Encouraging kids to play competitive games outdoors will help them develop many important skills as well as allow them to expend lots of youthful energy while benefiting from healthy fresh air. Pick games that require different talents so that every child will have a chance to do well. Praise should be given for effort as well as success.
Encourage teamwork and coordination with a three-legged race. Divide children into pairs and have each couple stand beside each other. Tie their closest legs together with a school tie or scarf. All the couples should line up in a row, and when the starting signal is given they should try to get to the finish line as fast as possible, without falling over.
Lemon and Spoon Race
This game requires a steady hand. Line up the children for a race with a starting and finishing point. Give each child a spoon and a lemon to balance on it. The aim of the game is to get to the finish line without dropping the lemon. If a child drops the lemon, he must return to the starting point and begin again.
Gather a selection of five fun items that can be knocked over by a ball without breaking such as soft toys, a plastic vase of fake flowers, a book and an empty cookie box. Line these up in a bowling pin "V" shape -- with one item at the front, two behind it and three behind those. Give the children three different types of balls such as a pingpong ball, tennis ball and soft foam ball, and challenge them to knock over as many items as possible. The winner is the one who manages to knock over the most items with the fewest balls.
This is an outdoors game that tests memory and quick thinking as well as coordination. The children should stand in a circle. Pick a category such as breeds of dog. The first child must throw a ball to another child and call out a name such as "poodle." The child who catches the ball must then throw the ball to another child while calling out a different name in that category such as "Alsatian." If the child hesitates too long to think of a name, drops the ball or repeats a name that has already been called, she is out of the game. The winner is the last child out.
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