It’s always fun when the entire family can get outside and have some fun playing together. Not only are you enjoying yourselves, but research shows that being in the great outdoors increases physical activity, which is vital for a family’s health, as well as boosting vitamin D intake, which protects all members of your family from the risk of bone diseases, diabetes and heart disease. In addition, time spent in nature has been linked to lower incidences of ADHD and has been shown to improve test scores for children in many subjects. Plus, being outside improves mood and makes everyone happy.
You can certainly spend your time outside running wild and seeing where it goes, but there’s also something to be said for playing organized games. They build cooperation, teamwork and builds a bond between everyone in the family. There are a variety of great games you can play together in your yard or other outdoor space. Check out the following ideas.
Backyard Obstacle Course
The great thing about a backyard obstacle course is that you can mix and match and switch it up all the time for something new each time you play. Simply use boxes, game pieces or the landscaping in your yard and create a course that includes jumping, sliding, crawling, running and other physical pursuits. You can create challenges and crown winners with prizes and bragging rights. There are also a variety of premade obstacle courses that you can purchase and set up in your trees or on the grass. Either way, engaging in an obstacle course builds endurance, works muscles throughout the body and is so much fun you’ll all want to play over and over again.
Oversized Memory Game
People of all ages can engage their brains and have some fun playing an old-fashioned game of memory. A giant-sized version is a really fun way to put a spin on this classic game and makes it easy to carry outside without worrying about losing the pieces. Of course, you could buy one, but it’s easy to make your own as well. Simply print large photos on a printer (make sure you have two of each), them laminate or coat them in contact paper. You can then lay them out in the grass or driveway and challenge your family members to compete against you to see who can find the most matches. You can also use cork tiles to create a sturdy game of memory that you can play all the time. It’s really fun to use photos of your kids, but you can also use letters, numbers, landmarks or colours and shapes, which will also turn the game into a teaching opportunity at the same time.
Cornhole is a really fun game that requires some skill but is also a great way to engage children of all ages in a game that anyone can play. The game consists of two boards, set at an angle and facing each other. Each has a hole toward the top of the board and the object is to get your bean bag or ball through the hole to score points. You can place the boards close together for younger kids and move them further apart for more experienced players. Setting up a cornhole tournament is a great way to get the entire family involved and have some fun outside at the same time. Cornhole is a very popular game, which means it’s easy to find it at stores or online. To find some of the very best versions, click here. However, because the game is so simple, it’s also easy to drill a hole in a couple of boards, paint them any way you like and wind up with a customized cornhole game of your very own.
Twister is a classic party game that the whole family can enjoy. The caller will tell you which body part to place on which coloured patch and the idea is to twist your body and follow the directions without falling down, in which case you are out. Just as with any other game on this list, it’s very easy to buy one, but it’s just as much fun and easy to make your own. Use a large white sheet and sew rows of blue, green, yellow and red circles on it. You can use washable spray paint and a stencil to create the game right on your grass or driveway. The calling board can easily be printed online or drawn by hand. You’ll spend hours enjoying this game with your family. There are a lot of board games out there, but this one is a true winner.
Recycled Bottle Bowling
If you and your family drink soda, water, tea or juice from 2 litre bottles, you have the makings for a perfect outdoor game everyone will love. Simply clean out the bottles and line 10 of them up in a pyramid formation, just like you’d see at the bowling alley. Then simply roll a lightweight ball toward them, keeping score just as you would when playing at the local alley. You can even spray paint the bottles to make them more eye catching and fun to play with. This is a great game for all ages because you can allow smaller kids to stand closer to the pins, giving everyone a chance to score big. And it’s inexpensive to use items you already have, saving money at the same time. When the pins get worn out, simply swap them out for some fresh ones from your recycling bin and start the game again.
Playing outside should be a priority for all families. If you don’t have a yard of your own, head to the park or ask a friend or family member if you can host a game party in their backyard. No matter where you enjoy your games, everyone in the family will be happy and that’s something you’ll remember for years to come.