Backyard Activities -To Help During Social Distancing Times!
1. Mosquito – you know mosquitoes like to attach themselves to people! The goal is to put as many mosquitoes (clothespins) as possible on the blindfolded players in the middle swatting ‘em with their pool noodle. This is a team activity with one swatter per team...you may want to employ a mechanism to change the mosquito swatter...and if you let them continuously swat from side to die, up and down, then it’s gonna be tough to get bit – and if folks aren’t getting’ bit they may lose interest! Players from each team take turns approaching the players in the middle and attempting to attach clothespins to their clothing. If the blindfolded person swats a mosquito (hits a player with their noodle), the swatted player returns to their team. The team that places the most mosquitoes on the players in the middle wins. Modification 1): Have certain color-coded clothespins that result in more points being awarded. Modification 2): Allow multiple mosquitoes to attack if given a certain command by the leaders. Modification 3): All Against One - all players try to attach their mosquitoes to the victim while he defends himself with a pool noodle.
2. Noodle Hockey - Score goals against the other team, using pool noodles and Wiffle balls! Each player uses a noodle as a hockey stick, the Wiffle balls are used as pucks. A consideration – use the basketball court key as an area that limits the number of people that can enter – a goalie and perhaps one more defensive player as well as two offensive players. Modification: Use multiple “pucks
3. World Cup – Goal is to carry a beach-ball as far as possible using pool noodles. Divide into groups, give every player a noodle and give every team a ball. Specify a starting line and turnaround point for each team – and make it a RACE! The ball cannot be touched with anything at anytime but the noodles! Teams stand at the starting line and work together to lift the ball with the noodles. No one may touch the ball with their hands. Once the ball is over their heads, the team must move as a group to the turnaround point and back to the starting line without dropping the ball. If the ball falls, the entire team returns to the beginning and starts over. The first team to make it to the turnaround point and back wins.
4. Noodle Knights - Divide into 2 teams and give each player a 3 foot piece of foam noodle and a Burger King crown. One team puts the crowns on normal and the other team puts them on inside out (the crowns must be above the ears). The two teams line up about 15 or more feet away from each other, facing off. On a signal they charge and fight for a designated short period of time. A person is out when their crown is knocked off their head. The crowns can only be knocked off by the noodles (no hands, feet, tackling, or head butts!). After the time is up everyone who is out steps out of the playing area and you line up again for another skirmish. Continue until you have a winner.
5. Popcorn - Place objects on the chute and when the leader says go, the participants attempt to set the world record by getting all objects bounced off!
6. Volleyball - Divide your group into two teams (use midcourt line of gym to identify). The leader tosses the ball into the chute and teams attempt to bounce the ball off the opponents side. KEY = DO NOT ALLOW PARTICIPANTS TO USE THEIR HANDS TO BAT DOWN A BALL – THEY MUST KEEP TWO HANDS ON THE CHUTE AT ALL TIMES. The first team to 5 points wins! Keep in mind this activity can be tough with our very large parachute.
7. Parachute Tag: Lift the parachute high into the air. Call out two children’s names. They must trade empty spots by running under the chute, before it comes down on them.
8. All Change: The parent calls out birthday months, pre-assigned numbers, colors, etc, and those children swap places under the chute before it falls, and run to an empty space.
9. Jaws - Players sit on the floor with their legs FULLY extended under the chute. The chute is held taut about a foot off the ground (DO NOT ALLOW FOLKS TO LOOK UNDERNEATH!!!). Players move the chute, creating waves. One or two players (identified by the leaders quietly) slip under the chute to become sharks and attempt to drag the swimmers under the chute as well to become additional sharks. Don’t allow the swimmers to fight too much! The game ends with all swimmers becoming sharks. Modification: Assign a lifeguard or two to help swimmers!
10. Shoe Golf - Shoe golf is simple, the participant uses one of their shoes, and with the shoe resting on their toes, they toss the shoe at the “pin” and “cup” to use golfing language. The cup may be such things as a garbage can, hula hoop, top of a coke machine – be creative! I do recommend avoiding trees!! The player kicks their shoe however many times it takes to get it in the hole.The game is played like golf – you design the holes, determine “par” and let the players loose. This activity can be played indoors or outdoors.
11. Wild, Wild West! - Participants will attempt to shoot ping-pong balls (Dixie Cups etc.) off their partner’s head with Nerf guns.
12. Frozen T-Shirts - Wet old t-shirts, roll them up, freeze them overnight….and then give one to each team (Teams of 2) to pull apart and put on over BOTH of ‘em (freezing!) Don’t roll ‘em too tight!
13. Cheese Head - Our fierce competitors face each other, one teammate wearing a shower cap covered in shaving cream, the other holding a bowl of cheese balls. Who could make the most cheese balls land and stick on his/her partner’s head? Note: This game can get really messy!
14. Popsicle on a String! - One player holds string in mouth (with popsicle dangling towards ground); other partner lays on the ground and must eat the popsicle without using their hands! Gonna get messy!
15. Human Darts! - Some brave soul(s) sits in a chair...take turns tossing water balloons (or other fun objects)! Direct hit scores “X” points! Could use plastic underneath chair and mark circles, points given to where balloon hits – thus human darts!
16. My Cup Runneth Over! - Player 1 lays on ground with cup held on their forehead. Player 2 runs to table, fills a smaller cup with H2O, places the cup on their head (and at this point cannot touch the cup!), and then races to their partner. At this point, the player takes the cup off their head and attempts to pour the water in the other players cup (cannot bend over!!!). Select cups so that multiple trips are required.
17. Some classics - Relay race with eggs on spoons, water balloon toss, egg toss
18. Hopscotch - Great if you do not have much grass in your yard!
19. Four-Square - Another good one for paved driveways. Usually tape off 16x16 courts with perpendicular center lines but can be made smaller for your driveway. Equipment: a kickball and tape. Rules: One player stands in each of the squares, with the highest ranked player in number one, lowest in number four. You bounce the ball among the players, bouncing once in the other person's square before that person bounces it to another square. You are eliminated and head back to square 4 if A) the ball bounces twice in your square or B) the ball bounces once in your square and you cannot get to it before it bounces out of bounds. You can only score by being the person to eliminate players while you are in square one. The person who scores to most eliminations wins. https://www.wikihow.com/Play-Four-Square
20. Break out the jump ropes!
21. Red light, green light - One person is the traffic light at one end, and the other players are at the other end. When the traffic light faces the group, the traffic light says, "Red light!" and everyone must freeze. The traffic light then turns his or her back and says, "Green light!" while the group tries to get as close to the traffic light as possible. The traffic light turns around quickly, again saying, "Red light!", and if anyone is spotted moving after “Red light!” is said, they have to go back to the starting place. The first person to tag the traffic light wins and gets to be the next traffic light.
22. Mother, May I? - This game is set up in the same way as Red Light Green Light. One person in the group asks the person in the front, "Mother, may I take steps forward?" The person at the front then says, "Yes, you may." or "No, you may not." You can vary your requests by including options such as taking baby steps, spinning steps, leaps or whatever strikes your fancy. Again, the first person to tag the person in the front wins and is the next person in the front
23. Dig for gold - For those who have large backyards, or are flexible with what they can do in their backyards. Allow your child(ren) to get out a shovel and dig for gold or to the other side of the world! Keep a small area where they are allowed to dig. Come up with scenarios like calling it their archaeological site or that there were clues about the treasure buried there. When they go for water breaks you can plant little treasures (maybe paint small rocks gold) for them to find. ** if you have a sandbox or sandy play area you could even pre-plant the treasures!
24. Set up a backyard scavenger hunt!
25. Ring toss: Place cones or something you own of similar shape around the backyard. Use hula hoops or something similar and have the child(ren) toss them to catch on the cone. You can allot point values to the different cones or just play without scores!
26. Build an obstacle course - This one just comes from using anything you have as a play activity. A loose 2x4 can become a balance beam just as an old tire can become a platform. You can include skateboards or bikes placed strategically as mobile parts of the course. ** modification: throw water balloons at the course contestant!
27. Learn to hula hoop!
28. Learn to skateboard!
29. Learn to/practice playing catch with different balls of different sports (or pass soccer balls with feet!)
30. Learn to ride a bicycle!
31. Hacky sack!
32. Teach the family dog new tricks!
33. Scratch tic-tac-toe or hang man into the dirt or using chalk!
34. Play a board game like monopoly, trouble, etc. on a picnic blanket outside!
35. If you do not have volleyball supplies, just blow up a balloon, draw a line, and play balloon volleyball!
36. Find your friend - If you have a flat area with no trip hazards, and 2+ participants. Blindfold the participants spread away from one another, spin them around a few times, and let them loose to try to make it back to each other. If you have a bigger family, have them link arms until everyone is back together again.
37. Blinded bluff - Have one child put a blindfold on and spin them around a few times. Lead the blindfolded child around the yard while winding them around in circles. Eventually, stop somewhere and have the child guess where they are!
38. Capture the Flag - This is a popular game among kids of all ages (especially at camps!) and will certainly keep them active and engaged. It's played in a large backyard or field with two teams who each defend their own flag (or some specific light object like a beach ball or even a stuffed animal) from home base. The object of the game is to capture the other team's flag and successfully return it to home base without getting tagged. If a player wanders into the other team's territory, he risks getting tagged and of therefore being frozen or ousted from the game.
39. Water Balloon Catch - Fill balloons with water, and divide the children into teams. Start tossing the balloons to each team, slowly increasing the distance. The team at the long distance that has not broken their balloon, wins!
40. Kan Jam - The play involves one Frisbee, or disc, that gets thrown into a garbage-can sized container. The goal is to score the most points by sending your disc into the allotted container. If the disc is thrown directly into a special slot on the side of the container, your team is an instant winner.
41. Nine Pin - Set up nine pins instead of 10. Pins should be set up in a diamond and can be anything from empty milk cartons to small cones or 2-liter soda bottles. Find a plastic ball that's heavy enough to knock over some pins, and you're all set. For simple rules, award players points per bowl. The person with the most points wins.
42. Ladder Ball - A kit for this game can be bought or build it yourself! It's played with bolas (a string with a ball connected at each end) that players then toss toward a three-rung ladder. The object of the game is to attach your bola to the rungs and score points. Different points are awarded depending on which rung is hit (i.e. more points if the player wraps his bola around the highest rung). The person who reaches 21 points first, wins. This game can be played one-on-one or with teams, and is great for all ages.
43. Outdoor Checkers - This game is great because it combines arts and crafts and cognitive reasoning with outdoor play. Grab some sidewalk chalk and draw a giant square, then outline the horizontal and vertical lines to make up the board. Mark an "X" in the alternating boxes that should represent the white squares, and tell the kids to color in all of the boxes that contain an "X." Get creative with the checker pieces -- the kids can spend some time creating their own by coloring the backs of paper plates with the color of their choice, or they can use different objects like blue and red Frisbees.
44. Wiffle Ball - This game is played the same as baseball, except the ball used is much lighter and there are no bases. Played with a wiffle ball, this game can be enjoyed with as few as two players (a pitcher and a batter). The wiffle ball cannot be thrown or hit as far as a baseball, so three zones are set up on the playing field and points are awarded according to where the ball lands, if it is not caught. The zones act much like bases -- if the ball lands in the first zone, the player has made it to first base; if the ball makes it past the third zone, the player has hit a home run.
45. Doggy, Doggy, Where’s Your Bone - In this game, the child who is the Doggy turns around while someone steals his “bone”. The bone can be any object, but with smaller kids using a toy bone might make it easier to understand. When the Doggy turns around, all the children attempt to look guilty while Doggy guesses who stole the bone. With little ones, let them guess until they pick the right person, then it's the next child’s turn to be doggy. If you are playing with older kids, you can add a limit to guesses.
46. Digging for Dinosaurs - Bury toy dinosaurs in the dirt and have kids dig them out.
47. Octopus - This game of tag involves an Octopus who is IT and fish who need to get from one end of the yard to the other without being tagged. Once tagged, kids have to stay in place and try to tag others as they pass
48. Ghosts in the Graveyard - Whoever is the ghost will hide while the rest of the children count from 1 o’clock to midnight. The kids will then link arms and walk around the house chanting “Star light, star bright, hope I see a ghost tonight” until the ghost pops out. At that point, it is a straight game of tag. The ghost has to try to tag someone before they make it back to safety. The first person tagged or the last to safety is the next ghost.
49. Sack Races!
50. Snake Bite - One person stands in the center and spins the jump rope around on the ground. The players have to jump the rope as it comes around. If the rope hits you, you are out. The last person standing is the next snake.
51. Skip Rocks!
52. Splash in Puddles - Whoever creates the biggest splash wins.
53. Hide and Seek
54. Make Sidewalk Chalk Paint- this makes drawing on the sidewalk fun and it’s easy to make with a few simple ingredients! https://myhomebasedlife.com/summer-sidewalk-chalk-paint/
55. Minute to Win It Games: https://www.playpartyplan.com/minute-to-win-it-games-for-kids/
56. Animal Hide & Seek: a twist in your standard hide and seek game. However, in this version, each person adopts an animal sound and must call out that animal sound in order to eventually be found!
57. Make a Worm farm:
58. Mud Painting
59. Make a nature bracelet or necklace
60. DIY water sponge balls: Use instead of water balloons.
61. Make towers by balancing rocks
62. Have a camp out in your back yard
63. Roast Marshmallows and make smores
64. Make a garden “potion”
65. Make a mini succulent garden
66. Press some flowers
67. Bug hunting
68. Leaf Paintings
69. Nature Tie Dye
70. Use items from nature (sticks, leaves, rocks, grass, etc) to paint a picture.
71. ABC game with animal names
72. Make a cabin/house out of sticks
73. Make stick people out of fallen sticks
Check out the PDF Below - Make your own Bubble, Paste, & Clay