Children don’t get bored when they’re outdoors. Kids have an abundance of energy, creativity, and intelligence, which combine to make them capable of entertaining themselves, regardless of the location, weather, or social environment. Yet it is always a good idea to have some lawn games for kids to suggest when needed.
It seems each year an old game is reinvented or a new lawn game is discovered. Fortunately, this means each summer, you can help your children discover fun and exciting games to play outside. While football, volleyball, and baseball are eternal favorites, here is a list of some of our favorite lawn games for kids.
Games like “Tag” blend simplicity and physical activity into a perfect combination. Kids strengthen their muscles and tendons while chasing one another, and trying to avoid becoming “It”. At the same time, they are improving hand-eye (or should it be called “foot-eye”?) coordination. There are dozens of similar games, among them hide-and-go-seek, jump-rope games, and many, many others.
Among the oldest and simplest of all sports, soccer requires little equipment. You need no more than a decent-sized ball (it need not be an “official” soccer ball; anything kickable will do), vaguely defined field boundaries, and trees or cones to serve as goalposts. Younger participants can charge after the ball, while the older players hang back and defend the goal. The rules are simple. Get the ball in the goal. Don’t use your hands to do so. And don’t push, kick, or hurt anyone.
Much like soccer, the field is easy to set up with boundaries and two end-zones. Then establish the details of the rules of play (e.g. tackle or two-hand-touch), and make sure you agree on whether to allow blitzes or not. Speaking from experience, if this isn’t agreed upon in advance, one side will blitz and the other will say blitzing isn’t allowed. Then the game will end with ill-will all around. Not what you want for your kid’s day in the park.
Baseball is “America’s National Pastime”, so why can’t it be your kids’ pastime? Children learn a host of skills, among them pitching, batting, fielding, and base running. The rules are somewhat complex and take time to fully understand. So this is a great opportunity to teach your kids how to play the game. However, the same caveat applies here as applies to blitzing. Make sure everyone is clear on how you’re playing BEFORE the game starts. Equipment includes a bat, bases, a ball, and gloves for fielders.
Capture The Flag
A sport that is undeniably a children’s favorite worldwide, capture the flag combines running, teamwork, and social skills to make for an exciting, if sometimes harrowing, sporting experience. Pick out the teams, determine where jails are, decide whether or not flags can be hidden, then draw agreed-upon boundaries between the two team’s zones. All that’s left to do is play.
Ladder Golf is a newer game that has become very popular in the last few years. What makes it so popular is its simplicity for all ages.
The game consists of two ladders, with 3 rungs and two sets of double-strung balls. The object is to toss one string of balls at a time and land it on one of the ladder rungs. The top rung scores you one point, the middle two points, and the bottom three points. The first person to 21 wins.
There are some variations on the game and it has a variety of names, but whatever you call it, children and adults are sure to love this game! You can pick Ladder Golf up at most department stores or on Amazon.com. You could also make your own using PVC piping and regular golf balls. Although, for about $40 you can get one with a nice carrying case, making it easy to take with you. Children as young as 5 can play Ladder Golf.
Playing Bean Bag Toss will help with hand-eye coordination as well as strengthen arm muscles. Each player takes a turn tossing their bean bags at a rectangular piece of plywood with a hole toward the top. You get one point for landing on the board and 3 points for hitting the hole. The winner is the person that gets 21 points first. Some versions have multiple holes with different amounts of points. In those variations, you might play up to 100 points. Children as young as 2 can enjoy Bean Bag Toss.
This game is an old-time family favorite that’s popularity grew in the 1860s. In croquet, you use a mallet to hit a ball through wire wickets. These wire wickets are strategically placed in the yard. While children of all ages will enjoy trying to hit their ball through the wicket, it may be a bit complicated for children under the age of 8.
This game is a lot like tennis, without the court and instead of using a tennis ball, you use much lighter rackets and a birdie or shuttlecock. Badminton is a perfect game for children of all ages and two to four players can play at a time. It is a fun, challenging game, that will teach your children some hand-eye coordination.
A more complex but fun game would be Kubb, a traditional Swedish game believed to have its origins tied to the Vikings. Players throw batons at rectangular blocks called kubbs. Knocked down kubbs then become the targets for the opponents.
The goal is to reduce the number of kubbs standing to zero. Then the team has a chance to knock down the king, which is placed at the center of the rectangular playing field. The game is over once the king is knocked down. The team that succeeded in knocking down the king is declared the winner.
Kubb is fast becoming one of America’s well-loved family backyard games because it can be played by any age group. In addition, there is no rough body contact as in other sports. It also sharpens the players’ skills in throwing and enhances teamwork.
Regardless of your budget or the age of your children, including some of these lawn games for kids in your arsenal of summer lawn games, will help keep them entertained on those hot summer days!
Now you’re all set! So get out the lawn chairs, some picnic supplies, like snacks and drinks, and a ball or bat. What are you waiting for? There are games to be played, fun to be had, and memories to made for a lifetime!