One of the hardest things about being a Mom in our current global pandemic is being at home All. Day. Long. Every. Single. Day. It’s not that being at home is all that bad, but without the option of going to the park, to meet up with friends for play dates, and to be cut short of kids being at school with their peers, parents have had to face “Will you play with me?” a LOT more often. First things first, I love to play with my kids. I love to watch them explore, discover, explain what they have explored and discovered in the most hilarious way, and to observe how amazing their imagination truly is. Second, I also love when they do these things with other kids. They NEED peer interactions and sometimes, I’m just tired. Ok, ok, a lot of times, I’m just tired. I say “yes” to their sweet playmate question most of the time, but lately I have felt the need to turn the tables a bit and ask them, “Will YOU play with ME? And I get to pick the game!”

There are a few games we have tried out lately, and they all secretly end with “Mom Wins!” As you reach level expert, you will learn how to play them to the perfect point of Mom wins AND kids have fun. Do beware though, kids HATE losing. You will have to be very strategic. They will have to feel like they are winning (or at least having fun) in order for YOU to get to win (I mean “play”) again and again. Good luck as you master the games below!

Hide and Seek

I know what you’re thinking. They already know and love Hide and Seek. How is this a “Mom Wins” game? Remember, I said you have to be strategic! What kid says, “no” to a game of Hide and Seek? They already know the game, but what they don’t know is that you are becoming an expert in being a playmate, and your version of the classic hunting game has reached a new level as well. You must either be a Hopeful Hider (HH) or Sedentary Seeker (SS), and you will win in whichever side you are assigned provided you “play” correctly.

First things first, an HH is actually hoping to NOT get found (at least not quickly, please don’t use this as an excuse to go MIA- that’s too far). Kids are pretty dang good at seeking (if you doubt me think about your hidden candy stash they keep managing to sniff out), but here is where you can use your incredible mom knowledge of their fears to help you out. For instance, my son hates the dark. He will avoid it at all costs. As a HH, I use this intel to create the perfect path to a peaceful place to hide out. I turn off the lights in the hallway, room, and closet I am located in just before I snuggle up in the back corner behind my suitcase. Eventually my son will decide to venture into the dark abyss, but only after looking everywhere else that is well lit. He will then take his time ensuring all the lights are turned on before worming his way through the clothes to seek me out. He may or may not actually find me behind the suitcase, but even if he does, the amount of alone time I scored- priceless. Quick tip- to ensure your child allows you to be a repeat HH, they need to seek you in a timely manner. Know their limits or you will sadly only get this luxury once.

Now, as an SS, you still get to be sedentary, but you will need to use your voice. Kids are desperately listening and waiting for the countdown to “Ready or not, here I come.” So, sorry, you still have to do that part. You will also need to call out where you are “going” next every so often, followed by “nope, not there” to make it seem like you are really looking. Generally speaking, kids can be found within a few minutes, either due to predictability or their unconstrained giggles, you are simply winning by making it take extra long.

Be sure in whatever role you are in play must end just BEFORE the point of frustration. Kids want to find you, and they want to be found. What you want is points for playing and EXTRA points for the rest you get during the game.

Restaurant

This one was actually initiated by my daughter and quickly became my most favorite game of all time! It is pretty simple and pretty amazing for the “customer” (you!) How to play- The child is the wait staff, takes your order, and brings you REAL food/drink requests, while the adult gives their order, and then enjoys the delivery brought straight to their chosen place of comfort.

Though this is an amazing game, to play there are a few disclaimers to ensure the most successful blend of fun and luxury.

  • Wait staff (kids) must be able to reach all parts of the order without help from the adult (I mean if you have to actually get up to get something, the entire purpose is kind of defeated).
  • Avoid orders that involve pouring of liquids or hard to clean up items. Mom doesn’t win if she’s cleaning up Diet Coke from the kitchen floor. Safe bets are cans or bottles (with the understanding that cans may need a moment to settle before opening. You’ve been warned.)
  • Be willing to eat the kids’ snacks since they are usually at a more reachable level. Pickiness is not the goal here. Rest, relaxation, and SNACKS equal a W!

A few ways to extend time in this game- have your child make their name tag, create a menu, and design a sign for their restaurant! If your child is currently in the plastic kitchen phase of life, you can modify this activity to still remain on your comfy couch, but you will have to wait a few years to reach the full potential of the game. We’re rooting for ya and hoping your painted cupcake soon becomes a REAL sweet treat!

Dance Party

I have to begin by admitting that this game has a completely different goal from the other two. Mom definitely still wins, but the goal is slightly different. Dance Party is all about getting the kids (and you) up and moving in a fun activity that secretly has everyone burning calories (which is especially beneficial if you recently played a mad game of Restaurant!) YouTube has great dance videos, especially if you search for Kidz Bop Dance Along videos. The songs are recent pop songs (turned appropriate for young ears) and the dance moves are easy enough for kids to follow. Now, I’m not admitting that all the songs are actually easy to dance to, but they will certainly get your blood flowing, your heart pumping, and all of your family laughing hysterically. Go get your groove on, Mama!

Some of the sweetest memories our kids will have of us will be the moments we played with them. They need us, now more than ever, to be their playmate, but we are also not expected to fill that role during all of their waking minutes. Please do not beat yourself up if you find you are just plain tired. We are all there together, well socially distantly together that is. Make each day a nice blend of active play, active rest, playful rest, and restful play. Most importantly make each day about your kiddos AND YOU! We will only stay sane and happy if we all stay sane and happy, and that happens the most when Mom Wins! You can check out other fun ideas here and don’t forget to print your free summer bucket list printable!

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