Three Indoor Group Games

3 indoor group games.jpg

It’s been  a long cold winter here and my daycare children and I are a bit tired of being stuck inside for most of the day.  It’s sometimes hard to be upbeat and full of positive energy for the children when you don’t feel it within yourself.  What’s a tired daycare provider to do?  Grab some new inspiration!

Today, I’d like to introduce you to Matt from Team Building Activities for Kids Central.  He is here to give us some new, fresh ideas to liven up our daycare day and get our kids laughing and having fun together.


Hello, readers of How to Run a Home Daycare! It’s Matt from Team Building Activities for Kids Central. Jana was kind enough to let me guest post on her blog, and I’m very excited to share some of our daycare activities with you!

It can be difficult to plan an entire day’s worth of games and exercises–especially when your target audience is a group of little ones who have a ton of energy and very small attention spans! AND, it can be a challenge to make sure that those activities provide opportunities for social growth and emotional development.

So, we’ve put together a few activities that provide great exercise, involve very little clean-up, and use a minimal amount of equipment. Most importantly, they’re upbeat, promote creativity and interaction, and are very, very simple. We hope you enjoy–and if you have any activities that work well in your daycare, please feel free to share them in the comments section below!

Activity #1: Freeze, Silly! Improv games such as “Freeze, Silly!” have grown very popular over the last few years, and with good reason: they encourage creative thought, promote healthy interaction, and they’re GREAT for groups of three or more. The activity can be used outdoors, but is great for the winter months when everyone is stuck inside and needs to move around a bit!

How to Play: The daycare leader makes a “start” sound that lets participants know the game has started. The sound can be a whistle, a clap, or a silly noise–just something to let the kids know that the game has started. Participants are then encouraged to make any kind of movement they choose–they can squat down like a frog, make silly faces, or spin their arms like helicopters. After a couple of moments of movement (five to ten seconds is good), the daycare leader will tap one of the children on the shoulder. That child will then yell out, “Freeze, silly!” and all of the other participants turn and mimic the shape that that child is making.

Some Helpful Hints: The game can be high- or low-energy, and usually fizzles out pretty quickly (so it’s great if you need to fill up five or ten minutes before snacktime). To switch things up a little bit, the leader can call “Freeze, silly!” and then say, “Everyone make a shape like Tom! Now everyone make a shape like Maria!” and so on. Sometimes children get a little confused at the start of the game, and simply make the shape of the person next to them.

Activity #2: Animal Sounds. This game is super-silly, and if one of your children is in a funky mood, this activity might be the perfect antidote! The game is a winner for a couple of different reasons: it allows participants get a little silly, it involves animals, and it usually makes the daycare leader laugh. Score!

How to Play: Children sit in a circle, or if there are enough participants, they line up in rows of two or three or four, with enough space between them so that one child (called The DJ) can walk through. After everyone is situated, each child is asked to choose a nonsense sound. It can be an animal noise, a car horn, a doorbell… you name it! Children are encouraged to get creative. If someone can’t choose a noise, you can assign them a “ping!” or a “wheee!” or a “honk!” or a “toot!” After everyone has a sound, the DJ goes around and pats each participant on the head. He or she is encouraged to do so at random, rather than following a “duck-duck-goose” type pattern, and can (gently) pat people’s heads as quickly and as often as desired. When a participant gets patted, s/he makes her sound–with giggles to follow!

Some Helpful Hints: Kids *love* this game, and it can be a great reward for good behavior (we’ve even seen a bunch of adults laugh themselves to tears doing it at a conference!). To switch things up a bit, you can have participants choose someone else’s sound.

Activity #3: Sharks in the Water! This is a classic imagination game, similar to “The Floor Is Made of Lava,” that kids understand intuitively. The stakes are high on this game, so it’s up to you to make sure everyone is safe!

How to Play: The daycare leader will use twine or yarn to make a square or a circle on the floor. The area inside of the string is the island, and the area outside of it is shark-infested waters. The concept is similar to “Musical Chairs”–the moderator plays music or sings a song, and when the music runs out, the kids have to jump to safety inside the string. Once everyone is inside the string, make the shape a little smaller and play again. Whoever doesn’t make it into the string when the music stops is eaten by sharks!

Some Helpful Hints: If you have some daycare attendees who are a bit on the sensitive side, you can take the competitive element out of the game, and see how small you can make the shape. Once it becomes too small to fit everyone, you start over again. Finally, parents might be very worried when they learn you’re exposing their children to sharks, so be sure to remind them it’s just a game.

Final Thoughts

At first glance, the games seem like a great way to pass the time–but they’re so much more important than that! Group games encourage interaction skills, social growth, and emotional regulation. Including them provides great benefit for the children–so be sure to tell parents about the developmental aspects of the activities. They’ll love to hear it! And if you’d like to learn about some of our activities, swing by our site for some other group exercises!

Finally, a big THANK YOU to Jana! There is such incredible material on the site, and I’m thrilled to contribute. You rock!



Thanks Matt!  Here are a few of my kids playing “Freeze Silly.”

Have a great time being silly and having fun with your daycare children this week everyone.



  1. Belle Arwood says

    Great tips on successfully running a fun filled day care center. These tips are indeed useful and wonderful!

  2. Thanks for sharing these great tips for running a fun filled day care center. These tips are very much helpful to make kids in day care laugh. And also we can try some games in which whole class of day acre can participate without making groups.