The weather is starting to warm up, so fun backyard games are a must for keeping the little ones entertained. Playing outside is great for kids because it gets their little eyes pried off the television or tablet screen, it gives them a chance to burn some calories and some energy and it encourages them to use their imagination. Sometimes, though, it can be hard to get them started on outdoor fun, so use these fun backyard games to inspire them to have some fun, get some fresh air and do something new.
If your kids are anything like mine, fun backyard games can quickly turn into a fight. If that’s the case, play Everybody’s It. Just like the name implies, all the players are it and they all run around the yard trying to tag each other. When a child is tagged, he or she stands to the side and does 10 jumping jacks, sit-ups or some other quick task. He or she can then re-enter the game and try to tag the others. Since everyone in the game has the same role, this keeps kids from spending all their time arguing over who’s going to do what.
There’s nothing more sure of getting your kids giggling than trying to jump across the yard in sacks. Look for large burlap ones at your local garden or home improvement store. Have each of the racers stand in a bag, gripping the top securely in their hands. Without falling down, they must jump from one end of the yard to the other. Whoever crosses the finish line first is the winner. Be ready for lots of rematches and hours of fun.
This is a fun game for summer nights. One person is the ghost and finds a hiding place in the yard. When someone finds the ghost, they shout “Ghost in the Graveyard.” The ghost comes out and chases the other players as they run back to base. The first one captured by the ghost becomes the next ghost and play continues. If your kids are afraid of ghosts, this might not be that fun and I can guarantee bedtime is going to be a struggle. It’s great for older kids though.
This game makes me laugh just thinking about how it’ll progress once the kids start playing. To play, each kid pulls their socks about halfway off their feet so they flop around as they run. The person who is “It” crawls around on their hands and knees trying to grab the players’ socks. Whoever is the last one with a sock still on his or her foot is the winner.
Hide and seek isn’t just for indoors. If you have a large property with nooks and crannies and lots of great hiding spots, take the game outside. Play as usual with one person counting while the others hide. The seeker has to find everyone in his or her hiding spot, then a new person becomes the seeker and everyone else hides.
If you only have two whiny kids to entertain, tug of war is sure to do the trick. Put a fun spin on it and it’ll be even more entertaining. Have both kids stand on milk crates or buckets and the first one who steps off loses. A word of caution – rope can really hurt a kid’s hands so consider using a long strip of fleece or flannel, which doesn’t pose the same risk. Also, this game is best for older kids who have better balance and aren’t as likely to topple off the crate and get hurt.
This is a fun variation on hopscotch that your kids can play in the driveway. Use sidewalk chalk to draw a spiral. Divide it into squares and put sequential numbers in each space. Each player must hop on one foot from the beginning to the end. If he or she is successful, he or she can write his or her initials in one square. The next player must skip that square. The longer the game goes on, the harder it is to get from the beginning to the end. Talk about fun!
What’s your favorite backyard game? Would these choices keep your kids entertained?