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Go for the Gold with Your Own Backyard Games

boy jumping through hula hoop

When school’s out, kid boredom can creep in. We have the perfect solution: Hold your own backyard games competition! These five games all use kid-size objects (like Hula-Hoops and bouncing balls) so everybody can get in on the fun. Have a competition with an awards ceremony if you like, or skip the medals altogether and just focus on having fun. (Pretty hot outside? Check out these five ice experiments for some awesome ways to cool off!)

1. “Torch” Relay

You can make your own relay with a spin on the classic game “hot potato.” Have everyone sit in a circle and give one person something to hold, such as a flashlight, bean bag, or small toy. Play a song on your phone (the theme song from Rocky perhaps?) and have the players pass the object around the circle. Every so often, press pause—whoever is holding the object when the music stops is out. Continue playing until there’s only one player left.

2. The Javelin Toss (aka, the Hula-Hoop Pool Noodle Throw)

Tie a Hula-Hoop on a low-hanging tree branch using a length of rope, and have each child attempt to throw a pool noodle through the hoop. If your kids are on the younger side, hang the Hula-Hoop fairly low to start, and then move the hoop to a higher branch as they start to get the hang of the game.

3. Splash-Pool Synchronized “Swimming”

You don’t need a professional choreographer to orchestrate a synchronized swimming routine—just play follow-the-leader! Organize some chairs around a splash pool so that all the “swimmers” can put their feet in the water. Once everybody’s ready, pick a leader and start playing a fun song on your phone. Have the leader start by showing off some sweet (but simple) moves, like lifting one leg or arm, making small splashes with her toes, bending forward and reaching her hands in the water, etc. The rest of the group must copy the movements. And just like that, boom: a synchronized “swimming” routine! Change leaders after every chorus and keep the swimming routine going.

4. The No-Running Race

 Use some kid-size cones or other toys to mark a start and finish line, and then think of ways to race without running. Try crab walking, jumping with feet together, hopping on one foot, taking giant steps, walking backward, doing somersaults or cartwheels...get goofy and have fun!

5. Bouncy Ball Archery

Draw a large, circular target with five rings on a concrete wall, sidewalk, or driveway using chalk, and then bring on the bouncing balls! Take turns trying to hit the bullseye. Keep score if you wish, or just make it a game of target practice!

Bonus: Don’t forget the medals!

Turn the podium ceremony into an event where everyone wins by crafting your own medals. Use shiny contact paper, claypaper platescardboard, or even gold foil-wrapped cookies (yum!).

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