Get active! Outdoor family games that are just plain f.u.n.
If you’re the person who gets up at 5:30am and goes for a jog before the kids get up, this article is not aimed at you. Let it be known that you people who are able to muster the motivation to keep active within an already insanely busy schedule, you are my personal heroes. I’m not one of those people, and I have to give myself a 15 minute pep talk to take part in any activity that resembles “exercise”. But because I know how important it is to keep my family healthy and moving, I’ve found a few outdoor games that are 1) fun and 2) make me feel like I’m actually telling the truth when my doctor asks me if I “exercise regularly”.
For being as lazy as I am, I have quite a large competitive spirit and always loved the thumping sound the plastic ball makes when it connects with the big hollow bat (yes, I like the tree-trunk sized bat best). This is an excellent sport to teach kids hand-eye coordination, following rules and good sportsmanship. Plus all the summer play stuff is on sale in the stores, score!
Badminton, Paddle Ball…or Anything with a Racquet
Depending on the age and ability of your children, this could easily prove to be a task in futility…if you’re practicing to be become professionals. At minimum, it’ll help your kids with their hand-eye coordination. At maximum, it’ll have you chasing the no-way-could-Inspector-Gadget-even-hit-that-birdie all over the yard. See? It’s exercise, masked in fun. And unlike adults, kids still think it’s a blast even when they’re no good at it.
Bean Bag Toss
Thanks to all the college kids across America, this outdoor game has made a resurgence into mainstream, um, sports (I believe they call it “cornhole” or “bags”…just what I’m told). They do have versions strictly for kids, but here’s a cute version at Walmart for only $24.86 that can work for the whole family. This activity doesn’t equate running a marathon, but it’s still physical and is better than plopping on the couch for another mind numbing episode of Max & Ruby.
Like wiffle ball, I actually enjoy the challenge of making baskets—when I sink one, it makes me feel that I actually do have an inkling of athleticism still tucked away somewhere. And even though I personally think basketball hoops are not the most aesthetically pleasing lawn ornament, functionality far outweighs over form. Kids will play basketball for hours (remember P-I-G or H-O-R-S-E?). They do, however, make basketball hoops that are adjustable in height and on wheels so you could always stow it away in the garage before your Better Homes & Gardens photo shoot.
What outdoor games do you play with your family? Inspire other families with your ideas!