It's easy for children, glued to their television, Xbox, or computer, to forget how much fun they could be having outside. Playing outside is one of the simple joys of childhood, and a great way to get some exercise and burn off excess energy. Below is a list of fun games for children to play. Some require easy-to-obtain materials others require only imagination and a desire for fun!
Sheep Across the River
Choose one person to be the "Wolf." All other players will be the "Sheep." Choose an area with clear boundaries on either side (basketball courts work well for this) to act as your "river." The wolf stands in the center of the river while the sheep all line up on one side of it. When the wolf is ready, she will call out "Sheep across the river!" which will be the cue for all the sheep to run from one side of the river to the other. During this time, the wolf has free range to run around and tag as many sheep as he can. If a sheep is tagged, it becomes a "tree," and freezes in place. Repeat for the next round, only this time, the trees can reach out and tag sheep as well, as long as they don't move from the spot they were frozen in. This continues until all of the sheep have been tagged but one. This sheep is the winner and gets to be the wolf for the next game.
Find an area such as a playground or a park that has lots of things to use as obstacles. Choose one person to select the course, and lead everyone who will be playing through from start to finish. Try things such as ducking under the jungle gym bars, running around the swings, walking the perimeter of the sandbox, going down the slide, or swinging all the way across the monkey bars. Once everyone playing has memorized the course, each person can take turns trying to get from start to finish with the fastest time. Use a stopwatch for more accurate timing. Whoever has the fastest time gets to select the course for the next round.
This is a simple game that is played exactly like soccer, only there is no goalie, and a football is used in place of the regular soccer ball. It sounds easy enough, but wait until you see the look on everyone's faces when they realize that playing soccer with a football makes for some crazy bouncing and directional changes.
In this game, one person hides and everyone looks for her. If an individual finds the person hiding, they hide with her. This continues until everyone has hidden except for one person. The last person to find all of the people hiding together is the first person to hide in the next game.
This is a fun, messy game that should definitely be played in bathing suits, as everyone will need to be hosed off afterward. Divide your players into two teams. Use shaving cream to fill one balloon for each player, and place them in a separate bucket for each team. Set up a large plastic tarp 20 feet away from the buckets. When the starting signal is given, one player from each team runs to their bucket and grabs a balloon. They then run as quickly as they can to the tarp, place the balloon on it, and then sit on their balloon until it pops. They then run back to their team, and tag the next player to run. The team that pops all of their balloons first wins!
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