Friday, June 27, 2008

Backyard Sports for Kids

We’re entering the sweltering season of summer heat now and I wanted to share a few ideas to keep the kids entertained while beating the heat.

It’s summer so kids want to be outside, even if it is 100 degrees. We bought a kiddie pool for our girls last year for about forty dollars and it has a little slide built into it. They love it and I laughed pretty hard when my 2 ½ year old went down the slide for the first time into the chilly water and sucked in her breath. You know that feeling when the cold water gets on your stomach—don’t you?


That little pool has offered hours of great fun. It’s usually just for an hour at a time and we always make sure to slather the kids in sunscreen first. So I’ve already gone over what a great summer sport swimming is, what else is there to do?

Well, for starters you can check out your city’s recreation program. There should be all kinds of sports and activities offered for kids of all ages—everything from soccer to gymnastics, basketball to drama. There are also thousands of summer camps of every type and variety offered around the country. Just Google “summer camps for kids” and you’ll see what I mean.

Since my kids are young and also because I grew up on a farm miles away from the city’s recreation program, I’d like to mention some activities you can do right in your own backyard.

Frisbee
Water balloon volleyball
Sponge Toss
: take water-soaked sponges and throw them at targets
Play limbo using the backyard sprinklers or hose
I also found a cool website with hundreds of games for kids, with rules and descriptions of how to play http://www.gameskidsplay.net/We loved games like kick the can, capture the flag, hide and seek, etc.
Scavenger hunts or Treasure hunts are always great and you can have a different one every other day if you want based on a different theme that teach kids fun stuff: Pirates, Coins, Letters, Numbers, Plants/flowers, Bugs
What about the sport of bug collecting? This is fun for all ages! You can get your kids little magnifying glasses and bug kits at the dollar store.
And we can’t forget reading! The summer reading program across the nation is “Catch the Reading Bug!” When it’s hot outside, visit your library and pick up some great books to read.

And I have to mention my kids’ favorite outside game of all time: Sandwich! Yes, you read right. The name of the game is “Sandwich.” Remember my kids are age 5 and 2, but this is a favorite that we made up.

Last year we’d go for summer evening walks and when we got back the girls always screamed that they wanted to play “Sandwich.”

Here’s how you play. My husband and I would sit out on the lawn and then say, “Oh, I’m so hungry. I’d really like to eat a sandwich right now. Hmmm, how about a Gracie sandwich?” Then I would jump up and chase my screaming little girls and grab them and pretend to eat them. Sometimes we would roll them up in a blanket and have a “Maggie burrito” if we were really hungry. The girls love it and would run around in circles and want us to “eat” them again and again. Sometimes we would pretend to put mustard and mayo and pickles on them and tickle them while we made our delicious sandwiches. Pretty silly, huh? But loads of fun!

I’d love to hear some of your favorite summer games. Get out and have fun and beat the heat!
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