The tired mum’s guide to playing with your kids when you just can’t anymore

Posted in Learning and Development.

When you have small children, the lure of the couch is the clarion call of slumber. I used to doze off during The Teletubbies and to be honest it was like being in a stoner’s dream. I remember being half asleep and subconsciously excited at the prospect of the Nu-Nu coming out of the cupboard. (FYI: the Nu-Nu was The Teletubbies’ vacuum cleaner. It only came out every other episode and as such, there was much fanfare around its appearance.)

Anyway, my point is, to save you trying to “rest your eyes” during The Teletubbies (and to spare you from the subsequent stoner dreams) here are 11 games you can play with your kid without getting off the couch.

1. Pick my pocket

In this game, you lie face down on the couch with your wallet in your back pocket. Your kid has to try to get your wallet out of your pocket without you noticing. You can stretch this one out for a good hour if your kid is a really bad pick pocket. Every time you notice, he has to start over.

2. Doctor and patient

Lie on the couch and invent a really complex ailment. Your child must diagnose the ailment by asking you what your symptoms are. Chances are, unless your kid actually has a medical degree, he’ll never guess. So this game can conceivably go on forever. So for example, if you decide you have Ebola, it’s pretty likely that your kid will never guess.

Mother and child asleep on couch - feature

3. Can you guess if I’m really asleep?

This one is a no-brainer. Just go to sleep. If your kid guesses you are really asleep. Congratulations, he wins!

4. Mission impossible

In this exciting spy game, you lie on the couch and your kid has to sneak through the living room without you noticing them. Relax and enjoy the sound of your child trying to be really, really, really quiet for once.

5. Reveal the fossil

You are an age-old fossil buried beneath the earth. Your child is an archaeologist who must dig you out. But you are very fragile and you must be slowly and painstakingly revealed by ‘brushing’ the earth away. Give your child a large makeup brush and instruct him to reveal the fossil by gently brushing all the imaginary dirt away. This will result in a very relaxing feather-brushing massage for you.

6. Live storytelling competition

If you have two kids, they must each tell you stories and you decide who is the winner. Your job is to just lie there and listen. Kids have no concept of how long a story should be so the stories will probably be long and rambling and have no end. Tell them you need to close your eyes to really listen.

Two boys playing on couch - feature

7. Charades

Your child has to act out the plot of their favourite movie, in mime only. Your job is to guess the movie. Just feign ignorance until you’ve had enough rest.  

8. See if you can camouflage me

In this game you lie on the couch and your child must camouflage you in cushions and blankets. This game is excellent in winter and will result in you being cocooned in a toasty sleep cave for at least 20 minutes.

9. Homicide detective

You are a dead body and your child is the homicide detective who must document the evidence and work out how you died. To be clear: there will be a lot of documenting involved: photos, drawings, measuring how far you are from everything else in the room. The documenting will be endless and exhaustive.

10. The “hunt and destroy” vacuuming game

Your child is a famous scientist and the world is under siege from a deadly substance known as ‘Dusterium’.  You are the leader of the free world. The couch is the oval office and you cannot leave until all of the Dusterium has been hunted and destroyed. Your child must use the special contraption he has invented ‘The Vacuum Plasmatron Prototype 5’ (i.e. the vacuum cleaner) to eradicate all of the Dusterium. You, the leader of the free world and everyone in the free world, will not be safe until all the Dusterium has been found and eradicated.

11. Dr Sock

Your child is a brilliant philanthropist named Dr Sock who is determined to find all the lonely single socks around the house and reunite them with their rightful pair. It’s a moving game with a very uplifting ending. You are the generous billionaire benefactor who is funding his important work. As such he must report back to you in your mansion – the couch – when he has reunited all the lonely socks in the house.

Once the socks are located they must be returned to their natural habitat, the washing machine. It will be a moving moment to see them all happily swirling around together in the spin cycle and you might want to prepare an uplifting song to accompany this momentous occasion.


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