Five family friendly, screen-free games to play during lockdown


Due to the social-distancing laws brought in to combat the COVID-19 outbreak, most of us are spending an unprecedented amount of time at home right now. And while reaching for the remote or the games console could seem the obvious time-killer, long hours in front of the TV will likely only add to any feelings of frustration and itchy feet.

Instead, we’ve picked five classic games you can play as a family, which will have you either working your feet or your brain –or both–and provide a more satisfying distraction all round.



The centrepiece of many a family Christmas, this light-hearted classic is the perfect antidote to the current crisis. The rules are simple: pick a film, book or song and act out the title using time-honoured actions –such as pulling your ear for ‘sounds like...’ – with the first person to guess correctly earning a point. Other great parlour games include the ‘animal, vegetable or mineral’ guesswork of Twenty Questions, and Wink Murder, where you must identify the winking killer in your midst.


If you’ve got an older family, classic card games such as rummy, whist or even poker can keep everyone engrossed and competitive for hours. With younger kids especially, UNO is ideal entertainment. Initially, the rules might be a little more complicated than standard card games thanks to the suite of special cards spread throughout the pack –from ones that enable the player to skip a turn to those that reverse the order –but the aim is simple: be the first to get rid of all your cards and, of course, shout “UNO!”



There’s a reason Monopoly is up there with other classics, such as Scrabble and Trivial Pursuit, as one of the most popular board games of all time. Its mixture of strategy, cunning and luck, as you battle it out to own premium properties and build up stacks of cash, will keep the whole family occupied –and have them returning for more. A ‘localised’ Australian version brings an extra dimension of fun.


Backyard cricket

If you have a yard, there’s a whole world of fresh-air games you can play with your nearest and dearest, from hopscotch to bocce and boules. The long-serving king of garden activities is still backyard cricket. Easy to play with as few as two people, this is a game which requires only a bat, a ball, something that serves as stumps –a tree or a rubbish bin will do –and of course some ready and willing family members.



Whether it’s just between two of you or you want to organise games into a tournament, chess is a game of skill and perseverance that could be a great way to train the mind while living in the current state of confinement. Don’t shy away from chess if you’re never learned how to play –it’s never too late. Once you’ve grasped the rules, you’ll likely find it quickly becomes addictive.