Getting the kids away from their screens and out into the backyard is one of the most challenging tasks confronting the modern parent.
Yet it is also one of the most urgent. Our children need to be soaking up the sun’s rays and fresh air while engaging in fun, simple yard games that forge family bonds and are just plain fun.
In this article, we present 7-yard games for kids that you and your children will enjoy any day of the year.
#1: DIY Water Blob
This activity is great for those hot summer afternoons when your kids need to cool off.
You will need 8-foot x 10-foot, 4mm plastic sheeting. Lay the sheet out on the grass and then fold it in half. Then fold a large square of parchment paper over the end of the sheet and iron the edges around the entire perimeter (the parchment will protector iron).
This will seal the two sides of the sheet together. However, you should leave a 5-inch opening.
Add about a dozen sponge fish to your large plastic bag. You can buy these from a local all sorts store or make them yourself. Then put in some food coloring. Now fill the plastic bag with water. Once full, secure the end with duct tape.
#2: DIY Giant Tower Stack
This large outdoor giant tower stack will have the kids amused for hours.
You will need eight 2 x 3-inch boards. Cut them to 48 pieces, which are 7.5 inches long. Smooth the ends with 60 grit sandpaper, then finish with 180-grit sandpaper (don’t forget the edges). Paint the blocks as follows:
- 1/3rd Pink
- 1/3rd Natural
- 1/3rd Charcoal
#3: Tails or Heads
You’ll need six or more kids for this fun team game.
First place two center lines that are parallel to each other and about three feet apart. You should also establish two boundary lines that are about twenty feet away from the center lines. Crossing these boundary lines will represent the safe zones for the teams.
Now split them into two even teams. One of them will be called HEADS and the other TAILS. To begin the game, teams must stand with their backs toward each other on the centerline.
Now toss a coin in the air. Call out what side it lands on. If it lands on tails, the Tails team must run as fast as they can to their safe zone. The Heads team must instantly turn and attempt to tag members of the opposing team before they get to safety. Tagged players are out of the game.
After each toss and chase, return to the start line and repeat. Keep playing until all players from one team are out.
#4: Red Rover
Split your players up into two equal teams. Line the teams up so that they are facing each other at a distance of about 30 feet apart (adjust to suit the space available). The sides take turns to call out the following . . .
Red Rover, Red Rover, send [name] over.
The named player must run from his or her line in an attempt to break through the opponent line and make it to the end of the available space. If the runner gets to the other side, he or she can take one of the opposing team members back to his or her own team.
If the runner cannot get through, he or she must join the other team. The team with the most players at the end of the playing time is the winner.
#5: Windows and Doors
Have the children form a circle and hold hands.
They should be spread out such that their arms are straight out so that there is a decent space between each child. We refer to the spaces between the children as windows and doors.
One child is designated as the runner. This person begins weaving in and out of the other children. The children in the circle randomly drop their arms down, attempting to trap the runner.
If the runner is either caught or touched by the arm of another child, he or she is out. Another child takes his place and continues the process.
#6: Capture the Flag
Split the children into two even teams.
One team will be given the front yard, while the other has the back yard. If playing in a field, the field is split between the two teams. Each team is given 3 minutes in which to hide its flag in their part of the yard or field. Once the flags are hidden, the team calls out that they are finished.
Each team must now get to the other team’s flag. Meanwhile opposing team members try to tag them. When a player is tagged, he or she must go to jail and can only be freed by a teammate who crawls between his or her legs.
The team that captures the opponent’s flag first is the winner.
#7: Wolf’s Dinner
One child is designated to be the wolf. Establish a start line situated 10 feet behind the wolf and instruct all the other kids to stand behind it. The wolf now stands with his or her back facing the other children. The children call out . . .
What’s the time, Mr. Wolf?
At this, the wolf turns the face the children and shouts out a time (such as ‘four o’clock’). The other children must take that many steps toward the wolf (in this case, four steps).
The wolf now turns his or her back to the group once more. The question is repeated. The wolf can either yell out another time or call out . . .
The wolf then runs after the other children who are, in turn, running back to the start line. The first child who is caught now becomes the wolf. If no child is caught, the designated wolf continues in that role as another round is played.
Now that you’ve got an arsenal of cool, easily accessible yard games for the kids, there’s no better time than right now to start putting them to use.
So, round up the kids, turn off the technology and get them out in the fresh air – good luck!