Everyone complains about being bored already? Instead of giving in to the powers of the screen, whether it’s TV, computer or video games, add outdoor games suggested by local experts to your children’s repertoire to get them to looking fresh and off the couch.
Best for 3-10 years
The rules One person is the museum custodian, and everyone else pretends to be dinosaurs in a museum exhibit, says Emily Foell, community director of Lincoln Park at Steve & Kate’s Camp. The museum guard closes his eyes, looks away from the crowd, and the dinosaurs come to life. As soon as the guard turns around, the dinos freeze. If the guard spots movement, the dinosaur is out. It’s also fun to play this game at night with flashlights, suggests Foell.
Best for 2-7 years old
The rules Imagine your backyard (or park or any outdoor space) is a city or town, says Rebecca Cohen, author of 15 Minutes Outside: 365 Ways to Get Out of the House and Connect With Your Kids ($11 on amazon.com). “Bushes can turn into shop windows, sidewalks into roads, leaves and sticks into change,” Cohen says of this easy game that encourages thinking outside the box.
jump the river
Best for All ages
The rules Take two sticks and place them parallel or face to face on the floor. The sticks represent the edges of “the river”, says Cohen. Each child takes turns jumping across the river. After each jump, move the sticks away so that the river widens. If you don’t cross it, you land in the river and are eliminated.
President of the Hill
Best for All ages
The rules Find a slope and choose a player to stand on top (that player is the president). Everyone else stands below. The president kicks the ball to the others downstairs, trying to get the ball to everyone with a kick, Cohen explains. When someone catches the ball, that person becomes the new president.
swing the statue
Best for 3 years and over
The rules It’s a game that dates back to the 1950s, and you need at least four people to play. Form teams of two, with one of each pair being the designated swinger. Each team swings their partners until one person yells “freeze”. The swinger lets go and the other person has to freeze – and hold that position longer than their opponents. (Occasional reminders to be gentle are a good idea with this one.)