Fun Stuff for Kids

Outdoor Fun – Games

My favorite outdoor game as a child was hide-and-seek.  I grew up on a farm and it was a GREAT place to play hide-and-seek.  It also helped that I have many cousins who would come during the summer to visit and made the games extra fun.

Hank and Faith love to be outside as much as possible.  As they are getting older, I am always looking for quick and easy outdoor games and activities.  Below are a few ideas that require very little preparation and/or materials.  In fact, all the ideas use just 2 jump ropes and very little additional equipment.  Feel free to change the rules and/or add a personal touch.  These ideas would also work well in a child care setting, for a youth group, or a gathering of kids.

Have a Great Week!

Lisa

 

The Hungry Octopus

To play, pick one person to be the “octopus”. Then, use 2 jump ropes to make 2 lines at least 15 feet apart.  The other players, the “fish” then line up on either line.  When the octopus shouts “hungry,” everyone tries to cross to the other side while the octopus tries to tag them.  When a fish is tagged, he becomes a tentacle and has to hold hands with the octopus, working with him to try to tag the other fish. When everyone is part of the Octopus, the last fish caught is the new octopus for the next round.  Happy swimming!

 

Everyone Race or Relay

Mark a starting line and a finish line. Everybody can do it at the same time or you can make it a relay race where everyone works together.  To play, everyone “moves” to the finish line in a pre-determined way:  crab walk, crawl, scooting on your bottom, bear walk, bunny hop, frog jump, hopping on one foot, buzzing like a bee, etc.  Any way you choose, but the normal walk.

You can also do other things such as: walk backwards, as slow as you can, as fast as you can, etc.  If you do a relay, try doing it with just one team and timing how long it takes to do a certain race.  Then the team can try to beat their time and go faster.  Happy racing!

 

Cross the Creek

Cross the Creek Game 1 – To play, put two jump ropes about a foot apart on the ground.  Next, take turns trying to jump over the creek. When everyone has jumped once, move the ropes about another foot apart.  Keep moving the ropes until no one can cross the creek without falling in-between the ropes.  Happy jumping!

Cross the Creek Game 2 – To play, put two jump ropes about 5 feet apart on the ground.  Give each child 2 “stones” (paper plates).  Have them start at one end of the “creek” and cross the creek by just stepping on the stones.  If they are struggling, you might have to show them how to place the two stones on the ground and move to the farthest stone, then pick up the stone behind you and put it in front of you to step on.  After everyone has crossed the creek, make it bigger and do it again.  Happy crossing!

 

Splash in the Bucket!

To play, put two jump ropes about 5 feet apart on the ground.  Then place the bucket behind the farthest rope for the “target”.   You will also need a bucket of wet splashballs*.  Have the kids stand behind the first rope and try to hit the “target” with their balls.  Play until all balls have been thrown.  Count how many balls the group got into the bucket.  Play again and see if they can get more in the bucket the second time.  Happy Splashing!

*Splashballs are a reusable alternative to water balloons.  Instructions to make DIY Splashballs to use in your home or child care.

 

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zoom  From PBS.org – Chase Games / Mind Games / Physical Games / Physical Challenges / Relay Races / Sports Games / Word Games – Ideas  to get kids active and playing.

 

Ulitmate Camp Resource – Hundreds of different games for endless summertime fun at ultimatecampresource.com.

123 – Games

As you know, my family loves board games (as expressed in previous posts).  It has always been a huge part of our family life, both prior to children and even more so with children.  As I’ve stated before, playing games isn’t just for fun. When young children play board games, they practice skills, such as:

  • Using language
  • Communication
  • Reading symbols
  • Taking turns
  • Following rules
  • Planning
  • Patience, Persistence, Risk-taking
  • Fine motor development

They also practice math skills:

  • Counting with one-to-one correspondence
  • Estimation
  • Performing simple operations (e.g., dividing cards evenly, adding one more)
  • Problem-solving
  • Identifying patterns
  • Identifying attributes (colors, shapes and sizes)
  • Directionality
  • Predicting the outcome

Here are some of our family favorite board games that incorporate math into the fun.

Have a Great Week!

Lisa

Games_CollageFu

  • Feed the Kitty by Gamewright
  • Spot It Numbers & Shapes by Blue Orange
  • Catch the Match by Playroom Entertainment
  • Count Your Chickens by Playroom Entertainment
  • Pajaggle Rings by Pajaggle
  • Fix the Fence by Weekend Farmer
  • Zeus on the Loose by Gamewright
  • Blink by Mattel
  • Pajaggle by Pajaggle
  • Gold Digger By Out of the Box
  • Rivers, Roads & Rails By Ravensburger
  • Farming Game KIDs by Weekend Farmer 
  • Exact Change By Continuum

On The Go Activities – Musical Memories

Children of all ages are naturally drawn to music.  Infants coo at lullabies, toddlers bang on pots and pans with a wooden spoon, and preschoolers sing and dance to music.

Children learn a variety of skills from musical experiences.  Shaking, tapping, and beating instruments enhance fine motor development.  Children listening for a beat, the sounds of different instruments, tones and lyrics are developmentally important listening skills.

To encourage children’s exploration of music, you don’t have to buy expensive instruments.  Simple instruments can be made out of cans, wooden blocks, containers with beans or other small items.  Adding props for movement and dancing enhances learning.  Balance, coordination, rhythm and beat are all important skills for young children.

The other day on our way home from a weekend away, the kids started to get restless.  I really didn’t want to put in a movie, so my mind drifted back to some of my favorite songs to sing while I was teaching.  Instantly, I thought of Raffi and the wonderful songs that used to fill my classroom. I quickly used my phone and found some videos of him singing his songs on YouTube.  We pulled up Apples & Bananas, 6 Little Ducks, Baby Beluga, and Down By The Bay.  All were big hits.  My kids were mesmerized.  In fact they haven’t stopped singing the songs.

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This got me thinking about other songs that I could share with the kids, both from my classroom experience and even further back to going to camp as a kid.  So I created these Song_Cards to put in my purse and use while we are out and about, in the car and on the go. I hope you enjoy.

This experience reminded me that sometimes drawing inspiration from the past is a great way to connect with the ones you love in the present.  I got to share some of my musical favorites with my kids and create memories that they can carry with them for a lifetime.  I hope that one day they will share some of these musical memories with their children as well.

Have a Great Week!

Lisa