Get your children to put away the X-Box controller, leave the cell phone behind, and spend more time on healthy outdoor activity. You don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars on expensive swing sets and jungle gyms. With a little creativity, there are plenty of outdoor games that your child can play and – best of all – won’t cost you a penny.
Hide and Seek
An outdoor game that every generation can appreciate, hide and seek accomplishes the task of getting your kids outdoors while simultaneously exercising their creativity. The best thing about “Hide and Seek” is that there aren’t any tough rules: One person closes his or her eyes and counts to a certain number, while the other players find a creative place to hide and not be found. As a precaution, be sure to stick to familiar outdoor spaces and to lock any tool shed or outdoor structures that children could wander into and get hurt.
Red Light, Green Light
This one can be played with as few as three people but the fun increases exponentially when more players join in. The object is for players to reach a specified goal line without being kicked out of the game because they were caught moving when they should have frozen in place. One player takes on the role of the designated traffic light, calling out “green light” and “red light” at random intervals. When “green light” is called, players try to make it to the goal line as quickly as possible. Anyone still caught moving when “red light” is called gets booted from the game. The first person to reach the goal becomes the new traffic light.
To really get the blood pumping, an old-fashioned game of outdoor tag will do it. The object of the game is simple – and fun. To start, one player is designated as “it.” Once the game begins, it’s that player’s job to chase the others and touch one of them, announcing, “tag! you’re it!”. The person tagged becomes the new “it.” This outdoor game is a perfect after-school activity that wears children out before bedtime.
All you need for a fun game of musical chairs are a few chairs or seats and music. Arrange a group of chairs in a circle or in a straight line, in which case alternate the direction of each chair. You will need one fewer chair than players. For example, if you’ve got six kids playing, set out five chairs. When the music begins, the players walk in line around the chairs. The moment the music stops, each player dashes to sit down in the nearest chair. The player left standing exits the game and one chair is removed from the equation. The game continues until there are only two players and one chair remaining, and one of the players wins.
If you or your children want to tweak the rules of any game to make it your own, feel free to do so, have fun!