Whatever happened to good, old-fashioned fun? I’m here to tell you, friends. Nothing happened. Good, old-fashioned fun is waiting for you and your family right outside your back door. Not only can you have hours of fun together, but you can do it for free while getting (dare I say it?) exercise, too! Like some cosmic added bonus, you’ll all get to unplug from screen time — cell phones, television, computers, eReaders, iWhatevers. You can have a blast together no matter how old your kids are or how un-athletic you may be. Goodness knows, I’m as uncoordinated as they come and you can’t keep me away from a game of kick ball. Here’s a fun list of games that will get you playing, laughing, and having some good old-fashioned fun… together!
Freeze Tag: An oldie but goodie, freeze tag will have your family giggling like crazy. Kids just love the thrill of chasing and being chased. How to play: Pick one person to be It. Set up boundaries if you are not in an enclosed yard. Use trees, hedges, etc. as boundaries. When the person who is It calls out, “Go!” the other players will scatter in different directions. The person who is It will try to tag the players. Any player who is tagged will freeze and can only be unfrozen and run again by another player who has not yet been tagged. The last person who is not frozen becomes It for the next game.
Spud: Like a combination of freeze tag and dodge ball, Spud will have everyone smiling. The object of the game is to run as far and as fast as possible from the person who is throwing the ball and to dodge the ball when it’s thrown at you without moving your feet. You’ll want to be sure to use a soft ball (foam or bouncing ball) so no one gets hurt. How to play: Start with a person in the middle. That person is the thrower. Everyone else should stand within arm’s reach of the thrower. The thrower tosses the ball straight up into the air. As soon as the ball goes into the air, the players can all begin to run away from the thrower. When the thrower catches the ball, he yells, “Spud!” at which point the players must stop immediately where they are. The thrower then tries to tag someone with the ball. The frozen player can try to dodge the ball but is not allowed to move his or her feet. If the player is hit, he or she will get the letter “S” and move to the middle to be the next thrower. If the thrower misses, he or she gets the letter “S” and stays in the middle. When a player gets all four letters, “S-P-U-D,” she is out of the game. The game continues until there is only one player left. That player is the winner.
Sardines: This is a game that never fails to bring out the kid in everyone. It’s essentially a reverse version of hide and seek. How to play: One person who is It hides and everyone else looks for him. When each player find the person, that player joins the person who is It in the hiding place. As the players all crowd into the hiding place, everyone gets packed together like sardines in a can. The last person to find the hiding place is the next one to be It.
Kick Ball: My all time favorite game, I ain’t gonna lie. This just brings out the kid in me and it’s bound to do the same for you. How to play: Divide everyone into two teams. Lay out four bases in a baseball diamond formation. One team kicks and the other plays outfield. The kicker stands at home plate while a person from the other team acts as a “pitcher” and rolls the ball. The kicker kicks the ball and tries to get to first base. If the ball is caught in the air, the kicker is out. If a kicker is tagged by the ball in between bases, she is out. After three outs the teams switch places. The team that crosses home plate the most times wins.
None of these games requires much other than time, energy and a willingness to have some fun. Remember that the winning part comes from spending time together, so promote good sportsmanship here by encouraging graciousness and fair play. Everyone should walk away (or stumble away, clutching a stitch in your side depending on your age) with a smile and another wonderful memory.
Beth McAfee-Hallman lives in Covington and can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.