Being outdoors, moving about, and engaging in play is even more important for kids, so a list of 30 Classic Outdoor Games for Kids, appearing a few years ago on the website Wired.com, makes for an appealing read, especially since these games require little or no equipment (well, Marco Polo does require a swimming pool). This list will read like a journey through most adults' childhoods, whether you played on a city street, a suburban lawn or driveway, or a country field. It's a worthwhile read.
We've got some additional suggestions, tested on kids we know well. Not all are fully outdoor activities, but all can keep kids busy, active, and having fun for hours.
- Give your kids a box -- the bigger the better. Appliance boxes make clubhouses, cars, rocket ships and more -- sometimes all on the same day. Parents can create windows or doors. A box of markers can add details. Smaller boxes can be sealed up and stacked, making walls, forts, or roadways. The only limitation for this activity is their imagination and it works for kids of all ages, even babies.
- Set up a tire swing. Admittedly, this isn't for everyone, since an old tire and a very sturdy tree branch aren't easy to find. But if you are blessed with both and can come by a sturdy rope and a handy adult to set it up, this can add a new dimension to an outdoor area. Adult supervision is recommended.
- Get a box of sidewalk chalk. This colorful, sturdy chalk can bring out the artist in many children and will wash away the next time it rains or with a hose.
- Have a water fight. This can involve water balloons, water guns, and even spray hoses for older kids. The rules should require kids to opt in, since not every child likes getting wet this way. And participants should be roughly the same age, so things don't overwhelm younger kids.
- Put on a talent show. This is a multi-day activity that can include children of all ages, with the older ones doing the planning and the younger ones participating in a age appropriate ways. Older kids love to be the boss and little ones love to be included. We're not talking about a Broadway production here, but something kids can enjoy and parents can applaud.
- Fingerpaint. Outdoors. Easy clean up. Nothing else to say.
Whatever games or activities you or your children invent, the important things are to be active, to be outdoors where possible, and to have fun. After all, it's summer...