Take them to your favorite neighborhood park and let them discover they don’t have to be plugged in and indoors to have a good time.1. Beanbag of Fun.
You’ll need some chalk and beanbags. (If you can’t find a beanbag, you can always use an old sock, fill it up with rice or beans and tie the top with a knot.)
- Begin by drawing a target with three concentric circles. Number them one to three—the smaller the circle the greater the number.
- Mark a spot about three yards from the target. The kids will stand here and throw the beanbags.
- Each kid takes a turn throwing beanbags; you get the points written in each circle where the beanbag lands in it.
- Decide in advance how many turns each player gets before all the points are tallied. The player who ends up with most points at the end wins.
2. Hopscotch Hero.
You can hang on to your beanbags for this one as well or use rocks or keychain as a hopscotch marker.
- With chalk, draw a hopscotch board of squares and number them 1 to 10.
- Take turns and throw your marker into square 1, trying to avoid touching the lines. If you succeed, you get to play—otherwise you lose your turn. Hop on one foot in each square, skipping the one that contains your marker. If the squares are side by side, then you can put both feet down.
- Continue until you reach the end of the board, skipping the square that contains your marker.
- Turn around and hop back to pick up your marker on the way. When it’s your turn again, you throw your beanbag or marker in the second square and so on. You’ll lose a turn if you step on a marker or miss a square.
- Player who first gets his or her marker to square 10 wins!
- Adjust the game for younger players by using a board that only goes up to five or six.
3. Captain of the Ship.
This one always results in lots of chaos and good belly laughs.
One player is selected as “The Captain” and he or she gets to call out the orders for the rest of the group to follow. The players who don’t follow orders correctly are out or turned into sharks, which will try and tag out the other players still in the game. Among the fun orders you can come up with:
- Everybody go to the ship (you can pretend a tree is the ship).
- Hit the deck (kids flop down on their stomachs).
- Call out Love Boat (kids grab a partner and dance).
- Run to the Captain’s quarters (everyone runs towards the Captain).
- Shark attack (run to the designated “island” before the sharks tag you).
4. Mix and Match.
You can always come up with variations of some of the games played when you were kids. If you have fond memories of hiding games, try “Hide the Button”.
One person gets to hide a small object like a button somewhere in the park. Then, the rest of the kids begin their search as the hider calls out clues like, “You’re getting warmer” as they get closer to the button, or “You’re getting colder,” as they lose track of the missing item. Feel free to use any small object in the park, like a small rock or pine cone.
These ideas are only a few of the things you can come up with to entertain the young ones in the park. It’s really all about letting their imagination lead the way as they enjoy the benefits of being in the sun and nature.