The Games we Play


One of the very best things about being a parent is being given permission to act stupid.

Obviously, I’m stupid on a daily basis in a thousand ways, but being a parent means you can be stupid in the most fun ways possible – making up games, inventing challenges, and generally being an idiot for your child’s entertainment.

A couple of years ago, I wrote about some of the games Flea and I most loved to play.

Some of those games are still much-loved favourites – Stop Moaning, in particular, never gets old. If you’ve never played Stop Moaning, basically, it involves both sitting on a double bed, and you asking your child a question they’ll feel compelled to answer (“What would you like for your birthday?” is our current favourite). Wait until your child is a couple of words into their answer, then push them over and say, “Stop moaning”. Trust me. Hours of entertainment.

But Flea is now nine years old and we’ve developed some new games over the past year. And I thought this was the perfect time to capture them for posterity here on the blog. Plus, if you’re getting a bit stuck for ideas of what to do over the summer hols, then feel free to steal any of our stupid games, or adapt them in your own stupid ways.

Game 1: Guess What I’m Drawing 

How to Play: Lie on your front on the bed, and challenge your child to draw a detailed scene from a movie on your back with their finger, and then write the title, also using their finger. If you can’t guess the movie first time, get your child to draw the scene again, perhaps applying a little more pressure. Some people might consider this to be a sneaky way to get an innocent child to give you a back rub. I couldn’t possibly comment.

Game 2: Can You Kick It? 

How to Play: Sometimes, the most simple games are the best. So Flea loves (honest, she does) this game, where she tries to run past me, and I try to kick her. I like to think this is a more energetic version of one of her favourite games when she was five – “Run Into My Hand” which involved me saying, “I can’t be bothered to hit you. I’ll hold out my hand, you run into it really fast, okay?” and Flea would do it. Over and over and over again.

Game 3: I Can Only Hear You When You’re Singing 

How to Play: During term time, Flea and I play this every Monday. Because nothing makes a Monday less painful than only acknowledging your child if they communicate through song. Lately, though, we’ve refined this to focus more exclusively on light opera. It’s a beautiful thing to observe, if not to listen to. But beware – this is the game that once led to Flea singing a song about spanking monkeys in our local supermarket. Which is totally the sort of thing that could happen to anyone.

Game 4: The Actor’s Studio 

How to Play: Regular blog readers will know that my daughter is a fan of the dramatic. To say the least. In recent months, we have devised our own version of In the Actor’s Studio, in which we demonstrate how to act out certain key emotions, and the other person has to guess the emotion. Many of our dramas revolve around cheese. I’m not sure why. For posterity, I have filmed some of these sessions. I literally can’t wait for Flea’s 18th birthday to share them with her friends. “Devastation because there is no cheese left” is gonna bring the house down.

Game 5: Close Your Eyes and Guess Who Hit You 

How to Play: If you’re a two parent family, this game is endlessly entertaining. As a single parent household, our version of the game involves Flea closing her eyes while I throw a soft toy at her head. She then has to guess which soft toy it was. For legal reasons, you should probably only play this game with soft toys.

Game 6: Slap Me 

How to Play: To play this game, you have to hold your hand up, in front of your chest, facing down to the ground. One of you is the slapper, the other the slappee. Taking turns, try and slap the other person’s hand before they can move it away. Possibly, this game isn’t a positive moral activity. But it’s really funny, especially because I can only win when I cheat. This game frequently involves use of the sentence: “Look at that squirrel!” 

Game 7: Tum or Bum Drum 

How to Play: I like to think this is one of our Most Stupid Games Ever. And we’ve invented a lot of stupid games. To play this game, you should be lying down, on a bed is fine. Close your eyes, and invite your child to drum out a beat, either on their butt, or their belly. You get a point if you guess correctly what part of the body was being drummed. We find that it’s often useful to drum your opponent comprehensively all over their body just to verify the results. It’s more scientific that way.

Game 8: Copa Cabana Club of Death 

How to Play: First, I’ll assume you know the song “Copa Cabana”. And if you don’t? Well, you’re dead to me. This game involves singing new verses to the song that involve as gruesome a death as possible. So rather than, “Her name was Lola, she was a showgirl”, you might sing “Her name was Martha, her shark’s called Arthur…” and the game is to think of the most disgusting way ever for Martha to die. In rhyme. So: “She used to think it was quite sweet, right until it ate her feet”. Here’s one of Flea’s efforts from last week:


So there you have it. Eight thoroughly non-positive-parenting, non-educational games that we love anyway.

What are your favourites?

21 thoughts on “The Games we Play”

  1. Crying with laughter here. Love how most of your games involve violence 🙂 Must tell you about the time my daughter ended up in A&E after we played a game where I pretended to hit her with an invisible hammer 🙂

  2. I love this post. We are definitely stealing ‘I can only hear you when you sing’ and ‘close your eyes and guess who hit you’, inspired and entertaining, good job Whittles!

  3. I too am going to try the ‘I can only hear you when you sing’ trick-definitely a potential winner.
    We have the very silly-clap a song. You have to guess which song is being clapped. Top tip though-not to be played with tired or irritable children who get annoyed with you when you keep guessing wrongly!

  4. Even at 19 and 13 my children will occasionally join in with “I spy in my minds eye” – a sort of Mornington Crescent version of I spy, totally unwinnable, and that game where you go to the shop and remember a list of things, except with noises babies make instead of things from the shop. Love the singing one, and will be requiring my son to act out moods if he wants a response in the near future.

  5. Love the games! We have a version of slaps but we also play “Hips” typically when walking home from school where there’s hedges on either side of the walkway. Walk side by side and take it in turns to use hips to bop the other person sideways and if possible into the hedge for extra points. Yes, much easier for an adult to win due to height advantage, but its always rewarding to watch a small child trying their best to wop you into a hedge and then resort to out and out pushing you sideways whilst other parents look and either tut at you thinking how badly behaved your child is (I look at it as how I’m encouraging competitive spirit) or giving me a secret smile knowing full well what fun we’re having and that they surely have their own version 🙂

  6. My daughters love all those games now that they are maturing they are becoming fond of board games and many times we all play as a family =)

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