Indoor kids activities: Stopwatch smartphone funSmartphones can be annoying – on the other hand they can be a great way to entertain the kids, and I don’t just mean handing them the phone, and letting them use your Angry Birds App at the first opportunity. We have discovered a much better use for them – and anything else than allows you to time somebody…our wee game “Five Alive”.

Its a great activity for indoors, so on the train, or as we found invaluable recently, on the ferry to France….


Few willing players

Stopwatch – easily available these days on those clever wee smartphones, but you could just use the second hand on a watch too of course

Pencil and paper (not required)

How to play

  1. One player controls the stopwatch, and another names things, people, places – whatever they want to in fact. Turns move clockwise around the group if there are more than two players
  2. The person with the stopwatch chooses a “set” of things for the person naming to think of, anything from fruit, to items of clothing, to members of the family
  3. Start the stopwatch, the person naming has to say five items from the group they were asked to pick from as fast as they can, so:
    1. The person with the stopwatch wants them to name fruit
    2. They say; orange, apple, banana, pear, and grape as fast as they can!
  4. On naming the fifth item, the player controlling the stopwatch….stops the clock
  5. The player who named the items, remembers how long it took, or writes it down, and tries to beat it next time its their turn.
  6. Play moves clockwise, with another player taking their turn to name items, and another to control the watch.


  • Problem solving
  • Numeracy; sets
  • Literacy; vocabulary
  • Most importantly, the ability to stay calm in the face of great pressure!

A great game to pass the time anywhere – to get more competitive, you can always see if you can beat your opponents’s time rather than your own. However, when we did, the whole game became slightly less serene, and I am not too sure that the people next to us on board the ferry were too impressed….! ;-)

Age suitability

Ages 4 and up – the younger players may struggle with thinking of their five choices within the a set – but they can still have fun – promise!

What do you think? Would this work for your kids too? Do you have any other games to play with the timers on your smartphones? Or are you just a wee bit scared to hand them over! ;-)

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