Some of these we’ve invented but not all. These are the ”games” beyond the ones you bring along like Yatzi and Löjliga Familjen (Happy Families). Keeping young children busy is part of the challenge when travelling for such a long time together. Try them…
Pineapple Tennis – a game we invented in the pool in Isla Mujeres. You need a ball and pool with a children’s part and an adult part. Ideal to play with 1-2 children in the kiddie pool and 1-2 adults in the deep end. You throw the ball (ours was yellow, hence the name) over to the other side. The other team can either
- Hit it back before it hits the water (like tennis) to the other side of the pool
- They catch the ball, then have all the time to throw it somewhere really tricky
- The ball lands in the water on their side, then you say out loud “one-two skip a few ninety nine – a hundred” and they have to swim to the ball and throw it back to the other side before you’ve finished counting.
This was very fun for all ages because it was actually challenging for both sides. Even though the adults have stronger ball skills, they have a huge deep pool to cover. Really good way to get them to feel comfortable in the water.
Hide the smurf – When we left, each child was allowed to bring their own backpack and choose small toys to bring for quiet moments and the flights. Edward brought small plastic smurfs along. You hide it somewhere outdoors, then the others have to find it. The clues you can give are fish, butterfly or bird depending on how high up you’ve hidden it.
Mind games – car journeys and sitting at dinner also need to be filled with games in our family.
- We play ”I’m thinking of an animal” where the others have to ask less than 20 questions you can only answer yes or no to, before guessing.
- Characters game – one person says a character in a film, cartoon or book we all know and the others have to in turn say other characters from the same story until none are left.
- Quizzes – constant questions and guessing games, about animals we’ve seen, Spanish words they’ve learnt and stories we know.
- Super heroes – Edward’s favourite game, either guess the superhero or invent super heroes with strange superpowers based on people we know. So for example, Alexander being a baby is called Dribble Man, he dribbles everywhere so thieves slip up and then he crawls on top of them to stop them.
Sand games – making castles, finding shells of course, but also using the sand to write and draw, teching edward how to write each of the letters and playing naughts and crosses (3 i rad).
In the water there are loads of games and activities!
- Teaching to swim – Elisa learned how to swim by herself here, so a lot of time was spent practising! Edward of course now desperately wants to learn. We’re not at all qualified teachers but the best trick is for them to get comfortable with their head under the water so that when they swim their head is very low in the water, otherwise they try and lift their face, which makes swimming impossible.
- The pelican game – imagine you’re a family of seals swimming around in the sea with evil pelicans that swoop down, eat your fish and attack you. That’s it!
- Jumping school – take it in turns to do some creative jumps from the side of the pool the others have to copy. Or give scores out of 10 for creative jumps.
- Rocket – throwing the children up in the air and either catching them if they can’t swim or into the deep end if they can. Adding the rocket countdown and giving them challenges to catch a toucan makes it more fun
- Wave rolling – lying on the edge of the beach where the waves crash, you roll back and forth, getting tossed about. Very fun for Julian + kids but expect getting covered in sand and getting salt water in your eyes and mouth with rough waves with some tears. Kids should wear armbands.
- Missing the bus – running in the shallow sea holding hands pretending you’re going to miss the bus. That’s it! But the kids love it…
Drawing games – each person gets to draw something with minimal lines, and you have to guess what it is. Can be very difficult: here is Edward’s drawing of an ant’s bum:
Diaries and logs – Elisa is writing a diary of her holiday, both writing down some of the experiences or drawing them, and taking photos with the ipad, to be able to tell friends when we get home. Edward brought a teddy from his daycare to send home pictures and stories about what we do every day. Both of these keep the kids busy and will be really fun to look back on, also fun to see how Elisa loves taking photos.