9 Innovative Games To Help You Pass The Time During Self-Isolation

Isn’t it funny how swiftly the things you once dreamed about can turn to disappointment? Not that I’ve ever dreamed of spending more time (than I have to) with the old man, but surely I can’t be the only one who used to fantasise about having more time to write, more time to watch back-to-back shows on Netflix, or the time (even) to trim my pubes?

Photo by niklas_hamann on Unsplash

It is slowly dawning on me how boring self-isolation might be. There are only so many ways you can entertain yourself at home during overlong days when anxiety has sucked the creativity out of you and wakes you up much earlier than usual.

That’s why I’ve put my thinking cap on and come up with some innovative ideas to help keep that knife safely in the kitchen drawer:

  1. The Smart TV Microphone Game – This is a game the old man and I developed when we got our first smart tv – which it turns out, is nowhere near as smart as we hoped. It’s a bit like Chinese Whispers, only using the TV. Simply give the microphone a command and watch what rubbish it comes up with. It is highly entertaining.
  2. The Food Mystery Box – The unfair rationing due to stockpiling has seen the return of this wonderful Masterchef idea which can only get better the longer idiots keep ravaging our supermarket shelves. What culinary feasts can you come up with from the ingredients in your cupboard? To make it more challenging, the use of pedestrian ingredients like tuna, Baked Beans and those gross mixes of different types of beans are definitely not allowed.
  3. SNAP! – Not the traditional card game we all know and love but a real test of your relationship in these anxiety-inducing times. The old man and I are already professionals at this game. Basically, the winner is the first partner to reach the target of ten snaps at their other half. On several occasions, I’ve managed to reach this target before my first coffee of the day.
  4. The No Toilet Roll Game – This is a great game for those into problem-solving. The premise is simple – the winner is whoever finds the best replacement toilet paper from around the house. However, certain exclusions do apply – and these include the dog.
  5. Will He/Won’t He? This is a traditional betting game in which we guess how long it will take for Scott Morrison to prioritise people’s lives ahead of the economy and close all schools.
  6. Will I Starve On Newstart? – This is another problem-solving game where each player has to work out how someone who was on an (average) AUS$68K salary can live on $280 a week – for potentially six months.
  7. Kids Houdini – This is for the parents out there who have removed their kids from school. Each parent gets one child to gag and lock up – say, in the garage or a wardrobe – and they time how long it takes for them to get themselves free. There’s only one rule: no calling Child Services
  8. Essential Item Sweepstake – This is another guessing game where you bet on which will be the next essential item to disappear from our supermarket/pharmacy shelves. Those that predicted Ventolin and tonic water are currently in the lead.
  9. Wine O’Clock – You decide how early is “too early” in this crazy life or death scenario we’ve unwittingly become victims of. Life as we know it has changed, and so should some of those other ridiculous social constructs that have been forced upon us.

Hot Parenting Tip: The Timing Game

happy two little girls have fun and joy time at beautiful beach while running from joy

When Kurt was a little boy and struggled to entertain himself, sometimes the old man, in one of those last-ditched, desperate parental attempts to get five minutes peace, would resort to what we called the ‘timing game’.

I’m sure most of you parents will have resorted to this type of game with your kids at the park or on the beach at some point.

It happens after you’ve played the beach cricket and survived the tantrum, been forced to swim in sub-zero degrees water for so long your circulation has seized up, caved in on the ice cream in spite of your concerns about sugar and they’ve dropped it on the ground within the first minute, and you’ve finally run out of ideas.

But your child is still running around like the fucking Duracell bunny on speed.

(We didn’t have iPads in our day), so in desperation we’d suggest that they run somewhere. It made sense – the kids wore themselves out and we got that precious five minutes of peace to recharge. The run might be to the end of the beach or park, to the playground, or even to the next suburb if we were really frazzled. And what was the appeal to child, I hear you ask?

*Drumroll*   WE TIMED THEM.

Because kids really ARE that stupid.

Kurt always fell for the timing game, and upon reflection, I think I was sucked in by it only yesterday morning.

I’ve become a bit of an ill-tempered toddler when I’m on the beach these days. I love the concept of sunbathing and relaxing on the beach, when I’m not there, but beach reality for me is that the heat of the sun inflames my Rosacea, lying on lumpy sand hurts my back, the water is still far too cold to swim in and my self-esteem takes a nosedive when I’m forced to wear swimmers publicly.

And it doesn’t help that we always seem to sit next to Elle fucking MacPherson.

But the biggest issue for me is if you don’t like sun-bathing, there’s fuck all to do on the beach, and I hate doing nothing. So I can’t help myself. I become that irritating, whinging child.

“Is it time to go yet?”

“What shall I do?”

“Can I have something to eat?”

The old man, on the other hand, has never had a problem doing nothing, loves the challenge of cold water and ogling semi-clad younger woman and is not anxious like me, therefore doesn’t see the sun in the same way, as a cancer threat.

Yesterday morning, I actually WALKED to the beach in an attempt to wear myself out, while he drove the car there. I had packed my cossie and tried to look at the padded fabric at the front (for maximum muffin top concealment) positively and set myself up under the beach brollie in readiness for some serious relaxation. It took about three minutes for me to wonder what to do with myself, which is when I started moaning,.. and then I might have moaned some more when sand got stuck to my sun cream and I couldn’t read from my phone due to the glare from the sun.

‘I’ve got an idea,’ said the old man, suddenly uncharacteristically excited, ‘why don’t you walk to the end of the beach and see how many steps of your fitness target you use up?’

The old man and I are currently competing fixated on walking 10,000 steps per day, the recommended amount for fitness.


His suggestion sounded appealing. I couldn’t think what the catch could be.

‘And I’ll time you,’ he added.

Instantly energised, I jumped up like a puppy dog off to chase a brand new ball. And it was only after I had trudged all the way to the end of the beach in the searing heat that it dawned on me that the old man was playing ‘the timing game’.