Rest, relax and have some good old-fashioned family fun with games and activities you'll love
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In this longtime favorite, the person who is “It” stands at home base and counts to twenty (or more, provided everyone knows the count), while the other players scatter and hide. “It” shouts “Ready or not, here I come!” and goes in search of the hiders.
When “It” spots a hider, he calls out, “I see Abby,” and they both race toward home base. If “It” beats Abby home, he catches her by touching the base and yelling, “One, two, three, I got Abby!” But if Abby reaches home base first and yells, “One, two, three, I’m home free!” she is safe.
• A player doesn’t have to wait until he is found to race back to safety at home base.
• When all the players are found, the first player caught becomes the new “It.”
7. Sardines — Backwards Hide-and-Seek
The twist here is that all players eventually squeeze, or sardine, into a small hiding spot together. One player hides while all the others shut their eyes and count to 100. Then, seekers split up and search alone. If one of the seekers finds the hider, he or she slips into the hiding place as well.
Ideally, the hiding place should be somewhere that will accommodate all players, but it never is, and as other players find it, they crowd in, and the hiding spot becomes tighter and it becomes harder to keep the growing crowd silent. When the last player finds the hiding place, the “sardines” free themselves from the confines and silence of the tight quarters and the game begins anew.
8. Ringalevio or Manhunt
This game has survived generations and is better suited to older children and teens, particularly when it is played at night. Start with two equal teams: chasers and runners. A deck or a front porch is a good choice for a home base, which also serves as a “jail” for captured players. Set your boundaries and the chase is on.
Starting at home base, chasers count to twenty while runners flee. Then chasers try to catch runners, who try to avoid capture by dodging and zigzagging away. When a runner is caught, the chaser must hold on to the captive and say, “Ringalevio!” If the runner fails to struggle free, he is taken to jail. The first player to capture a runner becomes the jailer and remains near home base, guarding the prisoners. If the jailer steps foot inside the jail, all prisoners are free. Free runners may rush through the jail, tag prisoners and shout, “Ringalevio-free!” And, if prisoners grasp hands, one free runner can free all captives in one fell swoop by tagging just one prisoner. Prisoners, as well as the player who freed them, must carefully avoid being tagged by the jailer. Anyone tagged by the jailer at this point is jailed again. Chasers win after all the runners are captured. Then players switch roles and the game starts over.
9. Obstacle Course
The obstacle course is a great activity at summer parties and backyard barbeques. It can be as intricate or as simple as the materials you have on hand. Simply tailor your course to the ages of the participants in your group. Teach the kids how to set up courses of their own and to change the order and obstacles to keep things exciting. Here are a few ideas for stations:
• Walk or hop along a winding garden hose or jump rope.
• Crawl under lawn chairs or limbo under a pool noodle slung across two lawn chairs.
• Hop through a rope ladder on one foot.
• Balance a golf ball on a tee (or on a spoon).
• Balance along a “beam” made out of planks placed on cinder blocks.
• Hop with a ball between one’s knees.
• Toss a water balloon in the air, spin around and then catch it.
• Navigate a row of hula hoops (eight to ten). Step into each hoop, lift it overhead and drop it behind, as you move forward. (Reset the row before the next person’s turn.)
10. Egg or Balloon Toss
Using either a raw egg or a water balloon, partners toss the fragile item back and forth to one another. On each successive toss, they take a big step backwards, thereby increasing the difficulty. The winner is the team that can toss the egg or balloon farthest without breaking it.
The tug-of-war is the ultimate game of strength, endurance and teamwork. You’ll need a sturdy, long rope (about thirty feet), marked in the middle with a piece of colored tape or tied with colored string. Mark the center of the ground with a line of chalk or tape. Choose teams and place them on either side of the center. The last person on the rope (at the back) should be the biggest and strongest, in order to “anchor” the rope.
When the whistle is blown, both teams pull hard on the rope. The winning team is the one that pulls the opposing team’s leader across the centerline first.