The sneaky games kids make us play without us even realising it …

As we all know, kids love games. But getting their parents excited about playing them can be a bit of a challenge...

Which is why they like to play their own games with us – without our knowledge. Don’t believe me? Take a look…

Musical beds

While kids love ‘musical chairs’, they actually prefer ‘musical beds’. Musical beds is similar to the original game, minus the music. Plus, as the name implies, it’s played with beds, not chairs.

The game starts when the parents have fallen asleep.

The aim is to make each parent sleep in as many different beds, or get up and move as many times as possible throughout the night.

There are no rules about how a child gets a parent to move.

So, the child can wail incessantly and beg for the parent to sleep in their room. Or, they can go into the parent’s room and drag an unwilling parent back to their own room.

Alternatively, the child can hop into the parent’s bed without their knowledge. They must then take up as much room as possible, ensuring their parents end up feeling so squashed, they have no choice but to get up and go sleep in the child’s bed.

When that happens, the child scores a point.

Extra points can be gained by making the parent do more than one swap a night.

'Simon Says'

Ah, who didn’t love a game of ‘Simon Says’ as a child?

In case you don’t remember the rules, players can only obey a command if the person issuing it first says, ‘Simon Says’ (e.g. ‘Simon Says put your hands on your head’.)

If the person doesn’t say ‘Simon Says’ and you put your hands on your head anyway, you’re out.

Nowadays, children play ‘Simon Says’ all the time – they just don’t tell us that’s what they’re doing.

Think about it.

Whenever we ask our children to do anything – from ‘brush your teeth’ to ‘please stop pulling your sister’s hair’ – they act as though we haven’t spoken.

But they’re not actually ignoring us.

Instead, they’re in a constant, lifelong game of ‘Simon Says’. So unless we say ‘Simon Says’ before making our request, they will obviously ignore us.

Which means, by doing nothing we ever ask of them, they’re actually winning…

Guess What

You know the game ‘Guess Who?’, where you ask questions about the other person’s character to try to determine who they’ve chosen?

The truth is, kids actually prefer a similar game known as ‘Guess What?’.

‘Guess What?’ can be played when you’re wading through your child’s bag, or identifying goo on a child’s top, or, pretty much anytime there’s anything gross anywhere.

It’s really quite simple.

If you pick up a piece of soggy, rotten foodstuff that’s coated on the bottom of your child’s bag, the game begins.

Is it an old apple smooshed with a mouldy sandwich? Perhaps it’s some mandarine fused with rotten banana?

And is that old mashed banana on your baby’s top? Or crusted custard?

The choices are endless, making it the ideal game for the whole family.


Back in my day, the game of Twister involved a mat that had different coloured circles on it. Players were then asked to put, say, their left hand on the green circle, or their right foot on the yellow one, based on where the dial landed.

Nowadays, my kids love involving me in my own life-sized board of Twister, with the world as my mat.

Let me explain.

My son will ask where his shoes are, at the same moment that my four-year-old will scream for a tissue and my ten-year-old will ask for help relocating the backing of her earring.

As soon as I move in one direction, new requests get shouted out and more new ones and more new ones, ensuring the game keeps getting more challenging and my body keeps contorting in impossible directions.

And I thought Twister on a mat was tricky! Huh! They showed me…

So, next time you feel your kids are ignoring you, or you wonder just what in dog’s name that thing is in the bottom of their bag, don’t be annoyed.

Turns out, your kids aren’t trying to make your life unbearable. Instead, it’s all just fun and games to them…

Evelyn Lewin is a freelance writer, as well as a GP with a diploma in obstetrics and gynaecology

Image: Julie Adams