Taking The Floor Is Lava Game to New and Bursting Extremes

Published November 27, 2021
Kid jumping on sofa

Kids everywhere love The Floor is Lava game. You can play it in so many spaces, in multiple ways, and it gets everyone up, moving, and having fun. Go beyond the traditional way of play with these creative and innovative spins on the game.

The Classic Way to Play The Floor Is Lava

In the classic version of The Floor is Lava, there is one main rule for players to heed: do not touch the floor. Players essentially pretend that the floor is hot lava, and if any body part touches the floor, they are ejected from play. Typically, living room furniture is used in the classic variation. Couches, chairs, cushions, and blankets spread onto the floor's surface are all considered safe spaces. Kids start at one part of the room and have to reach a designated "end" without ever dipping a toe into the lava (a.k.a. the carpeting)!

The Floor Is Lava for Preschoolers

Little ones can still partake in the fun, but you won't want them jumping from a couch to a table three feet away. Nothing will end this game faster than an injury! Take the concept of the game and apply different rules, tasks, and goals, so young kids get the most out of playing.

Number-Letter Floor Is Lava

Preschool-aged children are learning their letters and numbers, and parents can work this critical skill into a game of The Floor Is Lava. Instead of using cushions, blankets, and furniture to move about on, use large sheets of construction paper as the safe spaces from lava.

On the papers, write letters that children can independently recognize, as well as numbers that they are working on identifying. Be sure to use varying colors of paper. Spread the papers out on the floor.

You can play two different ways.

Version 1: Call a letter or a number out for your child. Kids have to race to the paper and stand very still on it when they find the letter. You can also call out a color and kids have to move to that color starting at one side of the room and moving towards an ending place.

Version 2: Kids have a starting spot at one end of the room as well as an ending spot at the other side of the room. They can move to any paper they want, as long as they can yell out the number or letter they are moving towards. If they don't know a letter or number, then they cannot use that paper to stand on.

Gross Motor Floor Is Lava

Young kids are learning so many fine and gross motor skills. The Floor Is Lava makes for an excellent opportunity to work on skills like jumping, standing on one leg, tiptoeing, and crawling. While the object of the game remains to stay off of the ground, parents can add in objects to move across that challenge little kids to do more than bound from one object to another. Use a balance beam or long two by four to perfect balancing skills. Have a large cushion on the floor, but tell kids that if they stop there, they have to balance on one leg for five seconds. If they move across the couch, then they have to do it while crawling.

Side view of boy jumping on rock in forest

Play The Floor Is Lava Using Outdoor Space

If the kids have exhausted all versions of playing the game on the living room furniture and grown tired of couch cushions and chairs, take the game to the great outdoors. These spins on the original will have kids feeling like they just entered an entirely new game just by playing variations outside.

Playing Water Is Lava in a Pool

If you have the use of a large pool space, the water in the pool can easily become the lava for your game. Throw inner tubes, rafts, and other floating toys into the pool. To really play the game to the fullest extent, you will have to add lots of floating objects to the water. Kids can hop from raft to tube to whatever else, but they cannot go under the water's surface or slip off of the flotation device! If they do, they are out. For added fun and challenge, parents can stand on the side of the pool with super-soakers, spraying kids and making everything wet and slippery.

The Floor Is Lava Heat-Armor Edition

Take The Floor Is Lava to the backyard. In the yard, set up lawn furniture, long wooden boards, hula hoops, and other objects that make safe spaces from the grass (or lava). Kids must start at a designated spot and make it to the end of the yard without touching the ground. When playing this version, include a "heat-armor" clause.

Kids can be protected from the lava (a.k.a. the ground) by special armor. If they have to touch the ground, it can only be for five seconds, and they cannot move in a forward direction while in the lava. After five seconds, their protective armor dissolves, so they better have a move to safety in their plan.

The Floor Is Lava: Playground Edition

Like the backyard version, kids playing the playground version may have to touch the ground for small spaces of time if they are moving from one area of play equipment to another. If you are allowing this, then make sure everyone playing knows the rules for being on the ground (usually a number of seconds allowed in the lava works well for this rule). See if kids can move across monkey bars, balance beams, ziplines, and other pieces of equipment without touching the ground, or only touching the ground for short periods of time.

The Floor Is Lava for Kids and Teens

Kids and even teens like to play games, and The Floor is Lava is a perfect challenge to get them moving about. These variations are definitely more complex, and all the more fun for teens to try.

Two kids bounce on a brown leather couch

The Floor Is Lava: Tag Edition

Combine classic The Floor is Lava with another classic game, tag, to create an epic challenge for kids. You can set up the game indoors or outdoors and apply whatever rules you'd like. The major difference in this version is while everyone is trying to stay out of the lava, one person is trying to tag the others.

This game becomes a double challenge for kids: don't fall in the lava and don't get tagged. The tagger will also find it far more difficult to catch players because they too cannot touch the lava while executing their quest to tag their friends.

The Floor Is Lava: Partner Edition

Older kids might enjoy the game more when the classic version is combined with added challenges, and one of those challenges is to play with a partner. Create a Floor is Lava course in the family room, basement, or backyard. Pair teens up. As they move through the course, they can't let go of each other's hands. The goal here is to move from a starting spot to a finish spot without letting go of one another and without ever touching the floor. Double the challenge, double the fun.

Floor Is Lava Five Section Race to the End Challenge

Teens love to compete with each other, so you can work some friendly competition into a round of The Floor is Lava. Set up a challenging course for teens to try. Can they move through it without ever touching the ground? Time how long it takes them to make it to the end of the lava course. See which teen ended up with the lowest time. They are the winner.

The Floor Is Lava: Learning Edition

Does your teen have a big exam to study for, but really hates sitting in a chair and hitting the books? Plenty of teens love playing, but dread studying. Make up questions to quiz your teen on. Questions should reflect the content they are studying. Next, set up a Floor is Lava course somewhere in the home. They start at a designated space and can only move to the next safety object when they answer a question you ask correctly. If they get one wrong, they have to move back to the previous object that they were standing on. The game is over when they reach the designated finish spot. Play enough rounds to get through all the questions, so kids are more than ready for tomorrow's test.

Why The Floor Is Lava Is So Appealing

How many times have you told your children to stop bouncing around on the furniture? Probably tons! When it's time to play this game, kids have free reign to do the forbidden and jump on couches and chairs! There is nothing more fun for a child than using their imagination to play something exciting, and having full permission to do an activity they don't normally get to do.

Now, kids can move about stepping on the furniture, but remember that regardless of what variation of the game gets played, parents should always set ground rules and discuss safety. If there are parts of the room that are off-limits, be sure to state that. If there are valuables in the space of play, remove them before the start of the game. Any items of furniture you worry might be damaged (think about large teens jumping on the armrests of chairs), should be made into off-limit zones. Even with a few rules in place, kids will still find the game to be the highlight of their day.

Parents also find the game appealing. First, it is hysterical to watch your kids teetering and balancing about, taking the off-limit floor so seriously. Second, most versions of the game cost parents NOTHING. Show us one parent who won't be thrilled to find a game that keeps kids of all ages happy and busy and doesn't require the contents of a wallet! Lastly, unless children are super small, this is a parent-free activity. Kids can typically handle the setup, execution, and clean-up of this game all on their own. For all of these listed reasons, moms and dads everywhere are willing to give the green light to their offspring to tear apart the living room and jump on the furniture.

Use Your Imagination to Leap to New Heights

No doubt kids can put their imaginations to the test and come up with countless ways to play this game. Families can also head straight to Amazon.com and purchase The Floor Is Lava. The boxed version comes with game pieces, instructions, and challenges for people ages five and older to test their abilities out. No matter what you choose, a boxed version, or a variation you dream up yourself, all spins on this game have one thing in common: they are so fun!

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Taking The Floor Is Lava Game to New and Bursting Extremes