It’s Almost Summer—When Kids Get Up and Immediately Play Outside
To kick off summer, we’re blogging about safe and fun ways to play outside. Playtime is synonymous with childhood. At Little Wiggles & Giggles Learning Center, the kiddos in our care enjoy playtime year-round. With the weather getting nicer, children tend to play outside. They play outdoor games, ride bikes, do scavenger hunts, draw with chalk on sidewalks, and more.
Outdoor Games Like Hide-N-Seek and Tag Are Fun to Play Outside
Playing outside is a great way for kids to burn off energy. Whether running, jumping, skipping, or swimming, kids playing outside relish each experience. Among the best methods for playing outside is through outdoor games. In addition to providing a means to burn energy, outdoor games usually allow for safe social interaction. Some examples include Tag, Hide-N-Seek, and Red Light/Green Light:
One player is deemed “it” in a group of 10 to 12 players. Larger groups can assign two or more as “it.” Start by setting up boundaries if not playing in an enclosed yard—use trees, park benches, or other objects. When “it” calls out “GO,” the other players scatter and run around in different directions. The person assigned as “it” will try to touch the other players on the arm, shoulder, or back.
Sometimes, the first player tagged becomes the next “it” and the game continues indefinitely. Other times, everyone tagged becomes “it” until one player remains, as the winner. Variations include freeze tag (tagged players freeze in place) and TV tag (players yell TV shows to avoid being tagged.)
A central location is assigned as “home base.” One person, deemed “it,” hides its eyes at “home base,” then counts to 100. Sometimes “it” counts rhythmically by fives (i.e., “five, 10, 15,” etc.) While “it” counts, the rest of the players hide. After finishing the count, “it” yells “ready or not, here I come” and looks for the hiding players. The first player found is the next “it” and the last is the round’s winner.
In the meantime, the players try to run back to “home base” while “it” looks for them. Should a player be tagged while running to home base, that player becomes the next “it.” If all of the players return without being found, “it” repeats its role in the next round. In some instances, “it” can call out “olly olly oxen free” to end its search and start another round.
Red Light/Green Light
You need a reasonably vast, open space in which players can run. One person, chosen as the traffic light, stands facing away, eyes covered, and significantly distanced from the other players. The other players stand in a line facing the traffic light. When the traffic light yells “green light,” the other players quickly move forward until that person yells, “red light.”
Upon hearing “red light,” the other players freeze on the spot. The players stay frozen until the next “green light” command gets yelled. The traffic light can yell “yellow light” at any time to chase the other players back to the starting line. If the traffic light tags a player, that player becomes the traffic light. Should a player reach the traffic light after a green light and tag the traffic light, the game ends.
Kids Can Also Ride Bikes to Play Outside—Just Remember to Ride Safely
Another way kids like to play outside is to ride bikes. They compete in races, play “follow the leader,” and create obstacle courses using trees or piles of dirt. Sometimes kids ride bikes with a destination and a purpose. They ride bikes to playgrounds, duck ponds, or the store for snacks. If you want kids to ride bikes to play outside, it’s important they do so safely. Be sure kids who ride bikes do the following:
- Avoid riding at night.
- Have their bike seats adjusted to allow a slight bend at the knee with a fully extended leg.
- Ride on the sidewalk if under 10 years old.
- Watch for parked cars.
- Wear properly fitted helmets.
Research and Do Regular and Assorted Scavenger Hunts to Play Outside
Scavenger hunts are creative ways for kids to play outside. When researching scavenger hunts, make sure they include outdoor objects that are easy for kids to find. It’s also important that scavenger hunts allow kids to use their senses. An example of a sensory scavenger hunt kids can play outside could be:
- Find something smooth.
- How many different bird calls do you hear?
- Pick up a handful of dirt … what does it smell like?
- Stand in one place … how many different colors do you see?
Another Way to Play Outside: Draw with Chalk on Pavement, Sidewalks
When kids draw with chalk it’s one of the easiest ways they actively and creatively play outside. It’s inexpensive and versatile—kids can draw with chalk on sidewalks, driveways, or paved areas at a playground. Common ways kids draw with chalk to play outside include:
- Creating a hopscotch board or obstacle course.
- Drawing a self or family portrait.
- Playing Tic-Tac-Toe or Pictionary.
- Tracing shadows of people or things.
At Little Wiggles & Giggles Learning Center, we take care of children in the winter and all year long. For more information about our childcare services, call us at (570) 208-9125. Like us on Facebook and follow us for updates. We’d be happy to explain more about safe and fun ways to play outside.