We’re all familiar with the saying, “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” Well, according to experts, this saying is especially true when it comes to children. They need plenty of time outside exploring their surroundings.
And what better place to explore than in your backyard? When you live in an urban area, as I do, it’s easy for children to get lost in the hustle and bustle of city life. This can make them feel disconnected from nature which is something you want to avoid at all costs.
So here are four games that will make your kids happy and create opportunities for adults and children to enjoy each other’s company (and maybe get rid of any pent-up energy accumulated during the day). All these games are also the perfect length to tire kids out just enough but not too much.
1. Soccer – Football Dart Board/ Volley Darts (with or without a net)
The first game is called “Football / Soccer,” and it’s probably one of my favorite games as a child, and I’m sure for most children nowadays – who doesn’t like soccer/football after all? The rules are straightforward:
- The first person to score 7 points wins (e.g., if you hit the center bulls-eye that counts as 2 points, then beat one of the outer ring circles counts as 1 point each).
- Each player gets three tries per turn; you can choose to throw one dart per turn, or you can throw all three together. It’s up to you.
- You can stand anywhere between 8 feet and 16 feet away (2.5 meters to 5 meters) from the dartboard (more than this will make the game too easy).
- When throwing, use a back-handed motion with your dominant hand; if you don’t know that, then flick your wrist like when you want to throw something at someone who annoys you.
2. The Jenga Game
The Jenga game is a block-stacking game produced by the Hasbro company. It was created in 1978 by Leslie Scott and became a popular game worldwide during the 1980s. “Jenga” means “build” or “stretch” in Swahili.
However, there are various versions of this game today with different rules, materials, and sizes. One such version, known as Giant Jenga or Mega-Jenga has recently become popular.
This is a version of giant yard games that uses much larger blocks than standard Jenga which makes it more difficult to play due to strength being needed to remove blocks instead of just balance alone.
Players take turns removing one block at a time from a tower constructed of 54 blocks. After each player’s turn, the tower is left with one less block. Play continues until the entire tower collapses.
The last person to successfully remove a block without causing the tower to collapse wins or, in a more cooperative variant, everyone wins together when the tower falls.
Players of this game must abide by a set of rules while taking turns removing blocks from the Jenga pile:
• Only take one block at a time
• Place removed blocks on top of Jenga structure (do not stand them up)
• Stack smaller pieces on larger pieces (do not place same size pieces next to each other)
• As solo games go, Giant Jenga is relatively easy. But for a group of people, it can be challenging and fun to build the Jenga tower together. The more people on the team, the easier it will be to build and bring down the tower.
Working together is key to this game!
Croquet does not have a dartboard, but I wanted to include this game in this list because it’s a similar concept: you score points by hitting your opponent’s ball out of play with one of your balls the first person to reach 6 points wins.
The court is divided into four equally sized areas by two crossing lines, called “baselines,” from which the balls are played (baseline A and baseline B).
You hit your opponents’ balls with your ball, going from one side of the baseline to another until you miss a shot or land in a “dead end” created by missing a hoop or hitting a peg.
If you miss a hoop or peg and hit a ball out of play (the one you were previously hitting), then your turn is over, and it’s the other person’s turn.
You have to shoot at any hoop on that baseline before shooting at an opposing hoop when you reach the end of your side. This is because if you get three balls through a hoop, that counts as 3 points for that hoop. So basically, this game works like darts in many ways.
There’s scoring by hitting your opponent with discs, but unlike darts here, the fundamental objective isn’t just to score points and win; instead, it’s to get all your discs home so to speak, and the first person who does this wins.
4. Playing Hopscotch with Sidewalk Chalk
This is a straightforward game and very similar to that old classic “Duck, Duck Goose,” only it’s more fun because you use chalk on the sidewalk instead of just sitting in a circle.
Draw out the hopscotch board on the sidewalk with chalk (it should have about 10 or 15 squares) and number each square 1 through 10.
To play the game: throw one rock into square 1, so it bounces back into your hands, then throws another rock into square 2 and call out a number between 2-10.
If someone calls your number, you have to run to that square before someone else does.
Once someone has reached it, they can choose a new number for which players need to race. To make it more interesting, you can also make your own rules for this game, such as to shout out a country name before picking a number, so anyone with that nationality has to run to that square.
So, there you have it. These are some of the best fun games to play with your family outside in the Garden. If you’re not sure about which game to choose next time, don’t worry. The possibilities are endless, and we can guarantee that they’ll be a good fit for any situation.
We hope these four ideas helped get your creative juices flowing so you can enjoy spending quality time together as a family while making new memories outdoors this summer.