3 Ways to Play with Your Kids (While Sitting on the Couch)

I love my kids and I love playing with my kids. I love it so much, I created this blog to find fun ways to spend more time with them. But there are some times that I need a break and that couch is screaming, “Please take a nap on me.” I confess I’m weak and sometimes the calling wins. 

But what do you do when you have the kiddos around? Here are three games you can play with your kids without leaving the couch, and in some cases, they actually allow you to snooze. 

“Dad Rule”

I came up with this one a couple summers ago, and it has worked like a charm. It was the middle of the day. I’d been running around with the kids all morning. We had our lunch, and we were all ready for a little break—and for me, that means a 30-minute power nap. 

Then the inevitable kid question came up, “Can we watch something?” 

Now, before we get into this, my kids were pretty young (4 and 6 – they’re 7 and 9 now and this game still works), and I’ve learned that sometimes, too much TV makes them get a little crazy. I mean, sitting upside-down, doing 70’s style bicycle kicks, weirdly unaware of what they’re doing with their body type of crazy. My kids will take what should be a normal, calm activity, and make it a headache for a parent. But at this point in the day, we had played, been physically active, run errands, and played some more, so they’d earned a little TV time.

One of the beauties of streaming TV on things like Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Disney+ is the ability to binge a couple episodes at a time. And so I had a stroke of brilliance: Dad Rule. 

Here’s how this works. I tell my kids I’m going to rest on the couch (which means they have to sit somewhere else) and they can watch their favorite show. If they stay calm and quiet, and don’t wake me up from my nap, they get to keep watching until the next show. The moment they wake me up, we have to stop on that episode. 

Those were some of the best naps I have ever taken. And since I usually only need about 30 minutes of snoozing, that means they watch about two 20-minute episodes, the perfect length before they start to bring on the crazy. 

Pro tip: I found that shorter episodes work best, and that this doesn’t work nearly as well with movies. There’s something about getting to watch another episode that’s catnip to (at least my) kids. They can get bored with movies sometimes. If it’s something they’re familiar with, they can get fidgety, and if it’s something new, you may have to spend time explaining. Both prevent you from sleeping. 

“Daddy Mountain/Daddy Bridge”

This is a game that works really well, especially with younger kids, around the 2- to 6-year old range. I don’t know how I stumbled onto this one, but it was something I came back to a bunch and something my kids started requesting. 

Essentially, you are an obstacle course for your kids to drive their small toy cars on. You lay down on the couch on your back with your knees up. 

Your knees function as a mountain for your kids to drive their cars on, and the great news is it works even better for their imagination (and for you) if you’re under a blanket. With a blanket, your legs transform from a part of your body to a mountain!

The next step is to take your hand, reach from the couch, and put it on the coffee table. This functions as the bridge and gives your kids something to drive across. 

It all sounds simple (and a bit silly), but it works like a charm and the kiddos love it!

“Dad Quests”

Dad Quests take a little more participation on your part, so you won’t be able to nap, but you will be able to stay horizontal. When that moment comes when you’re tired and just need to lay down, and your kid decides this is the best moment to get you involved in their game, you pretend that something has happened to your legs and you can’t move. 

Here’s where your creativity comes in and you get to make up some stuff. You tell your kid that some wizard cast a spell on you (or some other fun magical reason; it’s your game, you make it up) and you need your kid to go on a quest to get you the antidote. 

I usually pick a closet in the farthest part of the house and say they need to battle the evil troll to get the antidote. Once they bring it back to you and you take the antidote, suddenly you learn that it only works on your feet, but not your legs (or whatever you want; this is still your game). 

Apparently the antidote was not fully completed, and they were supposed to pass through the enchanted tunnel (my kids have a pop up tunnel) three times, and then go then go backwards one more time. 

And when they return, and you take the potion, it cured your legs, but now your upper body is frozen. 

The game can go on and on and is only limited to your creativity. 

Some other quests include rescuing mommy from the massive group of zombies and they can only use kung-fu to defeat them, fighting off an army of droids with light sabers, that you can only be cured by a kiss from princess mommy who is in her own deep slumber and can only be rescued by a magical kiss from Sasha (your kids stuffed husky) but only after the stuffy has been on a walk and let out to go to the bathroom. 

The options are endless, and you’ll be surprised at how long this can go and how much your kids can get into it. Remember, the more elaborate you sell it, the more fun they have. And if you get them off on a busy enough side quest, you might actually get to squeeze in a nap!

Gregory Grabowski

Greg Grabowski is the principal creator of DadStuffSite.com, a website for dads by dads. Inspired by his two boys Ben and Sam and his wife Dianna, Greg loves to make things, learn things, and loves doing fun stuff with his family.

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