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8 Backyard games to keep kids entertained

Suzi Milovanovic has been a mother of all kinds: stay at home mom, work from home mom, and go-the-office working mom. She blends all these perspectives in her contributions to various local and national print and online publications, tel...

Fun in the sun!

This season, your backyard may be an alternative to theme parks and mega-resorts, or as the place to decompress after one of these action-packed adventures. Either way, these fun and creative activities can be enjoyed together in the luxury of your own backyard oasis during those lazy days of summer.

Girl with Chalk

1Scavenger hunt

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.

>> Keeping toddlers active

2Beach ball sprinkler

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.)

3Freeze tag

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.

4Chalk it up!

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.

5Sandbox

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.

6Obstacle course

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.

>> Water, water everywhere

7Bean bag toss

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.

8Bocce

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!

More summertime fun

Summer fun: 20 Outdoor family activities

5 Fun ways to get wet this summer without the beach

Small backyard fun, toddler style


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