SUMMER SESSION WEEK FOUR
Some of my favorite memories are of playing games outside on a summer evening. Playing outside on a summer night is a great way to build a family tradition and have fun together. Here are some ideas for games that can be played alone or with other people / family.
RED LIGHT – GREEN LIGHT
This is a classic children’s game that can be played in small spaces or in the yard. It can be played with several children or just one so it is perfect for our time of limited social interactions.
One person is the Traffic Light. The other child, or children, line up some distance away from the Traffic Light Person. The Traffic Light Person turns their back to the children and says Green Light. Everyone runs toward the traffic light until he/she turns around and says “Red Light” which signals everyone to stop. This continues until, while the Traffic Light Person has their back turned, someone crosses over the line by the Traffic Light Person. Then that person gets to be the Traffic Light.
HIDE and SEEK
Another classic children’s game. Children love to hide. A version of this can adapted to a single child. Have the child play Hide and Seek with stuffed animals. Have the child hide their eyes and you can hide their stuffies all around the room. It is basically a version of an Egg Hunt. Say “Open your eyes” and have the child find their stuffies. Then do it again, and again, and again! Let the child hide the stuffies if they want.
Relay Races can also be done as a solo activity or with a small group. Set up two lines and race between the two points back and forth.
~ Spoon and an Object Race – using a spoon to carry an object from one basket to another basket
~ Water Fill – Put water in one container and with some kind of smaller container take the water from the filled container to the empty container. How fast can you fill the empty container?
~ Bean Bag – Take a bean bag from one container and run to the other container – toss it in that container and run back to retrieve another bean bag. Run back and forth till all the bean bags are in the second container.
~ Clothes Pin Drop – Have a bunch of clothes pins in a basket and a container with a narrow opening. Pick out one clothes pin and run to a container with the opening in it. Drop the clothes pin through the opening. Run back and get another clothes pin until they are all gone.
~ Animal Run – Have a picture of an animal in a basket. Pick out the picture and run/hop/crawl like the animal to the other line.
~ Clothes Race – Have a piece of clothing in a basket. Run to that basket and put the piece of clothing on. Run back to the start and take the piece of clothing off. Mittens, hats, socks, are easy pieces of clothing to use for this race.
~ Water Balloon Race – Have a basket of water balloons. Pick one out of the basket and run to the other line. Have a target to toss your water balloon at. Run back and get another water balloon.
~ Any kind of repetition that your child would like to do makes a great relay race.
Make a Bingo Card with a variety of things to find that your child is interested in. Then go on a walk to try and fill in all the squares on your card. This can be an inside activity, one to do in your yard, on a neighborhood walk or one you do on a hike.
~ Things I See --Different colored vehicles, construction vehicles, animals, colors, numbers, plants/trees/flowers, sounds, etc.
~ Family Bingo Card -- send a family member a card/letter/call them/visit them to mark off their square.
~ Things I Eat – put the pictures of food your child likes to eat (or you want them to eat) and mark them off during the day.
~ Books I Read – like the Summer Reading Programs at the library you can make your own reading program and have them mark off the card as they read the books during the summer. You can do the squares with names of books or categories of books.
WHAT IS MISSING
Put a variety of objects on a tray. Have the child look at the tray and say the names of the items on the tray. Have them close their eyes and take an item away. Can they remember what item is gone? Start with 3 items then add more as they get better at naming the missing items.
A variation of this game is to hide the item under a cup instead of taking it away.
OR hide one item under a cup and have them guess what cup the item is under.
Play a game with food. Can they guess the food by smelling it? Have them smell different fruit and then make their SMOOTHIE SNACK with the food they guessed. Bananas, strawberries, raspberries mixed together with some yogurt and ice cubes in a blender makes a yummy snack. You can then take the extra smoothie and freeze it for a frozen smoothie popsicle for another day.
Using beads or colored O’s cereal have the child follow a pattern (or just go free form!) to make a necklace.
You can roll a dice made of colored squares to choose the color to add next.
This is another classic children’s game that takes no equipment and can be done anywhere. Find an object and say, “I spy with my little eye something that is _____”. Give some kind of clue about the object you are looking at: A red boat in the water, a green car, a yellow rose, etc. After the child guesses it is their turn to spy something.
Playing games with your child is a learning activity that is fun and builds family relationships. You can play games that will be a foundation of family activities as they grow up. The Jacobson Family played croquet and we just gave Joel a croquet set for his Father’s Day gift. It will be part of their family traditions to have Ansel and Zoe learn the fun of croquet! Greta’s family plays putt putt golf at the Red Putter every time they go home to Door County. We love the Red Putter! The memories you create playing games with your child can last a lifetime.
Have fun playing games with your child this week …. And all of their life!