If you feel like you’re constantly running out of ways to keep your family entertained but don’t have the time to plan elaborate activities to occupy them, Minute To Win It games are an easy, affordable solution.
Planning Minute To Win It games for kids is quick and painless, and the games are fun for everyone, too! This brief guide will help you choose and implement your own easy Minute To Win It games in a pinch.
Here are 12 easy Minute to Win It games that the whole family can play, complete with materials you’ll need and instructions for how to play each one.
Minute to Win It games are games that take about a minute to play...like cup stacking!
What’s a “Minute to Win It” Game?
Minute To Win It games are uncomplicated, inexpensive games that take roughly one minute to play. Like the name suggests, each game has the competitors racing against the clock to complete a task or perform a skill. It’s amazing how fun something as simple as stacking cups can be when you’re competing against a timer.
As you’ve probably guessed, this type of game is usually competitive—your kids can race against the clock, each other, or both. You can also easily modify the rules, required materials, and time frame of Minute to Win It games for kids in order to keep them interested and maximize the time you get out of these activities.
If you’re thinking, “I don’t have time to create Pinterest-worthy activities for my kids,” there’s good news: Minute To Win It games for kids don’t require tons of planning or fancy materials. For the most part, you can put together Minute to Win It games using items you already have laying around the house!
If you’re feeling stretched thin but want your kids to have some structured activity time every day, these 12 easy Minute to Win It games are for you. Check them out below!
12 Easy Minute to Win It Games
Look no further than our list of 12 easy Minute To Win It games to help get your kids to expend some of their endless energy (and have fun while doing it!). With each game description below, we’ve also included a short list of materials you’ll need and simple, step-by-step instructions for how to play.
Also, keep in mind that these games are customizable. You can change the materials and the rules to fit your family’s needs. Don’t be afraid to get creative!
#1: Speed Stacker Cups
Speed stackers lets your kids race the clock or each other in a game of pyramid building using plastic drinking cups. You’ve probably seen these incredible stacking competitions on YouTube! While you probably won’t be able to stack cups as fast as the people in the video, you’ll definitely have a good time doing it.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- 15 plastic drinking cups per child (something like disposable party cups work well)
Before the clock starts, have each child stack their 15 cups into a pyramid with a five cup base (the cups should be upside down). When the one-minute clock starts, each child must break their cup pyramid down so that the cups are in one single stack. After they’ve broken down the first pyramid, they unstack the cups as fast as they can to rebuild the pyramid!
The goal is to unstack and restack your cups as quickly as possible. You can race against the clock to try for a personal best score, or you can play in a head-to-head competition!
Depending on how old your kids are, you may find that a single pyramid is too easy. You can add variety to Speed Stacker Cups by changing the size of the pyramids, the number of pyramids they have to build, or having your kids work cooperatively to build and break down a giant cup pyramid in a race against the clock.
#2: Kid Pong
If you’re into reusing materials, get out your Super Stackers cups and set up a game of Kid Pong. This game tests hand-eye coordination skills, patience, and even strategy!
Here’s what you’ll need:
- 6 ping pong balls per kid
- 6 plastic drinking cups per kid
- Tape or water
To play Kid Pong, set up 6 cups in a formation of your choice (e.g. straight line, pyramid, or two rows of three) on the floor or table a few feet away from the starting line. To make the game easier, you can tape the bottom of the cups to the ground or table, or weight them with water if you don’t mind a mess.
When the clock starts, your kids have a minute to get all 6 ping pong balls into the 6 cups!
Just like cup stacking, you can adjust this game to be harder or easier depending on your family’s skill level. Add variety to this activity by changing the number or setup of the cups, the height of the cups, and how far away your kids have to stand from the cups while throwing.
#3: Mirror Connect the Dots
Mirror Connect the Dots is a great activity for you to do with younger kids who are still working on fine motor skills and counting.
Here’s what you need:
- Handheld mirrors, or a larger, floor-length mirror that you can move around
- Dry erase markers in two different colors
Here’s how Mirror Connect the Dots works: use a dry erase marker to draw dots in a design onto a mirror (it’s best if you can lay the mirror flat on the ground or a table). Assign a number to each dot (starting with 1, then 2, then 3, etc.) so that, when connected by lines, a random shape or design will form. If your child is young enough that they need a demonstration, point out the dots in order by number, showing them what order to connect them in.
After you’ve drawn and numbered the dots, give your child a different colored dry erase marker and start the clock. The goal is to connect all of the dots in the correct order in a minute or less, or as fast as they can. When your child gets the hang of how to play, you can erase and draw new dots and numbers to keep them guessing.
For Shadow Tracing, all you have to do is set up a toy on a sidewalk so that it casts a shadow, then trace the shadow as quickly as possible!
#4: Shadow Tracing
If you want your kids to play outside for a little while, Shadow Tracing is a must-try. This activity inspires creativity while helping younger children work on their hand-eye coordination.
Here are the materials you’ll need:
- Toys that stand up, like dinosaurs, dolls, cars, trains, etc.
- Sidewalk chalk OR paper and pencil
Here’s how you set up Shadow Tracing. If you have sidewalk chalk on hand and want to keep the set up super simple, just help your kids set up a toy so that the sun casts the toy’s shadow onto the pavement. Alternatively, tape some paper to the ground and set up a toy so the shadow is cast onto the paper.
Once you’ve got the toys set up, have your kids try to trace the shadow of the toy onto the pavement or paper in a minute or less using the chalk or markers/colored pencils/crayons. You can make this as easy or as difficult as you want depending on the shape, size, and complexity of the toys you use.
Shadow Tracing can also be extended for a longer game. For example, if kids have traced several shapes or animals and become restless, have them color in the silhouettes they traced with their chalk or crayons/colored pencils/markers as a fun art activity.
#5: 4 Corners
Four Corners is a versatile game that involves shapes, memory, and listening skills. Adults may find this game fun to play, too!
Here’s what you need:
- Visible tape (like painter’s or masking tape)
- A device for playing music that everyone can hear
Here’s how you set up 4 Corners: use the tape to create shapes in different parts of a room, backyard, or driveway. Once you have your “corners” designated with tape, play music loud enough so the kids can hear it. While the music plays, have them walk/run around, dance, hop on one foot, or any activity you call out. When you stop the music, kids have to run to the shape you call out. If you have a bigger family, make it a competition so that the last person to get to the right corner is out for the next round.
Alternatively, you can modify this activity and use it to help your kids study as well. If your kids need quizzing on school work—like for a multiple choice quiz or test—tape out letters (e.g. A, B, C, D) or numbers just like you would shapes. Read out a question from the study guide, then call out the multiple choice answers and have them run to the letter or number with the correct answer.
#6 Doorway Spider Web
Doorway Spider Web is an activity your kids can do all on their own once you set it up. Here’s what you need:
- Masking or painter’s tape
- A doorway or walkway
- Paper that you don’t mind getting crumpled up
To set up this activity, tape across an open doorway or hallway so that the tape resembles a spider web (make sure the sticky side of the tape is all facing one direction). Next, have your kids crumple up pieces of paper into baseball-sized crumples or bigger. Once you have your “web” and crumpled paper (which you should totally call “bugs”), give your kid a minute to get as many “bugs” to stick in the spiderweb as possible by throwing them at the taped doorway. The person with the most “bugs” stuck in the web wins!
Most people have cotton balls around the house...and they're super easy to repurpose as equipment for Minute to Win It games.
#7: Cotton Ball Shuffle
Younger and older kids can do the Cotton Ball Shuffle, and it’s a Minute to Win It game that’s easy to incorporate a learning element into. Even better: it’s a game that’s quick to set up and involves almost no clean-up.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- A bag of jumbo-sized cotton balls
- One spoon per kid
- Tape or big containers, like plastic bins or mixing bowls
To play Cotton Ball Shuffle, tape two squares to the floor or set out the containers several feet apart. (The goal is to give kids lots of room to move.) Give each child a spoon, and dump the bag of cotton balls into one of the taped squares or containers.
When the clock starts, the objective is to move as many cotton balls as possible from one square/container to the other using the spoon. If kids move too quickly and the cotton ball flies off, they have to return to the cotton ball repository and start again.
If your kids get bored quickly, consider modifying this activity by:
- Racing your kids, or having them race each other
- Using colored craft poms to incorporate listening: have them transport the colors or sizes you call out
- Calling out different ways to transport the cotton balls (e.g. while hopping on one foot, while walking backwards, while walking on their knees, using both hands and two spoons, etc.)
- Use the shapes, letters, or numbers from the 4 Corners game (listed earlier) and have them transport the cotton balls to the shape, letter, or number you call out.
#8: Face the Cookie
If you’re not a stickler on sugar intake, have your kids play Face the Cookie. (This is also a great game if you want to reward good behavior with a treat!)
Here’s what you’ll need:
- A package/batch of cookies (any kind will do)
Here’s how you play: have your kids lie on their backs, then place a cookie on their face, like up by their forehead. The goal is to get the cookie into their mouths without using their hands as quickly as possible.
This activity will obviously involve a lot of wiggling, bending, and shuffling around, so use an open space away from breakables or furniture. Also, to make Face the Cookie more challenging, give kids a certain amount of time to maneuver the cookie into their mouth, or make them race each other.
#9: Flying Feather
Flying Feather can really be Flying Anything That Will Float In the Air, so you have a lot of options when it comes to equipment.
Here’s what we recommend using for this activity:
- Something that floats, like a feather, balloon, or tissue
- A large bucket or container
To play Flying Feather, set up a starting line area, and have your kids keep the feather in the air while crossing the room as quickly as possible. Place a bucket or container at the other end of the room and have your kids attempt to land the feather in the container! The catch is that they should keep their hands behind their backs the entire time and only use their breath to keep the feather afloat!
You may need to modify this activity depending on your kids’ ages and what materials you’re using. For instance, little kids may find it easier to pick the feather up and toss it toward the bucket rather than blow at it with their mouths. Additionally, if you’re using a large balloon, you may have your kids bop it into the air with their hands instead.
Minute to Win it games can be a great way to teach kids skills, too. The Chopsticks Challenge is a great way to help kids learn to use chopsticks and develop hand-eye coordination.
#10: Chopsticks Challenge
Get out those single-use chopsticks you’ve been hoarding from your takeout meals and put them to good use. This game helps kids build their coordination, and depending on how you play it, it can also help them develop teamwork and communication skills, too.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- Sets of chopsticks
- Cereal with large, uniform pieces (like Kix or Cheerios)
- Plastic bowls or containers
This game works best if you set it up at a table where the participants are sitting down. Place two bowls in front of each seat. Fill one with cereal, and leave the other bowl empty. When the timer starts, kids have to move pieces of cereal from one bowl to the other as quickly as possible. The kid that moves the most pieces of cereal wins!
If your kids tend to get heated when things are competitive, have them work together to see how many pieces of cereal they can collectively move to the second bowl in one minute. To make this a more educational activity, you can convince them to count out the pieces of cereal one by one at the end of each round to see who won.
#11: 52 Pick Up
There are several easy Minute to Win It games for kids that require nothing more than a deck of cards. This game is one of them!
Here’s what you’ll need:
- One pack of cards (we recommend using an older deck in case the cards get damaged)
For a game of 52 Pick Up, have your kids throw a deck of cards onto the ground. They have one minute to pick up and sort as many cards as possible into their correct categories based on the instructions you give, like putting them in numerical order by suit or sorting them by color.
If you really want them to get some exercise, have them throw the cards in the middle of the room, then use the taped numbers or letters from the 4 Corners game as locations for each suit. When the clock starts, the goal is to place all of the cards from each suit into the correct corner.
You can also adapt this game to accommodate little kids, too! Just have them pick up as many cards as they can and bring them to you, then ask them to name the color of the card, the number on the card before they hand it to you.
#12: Paint And Poms
Paint and Poms requires some light prep, but it’s fun and educational for younger kids.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- Pieces of paper
- Kid-safe paint, crayons, or markers
- Colored craft poms
To play Paint and Poms, either you or your kids should use the paint or markers to color circles all over a piece of paper. When the circles are all drawn, give your kids a container of colored craft poms. When the clock starts, they have a minute to place colored craft poms on top of circles that match the pom color. So for example, yellow poms would go on yellow circles, blue poms on blue circles, etc. The goal is to cover each painted circle with a correctly colored pom. The person who is able to match the most poms to the correct circles in a minute is the winner!
You can add variety to this activity by painting circles on multiple sheets of paper and switching them out when your child gets the hang of the patterns on the first piece of paper. And if you don’t have poms, you can use multicolored cereal, legos, or building blocks instead.
3 Tips for Minute to Win It Games
Now that you have some great ideas for Minute to Win It games, here are a few quick tips to help you get the most out of your playtime.
Tip 1: Consider Kids’ Skill Levels
Some of the games we listed above, like the Chopsticks Challenge or Cotton Ball Shuffle, require a bit of coordination to work. These games may end up being more frustrating than fun for little kids!
So before you pick a game, take a minute to think about what your kids can and can’t do. While it’s a great idea to pick challenging activities to hold kids’ attention, you also want them to have fun, too.
Tip 2: Know Your Goal
Keeping kids entertained can feel like a full-time job. The idea behind Minute to Win It games is to make the process easier, and that starts with knowing what you’re trying to accomplish.
For instance, if you’re just trying to keep kids occupied and active, you may choose different Minute to Win It games than if you’re trying to help kids practice what they’re learning in school. Even if you want to make playtime educational, kids will appreciate the occasional break from learning to run around and have fun.
Think about alternating educational games with active ones, or sit-down games (like the Chopstick Challenge) with more active games (like 4 Corners). Incorporating variety while keeping your goals in mind will help your family get the most out of Minute to Win It games.
Tip 3: Keep Competition Friendly
A little healthy competition is fun, but you don’t want it to devolve into fighting or hurt feelings. If your kids are sensitive to losing, you may consider adjusting the rules of your Minute to Win It games.
For instance, instead of competing against siblings or parents, have your kids try and set a “personal best” record against the clock. You can also have kids work cooperatively as a team to beat mom, dad, or older brothers and sisters!
Minute to win it games are fun, and some of them can be educational, too! But if you’re looking for games specifically designed for learning purposes, check out our list of our 12 favorite learning games for kids.
Games can be a great way to incorporate spelling practice into playtime. Here are the best spelling games for kids (and a few recommendations for adults, too).
If your little ones are too young for spelling games, don’t worry: we have expert recommendations for alphabet games as well. That way the whole family can have fun!
Have friends who also need help with test prep? Share this article!
Ashley Sufflé Robinson has a Ph.D. in 19th Century English Literature. As a content writer for PrepScholar, Ashley is passionate about giving college-bound students the in-depth information they need to get into the school of their dreams.