You may feel as though the days of kids playing outside in the sunshine and fresh air have been lost in a sea of video game controllers and television screens. If so, take heart! When you guide your kids outside, even join in the play, they’ll be amazed how much fun it is. They’ll probably end up begging for more!
Here are some great yard games for kids to play on their own, but don’t be surprised when everyone is joining in!
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If you have older kids and teens, they might really enjoy a fun game of Bocce Ball (commonly pronounced “BAH-chee” or if you’re Italian “BOH-chay”). This is a fun game that can be played anywhere, which makes it perfect for camping. It is played by two teams of two to four players, and the objective is to try and earn points by throwing your bocce balls so they stop closest to the small ball called a “pallina.”
We’re after informal fun, so you don’t have to be too rigid on the Bocce Ball court. Just mark off an area about 8 to 13 feet wide and keep the balls within that range. All the players take turns tossing their bocce balls down the field trying to get their ball as close to the pallina as possible. Strategy comes in knocking the other team’s balls further from the pallina. Once all of the balls have been tossed, measure the distances from the balls to the pallina. The ball closest to the pallina scores the points for that team. The goal is to be the first team to score 13 points.
A simple and fun game for all ages is a beanbag toss. Younger kids tend to like this game a lot and will want to play it all the time whether they are camping or not. All you need is several bean bags either purchased or handmade, and something to throw them into.
A simple and inexpensive way to set this game up is to get small buckets and set them at different “point” levels for the kids to shoot for. The buckets can be different colors for young ones to identify easier. There are many different variations of this game and you can customize it any way you like.
This game combines flying disks and goals with the objective of deflecting the disk into a designated goal. It is incredibly easy to set up and a blast for kids to play. To play against another team, Kan Jam requires four players, but can easily be played and enjoyed by two.
The goal is to accurately throw a flying disk at a goal where you partner will be standing to deflect it into the goal. Varying points are awarded depending on where the disk ends up. For instance, getting the disk in the goal is worth more than having it deflect off the goal.
Kick the Can
This game has been around a long time, but is still simple and fun to play for kids of all ages. All you need to play this game is a metal can. It is actually a variation of hide and seek combined with capture the flag and can be a lot of fun to play where there are trees, tents, etc. around to hide behind. Make sure that all the kids know the safety rules, and they understand they can’t go way off to hide. Set a perimeter that is acceptable for them to hide within and stick to it.
The rules of this game are simple; one person gets to be “it” and a can is placed in the middle of the playing area near the can. All the other players run off and hide while the “it” player covers his or her eyes and counts to a specified number. Then, he or she tries to find the hiders. If a person is tagged by “it” they are put into a designated area for captured players. It is the job of the uncaptured players to kick the can before being tagged. That releases all the captured players. The more players participating, the more fun this game becomes.