Think back to your own summer holidays when you were a child. Most of the time, we were spending time outdoors and playing in the yard. Let's spend some time remembering these popular summer games and how to play them, and maybe you can inspire your own children to get out from in front of the screens and play!
Hide and Seek
This is a game that everyone has probably played, but maybe it has been a long time. Have you played it with your own children? There are many different ways you play. Sometimes you count to 10, but it might be 20 or even 100. There can be a home base where you can run to and be "safe," combining the hiding and finding with a sort of "tag." In other versions, you just stay in your hiding spot until you are found. The usual idea is that one person is the finder. That person closes his or her eyes and counts to a certain number without looking. Then, after opening his or her eyes, he or she tries to find the others. Capture the Flag This is a great game for a large group, and is perfect for camp, groups of neighborhood friends, or even birthday parties. Split the group into two teams. Each team has a flag or other marker at the team's base. The object of the game is to run into the other team's territory, capture their flag and make it safely back to your own territory. You can tag players from the opposite team when they come into your territory, sending them to jail. They can be released from jail if a member of their own team comes and tags them. The winner is whoever captures the other teams flag and makes it safely back to their own territory.
Make a hopscotch grid on the sidewalk with chalk. Above is one option, but there are many variations that you will find online if you look. Number the squares from 1-9. Pick a rock that is good for tossing - not too small or too large. Toss the rock into square 1, hop over that rock with single feet and double feet as needed to follow the hopscotch pattern, all the way to the end. Turn around and come back, stopping on the second square to pick up your rock. Continue this pattern, tossing the rock onto each square until you either miss your target square or complete the entire grid. As a bonus, this game can even be played with one player so it's perfect for only children!
As with many of these other childhood games, there are many many variations of marbles out there. The general rule is that you draw a circle on the sidewalk with chalk, or even in the sand or dirt. Then, take turns trying to knock each other's marbles out of the circle with your large marble.
Simon Says is a great game because it is so versatile. It requires no equipment and can even be played in the car or small spaces - it doesn't require running around! Basically, one person is "Simon" and gives instructions that begin with "Simon says [insert an action here]." All other players must follow the instructions and do the requested action. However, if Simon gives instructions without saying "Simon says" before it, anyone who does it is out. Play until only one person is left. That remaining person then becomes Simon for the next round.
Tag and Variations
Everyone probably knows how to play some version of tag. The general ideas is that one person is "it." That person chases the others around, trying to tag them with their hand. When someone is tagged, they then become the new "it." There are many fun versions of tag, such as shadow tag, where you try to tag another person's shadow with your feet, freeze tag where you have to freeze when tagged, and TV tag where you have to call out a TV show title to unfreeze someone who is frozen in Freeze Tag. Why not task your children with coming up with their own new version of this popular childhood game? Marco Polo Marco Polo is usually played in a swimming pool. One person is chosen to be "it." That person closes their eyes and yells "Marco." All other players have to say "Polo." The it player then has to try to tag one of the other players without opening their eyes. For safety reasons, make sure everyone that is playing is not in water that is too deep for their abilities!
Musical Chairs Arrange chairs in the circle facing outward. The number of chairs needed is one less than the number of players. One other person will need to be in charge of the music. When the music starts, all players must walk in a circle around the chairs. As soon as the music stops playing, all players must sit down in a chair near them. One player will be left without a chair, that player is out. One chair is then removed from the game, and a new round begins in the same way as the first. This continues until only one person is left. This game can be played inside or outside with outdoor chairs. Telephone This is another game that can be played anywhere - indoors or outdoors! It needs no equipment, just a small group of players. When we play, it usually results in lots of laughing as it can be quite silly! Players all sit in a circle. One person thinks of a phrase or sentence and whispers it to the next person. That person then repeats it to the next person in line, and so on and so on until the phrase reaches the last person. Then that person says aloud what they thought they heard. Usually hilarity ensues as the final sentence is so much different than what was said in the beginning. Freeze Dance This is just good fun! Play some music and everyone dances, the crazier, the better. Once the music stops, everyone has to freeze in position. If you are caught moving after that, you are out. The dancing and stopping continues until only one person remains - the winner.