The most popular holiday games for kids in 2011

I am looking at all these holiday gift lists put out by all the huge retailers, lately. They feature the so-called “hottest holiday toys and games of the seasons.” And besides the ones coming up on Cool Mom Picks (hint) I haven’t found one list that bears any resemblance to toys and games we would actually consider buying.

(With all due respect to Justin Beiber and his amazing growing empire of plastic crap.)

You want to know what kids are really into? For toddlers, refer back to my Too Old for Chutes + Ladders post. For older kids, here are the games my 4 and 6 year-old daughters have been overheard playing this week. Have at it, Fisher Price and Mattel new product development team. We’ll consider it my holiday gift to you.


We are In a Boat Surrounded by Sharks
Objective: Push the laundry basket to its breaking limit.

Diego the Cross-Dressing Rag Doll
Objective: Deny that it is a dress; IT’S A TUNIC.

Baby Shower
Objective:Lead to a productive discussion with mommy and daddy as to the best age to have a baby. In NYC, the answer is 42.

Violet turns into a Blueberry
Objective: Put a balloon under a doll’s dress and roll her out the door

Humiliate the Cat
Objective: Humiliate the Cat using any means possible

humiliate pippi

The Orphan Shop
Objective: Buy some musical orphans, just like in the movie

Show Me Your Butt
Objective: Show people your butt.

I Tell a Riddle While You Tap Dance, Sage
Objective: Equal time

Jump in the Leaves at Papa’s House
Objective: Pretend to be a suburban kid

Chase the Chicken
Objective: Run around and chase the chicken “who is always Tibi. But don’t worry. She likes being the chicken.”

I am Jesus and you can be the Girl from Hanna Montana
Objective: Reenact the best parts of Godspell which mainly involves singing the first verse of Day by Day until Mommy’s ears bleed.

Pick Up all Those Toys Before I Count to Three
Objective: Just do it, please.


Which games am I missing that will be big at your house this holiday?



48 thoughts on “The most popular holiday games for kids in 2011”

  1. The Floor is Lava game: object jump on furniture to get around the househouse & don’t touch the floor.

  2. We have a game called Pointless Chase. Frankly, I’m surprised you didn’t witness it when you were here. Not only do our kids dig it, their friends come over and ask to play.

    The object is for the kids to make a complete circle around the first floor circuit without getting caught by Kyle. Each kid who makes it scores a point for the kid team. If Kyle catches them, he scores a point (kids under five are worth a quarter of a point). He then tosses them onto the sofa and tickles them. The stairs are base, but if a kid gets on base, then they’ve got to start their full circuit over again. Play to 10 or 20 points, depending on time.

    (I know; it’s called Pointless Chase but the object is to score points. That’s why it’s a kids’ game.)

    1. Ooh we do that without points. So it really is pointless. But I like the idea of making it pointy. Thanks Julie!

    1. My kids played Lava floor when they were 4 & 6 too. How funny. Clearly an opportunity for Hasbro there.

  3. Oh, there’s a really great one for babies called Crawl and Wave! A chubby baby crawls away from an adult who usually needs for him to stay still, then turns and waves with a giant smile on his face before crawling a little further and stopping to wave again. This one is big in our house right now.

    And for older kids, we have a fabulous one called Drop Things Down the Stairs and Pretend it was an Accident. Self-explanatory, that one.

    1. that’s a newly popular one at our house too.
      it usually ends with me hollaring – why are there 85 stuffed animals in the entryway??

      i think they like the challenge that the landing poses.

  4. My kids play a game we call “Ransom.” Basically, one kid lays something down and another kid picks it up and holds it for ransom. My middle child has gotten so good at it Im beginning to think she may need counseling. I don’t think she’s made her own bed in weeks or touched her own Halloween candy stash. I tried getting in on the game but my husband refused to pay up. I think I’ll coerce my middle child into becoming an agent for team mom.

  5. My kids’ favorite game is, “It’s my turn to get tickled Mom! Do it just like you did for him!” That one goes on for as long as I’ll let it, and I think it’s almost as much fun for me 🙂

    1. I know that game. But…I thought my kids invented it… Ah, the beautiful sound of children laughing. (Except when it’s that laughter that you just know will turn on a dime, like the laughter produced in Tickle Me Like You Just Tickled Him, Mommy!)

  6. Our favorite is a game called “What’s Different.”. It involves the kids cleaning the playroom thoroughly, and then us moving something and they have to figure out what’s different. Truly a win-win and they are clearly not smart enough to realize we just got them to clean.

    1. Great idea! I will be trying that “game” today. Thanks for the maybe clean-up time will not be all out war.

  7. These are great! Here’s one my kids invented:

    It’s super fun, and was completely a spur of the moment invention. It’s called “OH MY GOD OH MY GOD I DRANK POISON!”

    How to play: The children play Lego in the basement quietly, and then suddenly run upstairs crying and screaming the above name of the game. The parents (or adults present) run frantically around the rec room screaming ‘What did you drink? Show me! SHOW ME WHAT YOU DRANK!” while trying to stay upright while experiencing heart palpatations and thinking “ohmygodwhydidn’tiwritethepoisoncontrolnumberonthe phoneliketheytoldmeinprenatalclass?” Then, just when you’re sticking your finger down the throat of the screaming 6 year old, one of the other kids will come into the bathroom crying hysterically and hand you “the poison.”

    It will be Tobasco sauce.

    Which you will then use for the 5 Bloody Mary’s you’ll drink in quick succession.

    We’re thinking of geting a patent.

    (I have another fun one called “crack your head open on the radiatior” but I’ll save that one for next year.)

    1. My brother played “crack your head open” three times as a kid. I recommend you stick with the Poison game. If your heart can take it.

  8. We have one called, “How many times can we get mommy out of bed before she freaks out and starts yelling?” I’m betting they’ve made it to eight.

    And my son likes to play “Chase your sisters while your pants are around your ankles.” He’ll do well in a frat someday. (and I’m sure you really want to visit us now)

  9. new version of ‘hounds and hares’ except it is ‘parents and tweens’ – you find your tween boy by following the path of dirty clothes and sweaty equipment thrown on the floor through the house.

    and the ever popular ‘let’s see how many things I can steal and hide from my brother’s room’ without him knowing — very popular!

    Thanks for the laugh on what has been a very rough day of parenting and it is only 2 p.m.

  10. Mine play “I didn’t do it/ You did too”. Self explanatory. The winner is the one who is the loudest before Mama’s head explodes. “I” and “You” take turns in their roles.

  11. Great. Now I’m stuck on Day By Day.

    We’re very familiar with “Show Me Your Butt.”

    For the Boy in someone’s household, try, “Whack Your Sister Over The Head With Your Light Saber” Good times.

  12. My daughter is 15 months old, and right now we’re stuck on “What’s This on My Fingers?” Which is where she approaches one of us with an unidentified substance on her fingers, and we need to use our senses, i.e., smell, sight, and yes, sometimes taste, to figure out what it is.

    I don’t like “What’s This on My Fingers?”. I look forward to when she’s old enough to play some of the other games you suggested, which sound so much more fun. At least, for me.

    1. Oh Jayme, just know that the next game after “What’s This on my Fingers?” is “Watch Me Put My Fingers In My Mouth.”

  13. My daughters have been playing “Mom I’m Almost Finished with My Homework Can I Go to Megan’s” (Objective: convince Mom that 30 math problems don’t count) “Those Are My Shoes, NO, They’re Not, YES, They Are” (Objective: convince your sister that those are your shoes even though They’re Not), “OMG I’m So Hungry That Doesn’t Sound Good Why Is There Never Anything I Like?” (Objective: see how many suggestions you can turn down before Mom stops offering), and “You Don’t Know What It’s Like, Mom” (Objective: convince Mom that mean girls, boring classes, heartache, marijuana, and sex were all Completely Different when she was your age).

  14. We have another version of a laundry basket game, called I AM A ROBOT/TURTLE, SEE HOW MANY THINGS I CAN CRASH INTO, in which one or both of my sons don a laundry basket and crawl around smasing into furniture while I run around telling them to quit it before something falls off a table or shelf.

    We also have an updated version of the famous Brady game – MOM ALWAYS SAID NOT TO THROW THE BALL IN THE HOUSE where either a balloon or ball gets tossed back and forth in the living room until I freakin’ lose my mind!

  15. My eldest likes to play ‘barebuttmonkey’. It involves her running around the house naked. The point is to flash as much naked as you can too the neighbours. I have a hilarious video of her playing the game in the garden chanting ‘naked-naked-naked’. Can’t wait until she is 14…

  16. Dry Erase Board – Ordinary board. Ordinary markers. Add imagination. So much more fun than crayons apparently.
    Fill The Bottle – Really, just an excuse to play with water in the sink.
    Clean the Floor – Have child lay on floor in clean jammies with legs up. Spin child around in circles and/ or drag around floor. Good clean fun for the whole family.

  17. Can I just say? It is really cute that you refer to 4- and 6-year-olds as “older kids”!

    Mine are 7 and 9, and their latest games re-enact apps off the iPad. I can’t believe Mattel hasn’t nabbed this tie-in market… The 7yo has been building zoos with her stuffed animals, and the 9yo has been building the medieval armor he learned about in Dungeon Hunter (and whacking his sister’s zoo animals with it).

  18. So I went back and looked at your Too Old for Chutes and Ladders post and nearly choked on my sweet potato (eating lunch at my desk, natch). My son just turned two today and I can so relate to each one – especially the poo activity. I’ve been covered in poo from diaper changes so many times that I am starting to think of it as sort of an (smelly) accessory. My husband gags and chokes when he gets grabbed by poopy little fingers. Me? Meh.

    And throwing things? What could be more fun than throwing a SOLID WOODEN toy (damn Montessori for telling us these were better toys than the cheap plastic s#$t we used to buy) at some one’s head or even more fun from the top of the stairs at some unsuspecting adult (cue maniacal toddler laughter)?

    Finally another favorite – let’s play lick the “steering wheel” on the race car shaped grocery shopping cart and watch mommy shriek in horror, shove a hand sanitizer-soaked baby wipe in tot’s mouth and pray to the Almighty that said toddler hasn’t picked up Ebola, E-Coli or some other communicable disease. Thanks for the Monday AM laugh.

    1. Thanks for the comment Portia. I can only assure you that they outgrow the poo game. But alas, they replace it with the Look at My Butt Game.

      The fun never ends.

  19. Popular at our house: Baby Blizzard.

    Objective: Save a dozen or so dolls from hypothermia in an oncoming blizzard by rushing them from place to place and speaking in low, dramatic tones.

    You can’t put that in a box.

  20. Break The Egg. Fry The Bacon. Anything that involves violent trampoline jumping and yelling. These are hilarious, my brother also often played the Crack Open My Head game growing up, scary.

  21. Apparently Miles has heard about the “humiliate the cat” game, because that’s definitely a favorite.

    Pretend daddy is a dragon. And then chase him.
    Pretend mommy is Vlad (the eagle from Horton Hears a Who). Then chase her.
    (Sense a pattern?)

  22. Me and my 14months old plays, “Give me that or i’ll cry” . I know it’s not a fun game and i’ll have to endure my baby crying if he wants something that isn’t for him.

  23. Exploring physics

    Objective:- Throw variuos items into the ceiling fan to see which direction travel, observe distance propelled and listen to the cool ‘CLANG’ sound.

  24. “It’s not fair little brother gets (fill in the blank)…” game, by my 10 yr old daughter.
    Guess what? If we are playing the ‘we have to be equal and fair with every single thing to our kids’ game, then…you have an expensive guitar & guitar lessons that you didn’t follow through on for a year. We rented a violin & paid for lessons for 2 yrs, then you got bored. You have taken pottery classes, dance classes, this class, that class. If you want to be fair I am going to have to hand your little brother about $1500 in cash
    To which my daughter replies…I don’t think I could handle that. Never mind.

  25. I just discovered your blog. It is fabulous. My sister and I also played lava floor when I was little. It was really just an excuse to jump on the couches and I LOVED IT! My little guy enjoys roadways on the kitchen floor via painter’s tape via Pinterest. 🙂

  26. Our favorite go-to game is simply called “Mom.” The premise is simple: one child says “mom” repeatedly and continually until one of you spontaneously combusts.

    1. Oh, we play that one too! Sometimes with variations like “Mama!” or “Mommy!” It makes me love my kids just a little bit less…

  27. My kids have just started developing the “I’d Really Prefer Not to Go To Bed If It’s All the Same To You” game. It’s pretty cool, because they get to see how at 8pm, if they’re not in bed, I turn into Bellatrix Lestrange. (This is next on the list of things to discuss with my therapist…)

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