Monday, May 13, 2019

11 Fun Hand Games Your Kids Will Love

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Looking for fun hand games for kids? Try one of these hand games! They're perfect games to play when bored or with friends and include classic games like rock paper scissors.

A lot of kids struggle with waiting in line or lengthy waits in the waiting room for appointments. They might be trying to grab things off the shelf while you wait to check out. They might beg to watch something on your phone or complain about being bored. They might get restless and fidgety and just need something for their hands to do.

Some days you can only keep them preoccupied for so long. Or until the snacks run out...So sometimes you need something to keep them busy and distracted. Something quick. Something easy. Well, that's where these hand games come in. Dare I say they're handy? Hahaha...see what I did there? 

The best part is that these fun hand games require nothing more than two sets of hands (although you can play some of these games with more than two players!). They're perfect games for on the go or for when you get (unexpectedly) stuck somewhere with a long wait.

Fun & easy hand games for kids to play when bored or with friends

Hand Games for Kids to Play When Bored or to Play With Friends

All of these games for kids require two players (minimum) and use just their hands to play. They're called hand games for a reason...So no fancy materials are required!

These games are perfect for kids to play when bored, especially while waiting in line, waiting at the doctor's office, riding in a shopping cart, etc. They can also play these hand games with friends at school, during recess, on bus rides, and whatnot. I remember playing a lot of these myself during recesses as a kid. They're great for kids of all ages, even toddlers can play most of them.

Games to play with your hands are great for kids of all ages and can be played anywhere and anytime

Here are 11 of our favorite hand games to play:

1. Easy, Peasy Hand Stacking Games

You can play this game with as many kids as you'd like: two, three, four...or more! To play, you simply take turns stacking one hand (palm down) on top of the other person's hand, going higher and higher and alternating your right hand and left hand. 

Whoever's hand is on the bottom of the stack removes their hand and places it on top of the stack. Then whoever's hand is now on the bottom goes next. You keep repeating and stacking hands until you can no longer reach the top.

You can also play this game backwards. That means that the hand that's on top of the stack goes first. They remove their hand from the top of the stack and add it to the bottom. Then whoever's hand is now on top goes next and so on.

Another variation is the double stack. In this variation, try stacking both hands at the same time (one on top of the other), alternating turns with the other player(s) until you can no longer reach the top. 

Hand stacking game

2. Fist Stacking Game - A Fun Game for Two or More Players!

This game is similar to the hand stacking game above. However, instead of stacking hands, you will stack fists. Just like the title implies, right?

To play, each player makes a fist with each hand and takes turn stacking their fists higher and higher, alternating right and left. Whoever's fist is at the bottom of the stack goes next and play continues until you can't reach any higher. 

You can also try playing the game backwards by stacking downwards. Or try stacking your two fists at the same time (just stack your own fists on top of each other).

Fist stacking game

3. Make Your Own Secret Handshakes

My kids became obsessed with secret handshakes quite a few months ago and they make for a fun hand game to play. You can either come up with your own secret handshakes or search YouTube for some awesome secret handshake ideas (we like the ones from GoNoodle).

Then once you've invented your top secret handshake, you can practice it on the go. Keep it simple with a few hand slaps, high fives, and wiggly fingers. Or make it elaborate with crazy hand movements or even some full body movements as well.

4. Rock, Paper, Scissors

No list of hand games for kids would be complete without this classic hand game! 

Rock, paper, scissors is pretty straightforward to play. However, if your kids need help understanding how to play, then this printable social story about how to play rock, paper, scissors might be helpful for them.

Printable social story to teach kids how to play the classic hand game rock paper scissors

Grab a copy of the Rock, Paper, Scissors Social Story

5. Thumb Wars - A Classic Partner Hand Game!

"1, 2, 3, 4, I declare a thumb war!" Oh, how that little chant brings back memories of playing this popular hand game when I was a child. It was also a hand game I excelled at because of my long alien fingers.

To play, you simply link the same hands and fingers together in a fist with the other player and have your thumbs wrestle. The first one to pin the other's thumb wins!

6. High Five Hand Games

For this simple game, one person holds up one or both hands in different positions and encourages the other person to give them a high five (or high ten). The idea here though is to be creative though. Try to use a variety of different positions for your partner to slap your hands. Think beyond up high, down low...too slow!

Possible positions include a high five, low five, high ten, low ten, one hand high and one hand low, two hands really far apart, crisscross high tens, or crisscross low tens. Try to think of new hand positions that are different and/or unusual.

When I play these high five games with my kids, I try to do them rapidly. As soon as they high five or high ten, I switch to a new position. And usually the more ridiculous positions the better as it really gets them giggling! Especially if I do a really wide high ten where I stretch both of my hands out as far as possible. Obviously, my kids cannot reach both hands at the same time since they're still little, so they end up laughing hysterically when I do that.

7. Stella, Ella, Ola Hand Clapping Game & Song

We personally like to play the two player version of this game, the same one that I played as a little girl. There's also a version for multiple players where you sit in a circle and put your hands out to your sides. For this version, you would place your right hand palm up on top of another player's left hand and your left hand palm up below another player's right hand. 

However, for the two player version though, both players hold their left hands up and then join their right hands together. Then, as you sing the song or chant the words to Stella, Ella, Ola, you move the joint right hands back and forth, slapping against the left hands with the beat of the song.

At the end, you have to try to slap the hand that lines up with the final word of the song while the owner of that hand has to avoid getting their hand slapped. If you hit their hand, you win. If they successfully avoid getting hit, they win.

The words that I sang as a child for this hand clapping game are different from what I could find on YouTube or elsewhere, but you could really make up any chant you want.

Games to play with hands

8. Multiplication Hand Game

To play this game, pretend you are about to play rock, paper, scissors. However, instead of picking rock, paper, or scissors, you display any number of fingers that you want (anything from 0 to 10). The other player picks a random number of fingers to display as well.

Then you try to multiply the two numbers you and your partner have picked as fast as you can. So, if person A holds up five fingers and person B holds up two fingers, then you have to shout ten as fast as you can. It's a quick thinking math hand game!

Finger games like rock paper scissors, but that work on math skills

9. Addition Hand Game

Similar to the multiplication game above, this hand game is all about adding up all the fingers you see instead of multiplying. So, if person A holds up two fingers and person B holds up all ten, then you have to shout twelve as fast as you can. 

We usually start this game off by chanting, "1, 2, 3, add 'em up!" and then displaying a chosen number of fingers. Sometimes we play it as just two players and sometimes we do it as a group hand game with multiple players.

10. Hand Slap Game

To play this game, one player holds both hands flat with palms facing up. The other player places their hands with palms facing down and hovering slightly above the other person's hands.

The player with their hands on the bottom tries to pull their hands out and gently slap the top of the other player's hands, while that player tries to move their hands out of the way before getting slapped. The key is to slap gently! We don't want players to end up with sore red hands here. Although as a child, I'm sure that was always our underlying goal...

Hand slap game

11. Sign Language Spelling Bee - A Simple Finger Game

If your kids how to sign the letters of the alphabet in sign language, then this simple hand game is for you!

I happened to teach both of my kids how to sign when they were babies, a skill that came in handy with my hyperlexic son's speech delays, so every so often we like to play this game to keep our ASL signs in tip top shape! Plus, finger spelling (and games like this!) are a great way to build those fine motor skills!

To play this finger game, simply think of a word and then finger spell it in ASL. Then the other player has to try and figure out what word you spelled. If you don't yet know the ASL alphabet, grab these free printable ASL sign language cards to start learning them.

There are tons of other awesome finger games, hand clapping games, and what not out there. But the hand games described above are the ones we do the most often. So don't be afraid to get creative and invent a few of your own as well.

Fun & easy hand games for kids to play when bored or with friends