IKEA Has Banned Hide And Seek In Its Stores: Here's 7 New IKEA-Specific Playground Games To Play Instead

Wait, this was ALLOWED before now?
Publish date:
March 18, 2015
games, IKEA, Hide And Seek, I Don't Wanna Grow Up

This is the good kind of problem to have: IKEA in the Netherlands has formally banned hide and seek in its stores. It did this because 32,000 people signed up via Facebook to play a game at their Eindhoven store.

First, what is the Netherlands, that this was ALLOWED even for a MINUTE? And that 32,000 people would calmly sign up to play hide and seek in a huge furniture hangar? Can I live there? Are you my people?

And the award for most unintentionally hilarious quote on this subject goes to:

"It's hard to control," Ikea Group spokeswoman Martina Smedberg told Bloomberg. "We need to make sure people are safe in our stores, and that's hard to do if we don't even know where they are."

That’s hard to do if we don’t even know where they are. Oh my god I love everyone involved with this story.

But here’s the problem, IKEA: Formally banning hide and seek is a TERRIBLE plan, because doing so means people like me, who’d never even considered this before, will write about it, and spread the word, and in the end all it will do is encourage people to play hide and seek at IKEA. Seriously, I heard about this and all I could think was, That is a terrific idea, and I totally want to do it now.

Please remember this is the same company that unleashed ONE HUNDRED CATS -- not “specially trained film cats” either, but like, actual people’s pets -- into its Wembley, UK, store, made a video of it, and put it on the internet as an advertisement.

IKEA, you are asking people who are most likely to make internet-based plans for hide and seek to be your core market! You don't have a lot of room to be anti-quirk all of a sudden. I imagine any Venn Diagram of People Who Watch Cat Videos and People Who Want To Play Hide And Seek In An IKEA is going to have some extreme overlap.

But IKEA says no, so hide and seek in its stores will have to remain illicit for now. On the up side, I’ve spent ten whole minutes inventing seven new games you could play in an IKEA, at least until they ban them:


This is an IKEA-specific version of TV tag, in which people are “frozen” when tagged, and can only be “unfrozen” if touched by another player who correctly spells the name of an IKEA product -- any IKEA product. But each product name can only be used once!


This is based on the Bombardment variant of Dodgeball, only instead of using a certain number of balls, place several bins of IKEA stuffed toys in the no-man’s land between teams, and use these to tag players out. Anyone whose ankle even grazes a stuffed smiley-faced carrot or adorably cuddly piglet is out. (Best played in the warehouse section with large teams.)

Balling (Out of Control?)

Played in the cafeteria, this is just Keep Away, but with a full plate of meatballs. Yes, including gravy, obviously.


Self explanatory. THE FLOOR IS LAVAAAAA. And you have to get through the whole showroom without burning alive. Start at the bottom of the entrance escalator for a true challenge.


Who can build (and successfully crawl inside) the most elaborate sofa-cushion structure in two minutes? If any part of it falls over before the time is up, you lose, so build carefully.

IKEA Sweep

Taking inspiration from the old gameshow Supermarket Sweep, only instead of simply gunning to hit the finish line with the highest dollar total, you must collect 26 items, each with a name representing one letter of the alphabet, and you must be able to unload them at the end in alphabetical order before the buzzer sounds, without unpacking your whole cart first. (You must bring your own buzzer, though. BYOB.)

Four-Legged Race

This requires at least two teams of three. Two people stuff a smaller person or child into one of those yellow shopping bags at the start of the Marketplace section, and then race to carry them all the way to the checkout line. Knocking over stacks of storage tubs or duvet covers to slow down your opponents MarioKart-style is strongly encouraged.

Got ideas for IKEA-based games better than mine? That’s probably totally likely. (Also, sorry IKEA. Please don't ban me.)

Promo image by John Pastor / Creative Commons