Hide items in the yard and have the kids try to find them. This can be as easy or elaborate as you choose. Rather than encouraging competitiveness, have the children work together to find all the items. Look for items you already have on hand, or you may want to look through the dollar aisles for some easy to hide and big to appreciate items.
This inventive summer toy is sure to be a big hit the kids of all ages. The big beach ball inflates and connects to your water hose. When the water is turned on, the ball turns into a sprinkler, with water spraying out on all sides. It's perfect for your backyard or garden and will keep the kids busy for a while. (Available at most retailers at an average price of $20.)
The child who is "it" tags the other children by catching up to them and touching them. Once tagged, the child must remain frozen until another free child goes through their legs. When all the children are frozen (except the one who was chosen as being "it") the game is over and you can start again.
A box of chalk can be purchased just about everywhere from the grocery store to Target. This $3 investment can provide hours of fun for kids of all ages. The younger ones can draw Michelangelo-inspired impressions on the sidewalk or driveway, while the older kids can try their hand at hop scotch or tic-tac-toe.
Children love to play in the sand and can fill hours with creative play. You can choose to purchase one of these brightly colored, animal shaped sand structures or build your own sandbox using a kiddie pool and some sand from the local hardware store.
Include some activities like walking or hopping along a winding a garden hose, crawling under chaise chairs, walking with a ball between your knees or jumping through hula hoops. Make sure that the course is age appropriate and safe from any hazards.
Make an easy bean bag toss using a double layer of poster board glued together and a large box. Before attaching the poster board to the bottom layer of the box, paint a design on it, allowing for one or more holes. If you are opting to purchase the bean bag toss game, you can expect to spend anywhere from $25 on the low end and up to $99 for the more elaborate manufactured sets, all of which are available at your local sporting goods retailer.
The object of Bocce is to get as many of your bocci (bigger, weighted balls) as close to the pallino (smaller target ball) as possible. If you are successful in getting the bocci closer to the pallino than your opponent, you will be awarded points. Bocce sets are available at several retail stores and average about $50.
Each of these activities is easy to play, fun to use and provide hours of summer fun. Play together and transform your backyard into the entertainment palace of the season for you and your kids!
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