Unplug your family with these fun outdoor games, activities
Your kids have probably heard you say it before: “Back when I was a kid … (fill in the blank with some awesome game that you played outdoors).”
So, whatever happened to the “Go outside and play” notion?
Video games simulating football games? Computer surfing instead of actually catching waves? Facebooking-Tweeting-Instagramming? Kids these days! They’re spending 55 hours a week indoors watching T.V., playing video games, texting and spending time on the computer.
Over the past 30 years, childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and tripled in adolescents, according to the Centers for Disease Control. The percentage of children ages 6–11 years in the United States who were obese increased from 7 percent in 1980 to nearly 18 percent in 2010.
Similarly, the percentage of adolescents aged 12–19 years who were obese increased from 5 percent to 18 percent during the same time period, according to the CDC.
It’s time to get moving.
This summer, get your kids to unplug from all of their high-tech hubs and show them just how fun it can be to play outside, without the tethered cords or status updates.
Here are five great games and activities to play with your kids. Go ahead and invite the neighbor kids over, too. The more, the merrier.
- Water fights: When the weather gets hot, instead of cooling off in the air conditioned basement cave, round up family and friends for a good ole’ fashioned water fight. We’re talking squirt guns and water balloons and setting up a SlipN’Slide. Plan a sneak attack by programming your sprinklers to go off. If you’ve got young kids, put a play pool at the bottom of the slide on their playset. Another fun idea: Put a firehose nozzle from One Step Ahead on the hose.
- Drenched 5K: If your family loves the water fight, consider checking to see if the Drenched 5K is coming to a city near you. The race has different courses — where you run through “hot” zones and “drenched” zones where you encounter slip n’ slides, a fire hose spray, sprinklers and spectator “sniper zones.”
- 500: It gives the go-to classic game of “catch” a competitive twist. Use a soft-sided ball, football or a “foxtail” from Klutz. One person gets to start as the pitcher and is in charge of throwing the ball high in the air and yelling out a rounded number — like 50 for an easy toss or 200 for a really tough one that will have people scrambling. Whoever accumulates 500 first gets to become the pitcher. But, if you drop the ball, you restart at 0.
- T.V. tag: This is a fun way to get kids’ imagination and bodies moving at the same time. In this variation of freeze tag, when you get tagged by whoever is “it,” you are frozen in place. To become unfrozen, another player must tap you and yell out the name of a T.V. show (SpongeBob!) A television show can only be used once. The round is complete when all players are frozen. The last person to be tagged is “it” in the next round. If the television theme gets tired, try yelling out types of fruits and veggies, names of movies or types of animals.
- Nature scavenger hunt: Get your kids exploring your own back yard, neighborhood and parks by giving them a scavenger hunt list with items that they can find in nature — but will be challenging. Need an idea? Print off this template for your nature walk.
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