Are you feeling like you want to get outside with your kids this summer and have some fun, but don’t have time to take them to the beach everyday?
Fun Fact: Physical activity helps kids feel more relaxed, gives them more energy and builds their self confidence!
Here are a few very simple games and activities that will provide lots of fun action at home this summer!
1) What time is it, Mr. Fox?
How to play: Choose a starting point and a finish line. Mr. Fox stands on the finish line, while the other player/s stand on the starting line and call out, What time is it, Mr. Fox? Mr. Fox then calls out a time between 1 o’clock and 12 o’clock. The group then takes that many steps.
For example, if Mr. Fox says 3 o'clock, the player/s take three steps towards Mr. Fox.
If Mr. Fox yells, Midnight! the game turns into tag, with players running as fast as they can to the finish line while Mr. Fox tries to catch them. Whomever Mr. Fox catches becomes the new Mr. Fox, and the game starts over.
Prep: Choose a starting line and finish line. Soft ground, like grass, will work best.
How to play: Have your child stand on the starting line. Tell them, when I say (name a fruit or vegetable) you are going to (name a race action). It looks something like this:
When I say strawberry, you are going to gallop to the finish line. Pineapple, carrot, strawberry (child gallops to the finish line)
Here are some ideas for race movements with helpful explanations how to instruct your preschooler to do each movement:
Skip: Bring one knee up into the air, then hop with the other foot. Then switch sides.
Crab walk: Sit on your bottom, put your hands behind you and your feet flat on the floor in front of you. Then, Lift up your bottom and walk sideways with your hands and feet.
Side shuffle: Turn to the side, move with your feet apart, then feet together.
Hop like a bunny: Hold your hands out front like paws, and do little hops.
Hop like a frog: Touch your toes, then jump high in the air.
Stand and spin: Spin one way, then stop and spin the opposite direction so no one gets too dizzy!
Roll like a log: Lay on the ground with your hands above your head and roll across the lawn.
Pencil jump: Jump with your hands straight in the air, Don’t bend your body.
Wheelbarrow: (they will need your help for this one) Hold your child's feet while they walk on their hands from the starting line to the finish line.
3) Mr. Fish
Supplies: a fish puppet
How to play: Choose one person to be Mr. Fish, and have them wear the fish finger puppet. The other player(s) line up on one side of the play area. Mr. Fish stands at the other end. The player(s) shout, Mr. Fish, Mr. Fish, can we cross the river? Mr. Fish either says yes or no. If Mr. Fish says yes, the player(s) run across the yard and Mr. Fish tries to tag them. If he says no, they repeat the chant adding please. Mr. Fish cannot say no to “please.”
When a player is tagged, they become Mr. Fish, and the game starts over.
4) Water Blaster Soccer
Supplies: water blaster, beach ball, chalk, bucket of water
Prep: Blow up the beach ball. Set the supplies outside on a smooth surface. (e.g. a driveway) Draw a rectangle “goal” with chalk some distance from the starting point. (make it an achievable distance, but not too easy)
How to play: Show your child how to dip the water blaster in the bucket of water, then pull up on the handle to suck up water. Demonstrate how to slowly move the beach ball by shooting at it with the water blaster. Show them where their “goal” is. Allow them to play until they lose interest.
5) Obstacle Courses
How to Play:
- Playground Obstacle Course (no set up): Go to your neighborhood park and design an obstacle course using the playground equipment.
*For example: climb up the ladder, run across the bridge, go down the slide, go across the monkey bars (younger kids may need help with this), jump over the swing (or crawl under it), two spins on the spinny thing and touch the fire pole!
- Sidewalk chalk Obstacle Course: Use sidewalk chalk to draw an obstacle course on the sidewalk. You can include, hopscotch, lines to jump over, squiggly lines to walk on like a balance beam, circles to jump on.
7) Water Balloon Toss
Supplies: quick fill water balloons
Prep: Fill all the water balloons by connecting the end to a hose. Turn on the hose and watch the balloons fill with water. Make sure the balloons are over a bucket, they will fall off and seal on their own when they are full.
How to play: Stand facing your preschooler. Pretend the water balloons are little wet fish. Toss one water balloon back and forth. Repeat the following chant and see how many times you can toss the balloon back and forth without dropping and breaking it.
Chant: Fishy, fishy in the lake, how many jumps until you break? 1,2,3,4 etc.
Extension: Take a step back with each toss and see how far back you can get as you count.
8) Sleeping Game
How to play: recite the following chant:
Sleeping, sleeping, everybody sleeping (pretend to lay on the grass asleep)
When you wake up, you will be a (pick an animal from the list below)
Wake up! (model for your child or let them independently act like the animal)
Repeat several times.
Ideas for animals:
9) Water Bucket Races
Supplies: 1 sponge, measuring cup, bucket of water, empty bowl
Prep: Choose a starting line and finish line outside. Place the bucket of water on the starting line and the empty bowl on the finish line.
How to play: Have your preschooler dip their sponge in the water bucket and carry it over to the empty bowl. Teach them how to squeeze the sponge to get the water to come out into the bowl. Tell them to repeat until the bowl is filled. Try again, this time using the measuring cup to transfer water. Let them pick their favorite way to fill the bucket and do it again. This time, count how fast they can do it. Let your child try over and over again to beat their time.
10) Red Light, Green Light
How to play: Choose a starting line and finish line. Have one player stand on the finish line (the traffic controller) and the other player/s at the starting line. The traffic controller turns around with their back facing the other player/s and says green light.
On green light, player/s run towards the traffic controller. Then, the traffic controller turns around and faces the players and says red light. Players all stop where they are and freeze.
The traffic controller repeats this pattern until a player tags them where they are standing. That player then becomes the traffic controller and the game starts over.
Extension: Play by riding a bike or scooter to reach the traffic controller.