One morning when we were stuck indoors my attempt to redirect the kids' boundless energy away from chaos and towards constructive creativity resulted in a pillow-hopping game with my 6 year old. It evolved into a simple magnet wand activity for which I made up rules as we went along. As our indoor magnet game grew, I continued to make the object of the game more complex, calling each new task a "level" in the manner of a real life video game.
What surprised me was that as soon as my older son saw what was going on in the living room with his brother, he wanted to join in, too. The next 30 minutes ended up being exponentially less chaotic than the previous 30 minutes, thus substantially saving my sanity. (Note: this post contains affiliate links.)
Disclaimer: responsible adult supervision when an activity involves magnets is essential. Magnets are potentially dangerous and extremely hazardous if swallowed. If your child ingests a magnet seek medical help immediately.
What you need:
A magnet wand. Kids LOVE magnet wands. I'm not kidding, here. We get sooooo much mileage out of our magnet wand. We have this sturdy Flexible Magnetic Pick-Up Tool and it has been fantastic.
Various magnetic (or metal objects) from around the house. We used these magnetic wooden alphabet letters, as well as our beloved Magnetic Wooden Blocks.
I'm listing some of the levels of our game below to help you get the idea, but you can and should do whatever works best for you in the moment. Consider our levels and magnet game objectives as inspiration.
How we played:
Note: all of these objectives had to be accomplished without touching the floor. So, the boys stood or walked on the pillows.
Level 1: Pick up all the magnets with your wand and put them in the bucket.
Level 2. Pick up magnets with each foot on a different pillow.
Level 3. Pick up all the magnets, two at a time.
Level 4. Pick up all the magnets, 3 at a time.
Level 5. I put all the number magnets in a center bucket. For each turn, the player picked a number with his magnet wand, then he had to pick up all the magnets that number at a time. For example, if he choose an 8, he had to gather 8 letters and/or blocks at a time.
Level 6. You must pick up all the magnets, standing on each pillow at least once.
Level 7. You must pick up only square blocks and build a structure without touching the blocks with your hands. (We did several variations of this idea. Such as: pick up all the square blocks, pick up only long skinny blocks, etc.)
To be honest, I know we did more than just these levels, but I can't remember the exact rules of each level. We just made it up as we went along and that was the fun of it.
We only have one magnet wand and so my 10 year old fashioned his own. However, he was clearly jealous of his brother's superior equipment! Are your kids up for the challenge of an indoor magnet game? Get our your magnet wand and give it a go.
One sanity saving idea is not enough. Visit my gigantic list of indoor activities for kids for more!
More great ideas here:
What a fun game! My son would love this! Anything with magnets is a hit, I've discovered! (or shooting)