Backyard Games


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    By: ActivityTree

    I have the fever that comes along every two years when people from all over the world come together to celebrate each others' accomplishments.  The games support the idea that we are more similar than we are different. Why not bring the same idea to our own backyards?  Host "Backyard Games".  

    Invite kids from all over the neighborhood or from other neighborhoods; even kids your kids don’t play with on a regular basis.  Form teams with a focus on helping kids build new relationships.  Enlist other parents not only to share the work, but also to help parents make new connections.

    Create events based on what you have available.   Here are some suggestions:

    Water Balloon or Egg Toss

    Fill a few water balloons, or if you prefer find a few eggs.  Teams of two stand opposite each other and toss the balloon or egg back and forth to each other.  Each time they succeed in catching the balloon or egg without dropping it or breaking it, they take one step backward.  The winning team is the one that successfully catches the balloon or egg at the greatest distance.  If you run out of room, have the remaining teams continue to throw and catch at the maximum distance until one of the teams drops the balloon or egg, or breaks it.

    Kick Ball

    Grab a ball and find a flat space to field a kick ball game.  Depending on the number of participants, you can schedule games to determine who advances to the semi-finals or finals.  Or, plan one to three games between the same two teams to determine the winner.

    Obstacle Course

    Grab cones, basketballs, hula hoops, jump ropes, whatever you have on hand and create an obstacle course.  Obstacles can involve running or dribbling a ball in and out of or around cones, shooting a ball into a basket or hula hoop, jumping over cones or jump ropes, jumping jacks, hula hooping, jump roping, sit ups, spinning around in a circle or anything else you can imagine.  Engage the kids in creating the obstacles.  Kids come up with fantastic obstacle ideas!

    Running Races

    Have a short and long distance running race.  Easy as ready, set go!  Use a stop watch to keep time and make it more official. 

    Baseball Throw

    Mark off distances in advance and use bean bags or something similar to mark and compare throws.  Allow each athlete to throw two to three times.  Be ready to duck, just in case.

    Long Jump

    I like to set up long jumping right where the driveway or other hard surface meets the grass, assuming there is not a step or drop off.  This way kids have a hard surface to launch from and a softer place to land. Mark the start of the jump with chalk on the driveway.  Use a tape measure to measure the jumps of each athlete.  Record each jump as you go. 

    Medal Ceremony

    No athletic competition is complete without a medal ceremony.  Visit a local party store to find inexpensive plastic medals or ribbons.  You will be blown away by how much kids value these small symbols of their accomplishments.  Based on the age of the children and your own personal opinions, award medals to all participants or only those individuals or teams who won events. 

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