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How to entertain children

Updated: Aug 19, 2023

One of the daunting tasks of new teachers is being thrust in front of a class of 20-30 kids and being expected to engage them. You have about 20 seconds before they lose interest and start going crazy. Without a plan you can soon be overwhelmed. But it’s not just teachers that can find themselves in this predicament. Anyone might be there at some stage, running a kids birthday party, having a very popular child, leading a youth group or kids club or even your own children. The ideas listed here work for 2 to 50 children and can kill some valuable time and offer lots of fun for the children in your care. All these games use nothing more than your hands. They’re quick to learn and play but can offer lots of fun and laughter.

Hand games:

Paper scissors rocks: Have children form pairs and turn and face each other.

Play a game of paper scissors rock. To add some excitement, play elimination. The loser must become the supporter of the person who beat them and follow them around to their next opponent cheering for them to win. As more get eliminated the lines will grow. When there is just 2 left all the kids will be cheering for one of the players.

1234: Have students form pairs and face each other. Say 1, and have both players place one of their palms, cupped and face up towards the other person. Say 2, and both players raise the pointer finger of their other hand. Say 3 and each player puts their pointer finger in the palm of the other player. Say 4 and the players must try and pull their finger away while trying to close their palm and catch the other players’ finger. As you continue this game vary the timing of the numbers, especially when you say 4.

Knuckles / slaps: Players face each other. In slaps they put other hands together like they are praying but point them towards the other player. The tips of the fingers should be touching the other player. Youngest player starts. He needs to take one hand away from the other and try and slap the other players hands. If he slaps them, he gets another go. If he misses, the other player now has a turn to try and slap him. At any stage the player who is not slapping can try and move their hands away but must come back to touching tips each time. Knuckles is the same game but instead of having open hands you close one hand in a fist and line up your knuckles with the other player. Now you are trying to hit the top of the other players hand with your knuckles. (Warning: This can hurt more than slaps so make sure it doesn’t get nasty).

Thumb wrestles: Players find a partner and face each other. They lock hands with the other player holding on with 4 fingers each. This allows the thumb to be free and roam around. On go, players try and pin the other players thumb under their own thumb. You can play first to 3 and then change partners.

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