5 outdoor games to teach your kids – Chicago Tribune


Anyone complaining about being bored already? Instead of giving in to the powers of the screen, whether it’s television, computer, or video games, add outdoor games suggested by local experts to your children’s repertoire to get them to fresh air and off the sofa.

Wax Museum

Best for 3-10 years

The rules One person is the museum keeper, and everyone else pretends to be dinosaurs in a museum exhibit, says Emily Foell, Lincoln Park Community Director at Steve & Kate’s Camp. The museum keeper 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 notices movement, the dinosaur is out. It’s also fun to play this game at night with flashlights, suggests Foell.

DIY city

Best for 2-7 years

The rules Imagine your backyard (or park or any outdoor space) is a city or town, says Rebecca Cohen, author of 15 Minutes Outdoors: 365 Ways To Get Out Of The Home And Communicate With Your Kids ($ 11 on amazon.com). “Bushes can turn into storefronts, sidewalks into roads, leaves and sticks into change,” Cohen says of this easy game that encourages thinking outside the box.

Skip the river

Best for All ages

The rules Take two sticks and place them parallel or opposite to each other on the floor. The sticks represent the edges of “the river,” Cohen explains. Each child takes turns jumping across the river. After each jump, move the sticks away so that the river widens. If you don’t make it, you land in the river and come out.

President of the Hill

Best for All ages

The rules Find a slope and choose a player to stand at the top (that player is the chair). Everyone is standing below. The president throws the ball to the others downstairs, trying, with a kick, to get the ball in front of everyone, Cohen explains. When someone catches the ball, that person becomes the new president.

Swing the statue

Best for 3 years and over

The rules This is a game that dates back to the 1950s, and you need at least four people to play. Pair up in teams of two, one of each pair being the designated “swinger”. Each team swings their partners until one person shouts “freeze”. The swinger lets go and the other person has to freeze – and hold that position longer than their opponents. (The occasional reminders to be gentle are a good idea with this one.)


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