacation and taking with me”, but I also really like the variant with the picnic and it is a bit easier for 6-year-olds to remember food alone than all possible things on vacation, but try them both agree!
Cooperative games are also a good choice for this age, as all players win or lose together. A great lesson they are ready for at this age.
Sports such as basketball and football are particularly easy to learn for 6-year-olds and can be played almost anywhere.
Basketball maybe with a small low basket for someone of 6, and football you can set up anywhere with small goals (or just two trees like we used to do).
Snakes and ladders
This ancient Indian game teaches children about opportunities and luck. Take the old board game off the stack that you might still have from the past, or there are also many new editions, such as this nice wooden from Small Foot Company.
Very similar to musical chairs, for musical statues you really only need a music player and speakers.
It used to be a cassette deck that you could easily pause, now maybe just your iPhone and Spotify.
- Let the kids dance and move while the music plays. Every 45 seconds, stop the music and tell children to stay in place.
- Whoever moves has to sit down and is finished.
Hide and seek
Of course, hide and seek could not be missed for 6 year olds because it is a great fun game that they can completely lose themselves in.
It is best with two or more players, so you have a chance that you really have to participate!
The advantage is that you can also play it fine in a house or an apartment, so you don't necessarily have to go outside when it rains (also read about These 25 Great Activities for a Rainy Day).
- Designate a spot as "home base" and choose a player to be the seeker.
- The seeker closes his eyes and counts to ten while the other children hide (you may want to set some rules in advance, such as naming off-limit locations that could break).
- Once the seeker has finished counting, he can start searching for the other players.
- Children try to reach home without being found.
- Found children are out.
- The game ends when only one player remains or a child has arrived at the home base.
- That child becomes the seeker in the next round.
Variation: If your house or apartment has no space, have one child “hide” the thimble or other small item and encourage other players to find it.
Fun for six-year-olds and also to play on your own, but with more is also fun. All you need is a long, empty hallway.
- Loot the recycle bin for six medium to large water or soda bottles.
- Add enough water to give them some weight and place them at the end of the hall: three in the back row, two in the middle row and one in the front is best, just like in real bowling.
- Place your child across the hall with a ball in hand. Just testing which ones, smaller bottles or those less full of water is already perfect with a tennis ball, but it is more fun with a slightly larger ball that adds some weight.
- Each player throws twice (except for those who strike in the first round! If all goes well, your six-year-old can already understand this and see it as a win).
- Each knocked over pin is worth one point.
- The game is over when each child has thrown ten rounds.
- The highest score wins.
Variation: Put glow sticks in the water bottles and turn off the lights for some glow-in-the-dark fun.
We have previously written here about glow in the dark toys where they stand between.
Rock Paper Scissors
Best for: Fighting siblings. You have to play it with the two of you and you can do it wherever you are.
- Children stand face to face and form a hand into a fist.
- They add up to three and on the count of three the players simultaneously make one of the three gestures: a stone (fist closed); paper (open hand, palm down) or scissors (index and middle fingers outstretched, palm down).
The game is over when one player overpowers another:
- stone beats scissors (which then becomes blunt)
- scissors beat paper (paper can be cut
- and paper beats rock (paper can cover the rock and turn it off).
- Are both players using the same gesture? Then you have to count down again.
You can of course play this best of three times, or best of five. However much you want.
This one is nice for the kitchen table, the playroom or the floor of the living room.
- Two players sit or stand opposite each other, extending their right hands and grasping the fingers in a locked position with their thumbs on top of the closed fists.
- By moving the thumbs back and forth, the children count to three.
- At three o'clock, the thumb wrestling match begins where each player attempts to pin the opponent's thumb using his own thumb.
- The game is over when one child holds the other child's thumb for a count of five
Variant: more than two children? Hold a tournament. The player who outsmarts everyone else wins.
You can play it fine with the two of you, but it is best in larger groups.
- An older child or adult serves as the pastor, standing in front of the group and giving commands that other children should follow or ignore, depending on the words the pastor uses when giving the assignment.
- If he says “Command… ..” before the command, the players must follow those directions. Those who don't are out.
- If he gives the instruction without "command…." but just immediately tells them what to do and players follow the command anyway, those players are disabled.
The game ends when there is only one player left.
It is a game that trains the concentration of children, and in general there are three difficulty levels.
- The classic command gives four different commands: "blink", "hollow", "convex" and "flat". With command pinky you have to drum your pinkies on the edge of the table (that's why it is also called command pink). With hollow you have to place your hand with the back down on the table like a bowl, with a ball you have to place your hands flat on the table with the bottom of your hand towards the table to form a ball.
- In the second variation you stand together and the pastor can shout what he wants and everyone has to imitate this. There is much more variation in what to imitate and you have to think carefully.
- The third variation is more suitable for older children: whatever is said, do the opposite. When it is said, "Raise your right arm," the players raise the left. When “standing up”, the players sit down.
This was my list of fun games for 6 year olds. Hope there are some good ones you want to play with your kid (s).
A few classics that you may still know but no longer knew exactly how, and hopefully a few new ideas too!