Have a Backyard Blast
Introduce simple, classic games to keep kids busy and moving.
Hover over each Learning Benefit below for a detailed explanation.
Memory and Memorization
Whether your child is playing with family or a group of neighborhood kids, these activities will make him want to get up and out of the house.
Bean Bag Bulls-Eye
Object: Hit the bulls-eye and score points. Best for ages 5 to 10.
Draw three concentric circles on the sidewalk or driveway, and mark a target in the middle. Start with a one-foot circle, then a two-foot, and finally a three-foot. Players stand outside the circles, and toss a beanbag at the target. Award two points to each player who gets their beanbag in the outer circle, five for the second circle, and ten for hitting the inner circle. The player with most points overall wins.
Scavenger, Treasure, and Nature Hunts
Object: Find objects and follow clues. Best for all ages.
A great activity that can be adapted for players of different ages, you can play this alone with one child or invite the neighborhood kids to join in the fun. Hide several objects for teams or individuals to find; plant written clues that lead from one to the next and eventually a prize, or give players a list of objects to find.
Kick the Can
Object: Beat "It" back to the base to kick the can. Best for ages 7 and up.
Fill a coffee can with pebbles and put it on the ground next to the player you've chosen to be "It." She closes her eyes and counts to 100, while everyone else spreads out over a wide area to hide. When "It" finishes counting, she leaves the can and goes to look for the other players. When she spots another player, she must tag him before he can run back and kick the can. If he manages to kick the can, he's safe.
Object: To capture players' clothespins without losing your own. Best for ages 6 and up.
Designate a play area (about 50' x 50'), and give each player five clothespins that she clips to the back of her shirt. Players race to grab others' pins off their backs. When they get a pin, they can kneel to clip it to their shirts. While someone's kneeling, he can't be touched. Designate a time limit — 15 minutes or so — and when time's up, the player with the most clothespins wins.
Remember those games you used to play? Jacks, marbles, hopscotch, and jump-rope build hand-eye coordination, concentration, physical fitness, balance, and dexterity. And you can play all these games as a family! All you need is a strip of sidewalk and simple, inexpensive supplies. Kids can practice on their own, and you can hold family tournaments throughout the summer. There are several ways to play each game. Decide on a family rulebook, and spend your days hopping, jumping, and shooting!
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