Outdoor Games in the Backyard Provide Countless Holiday Memories
The holiday season is a time for making memories…
…that last a lifetime,
but can this be accomplished without adding any unnecessary stress?
It is possible to provide quick and affordable entertainment for the entire family by simply stepping outside.
Your own backyard is a great outlet for enjoyment, and there are countless outdoor games and activities you can play with your family during the holidays.
The Advantages of Outdoor Games
Traditionally, the backyard has been the setting for numerous events like picnics, weddings and birthday parties.
Adults often use the backyard as a tranquil escape, while children see it as the doorway to a wondrous world of make-believe. During the hectic holidays, these concepts can be combined, so family members of all ages and sizes can come together.
Most outdoor games are easy to organize and have simple rules, which means they do not require much planning. The versatility of many outdoor games allows for endless variations, so most activities can accommodate each age group.
Additionally, a number of games can be played on nearly any surface, including concrete, grass or sand. Artificial grass is ideal for many outdoor activities because of its plush and even surface.
If you have some extra time prior to your family gathering, you can find numerous treasures at your local toy store. There are several outdoor games to choose from, and each one offers a different type of entertainment.
Classic games like croquet, horseshoes, volleyball and bocce ball are always well-received, and the rules can be tweaked for specific age groups.
Variations on the rules include:
- no scoring
- team-only competitions
- timed versions
- goody bag prizes
Other store-bought games include Frisbee golf, bean bag toss and ladder ball. These games can be purchased at most toy stores, and they are reasonably priced. In each activity, players throw items in order to accumulate points.
Because they are easy to play and require little skill, these games have anti-boredom power. Even the most unruly child at your holiday event can be tamed with one of these activities.
If you find yourself too harried to spend precious pre-holiday minutes at a toy store, there are other options. One activity that is sure to create hilarity is an obstacle relay.
Adding a tag team rule will add to the merriment. Younger players can dive through upright hula hoops and crawl under tables, while older family members can pop balloons on chairs or speed walk while holding an egg on a spoon.
Another amusing outdoor activity is a scavenger hunt. This can be particularly entertaining if you create teams. Match up family members who rarely see each other for additional laughs.
Because the hunt will take place in your yard, choose items that are small enough to hide inconspicuously. Many families are playfully competitive, and a scavenger hunt caters to that spirit.
Outdoor Games with a Wintry Twist
Children love to get bundled up and spring into the nearest snow drift, but adults may need more coaxing to face Jack Frost. Snow and cold temperatures do not mean you have to be stranded indoors for the holidays.
There is a vast amount of winter-themed games you can play on a chilly afternoon. If you or your family members get cold feet when it comes to spending the holiday outdoors, these activities may have you rushing to put on your snowsuits.
The best way to encourage outdoor play during the frigid holidays is to incorporate as many laughs as you can into each activity. You can do this by catering to your family’s interests.
If family members enjoy shouting at the television while watching sports during the holidays, you can use that to your advantage by inviting them to become participants instead of spectators.
These three games will get your couch potatoes involved in outdoor festivities:
1. Snowball. This game mimics a classic pitching competition, but it involves the use of snowballs. Three bases are placed approximately 25 feet apart, and each base should surround the pitcher’s mound.
Bases can be made of snow and should be at least two feet tall. Place a tin can on each base. The pitcher throws snowballs and attempts to hit the can. The fewest amount of pitches needed to hit the can wins.For younger players, make pyramids from the cans to increase the chances of a hit.
2. Snowball Dodge. For this activity, you need two teams and a rectangular playing field. You can mark the center of the field with food coloring. Line up the teams on opposite sides of the field. The object is for one team to hit the opposing team members with snowballs.
If an opposing team member catches the snowball, he or she can throw one back. Players who get hit must join the opposing team. Play ends when one team has collected every player.
3. Frosty Ball. This game is similar to the classic basketball version of H.O.R.S.E. However, a snowball is used in place of a basketball, and participants spell the word “frosty” during play.
This activity is ideal for large families, because every member can participate. To amp up the entertainment factor, you can offer a reward of hot cocoa, tea or coffee to the winner.
Snow-Based Activities for Children
To keep your little snow bunnies amused, there are several snow-filled games suitable for children. A classic hula hoop contest or tug-of-war can be comical when competitors are weighed down in winter gear. Another activity that may provide hours of laughter is a timed snowball pass.
Players take turns carrying snow balanced on a large spoon. The players dump the snow into containers on the opposite side of the yard, and the winner is chosen based on how full the container is when the timer runs out.
Toddlers can participate in a game of hide the handkerchief. Tie a white handkerchief or cloth onto a wooden dowel, and have children take turns burying it. A small team of searchers hunt for the cloth.
The winner is chosen based on the longest amount of time it takes to find the cloth. Older children can compete by making the tallest snow monster or by rolling the largest snowball.
To encourage team spirit, have teenagers participate in a snowball pass. The winning team will have the most intact ball of snow at the end.
The holidays should be a positive experience for everyone.
These outdoor activities provide many benefits including:
- bonding time for estranged family members
- healthy exercise for the entire family
- a way to quicken the digestive process after large meals
- improved motor skills for children
- united socialization for the whole family
- laughter for all ages
Outdoor games can make any family gathering special and memorable. Most activities are versatile enough to adapt to yards of all sizes. If you want more tips on how to benefit from your own backyard during the holidays, consider joining the Install It Direct mailing list.
Countless ideas are available, no matter what your needs are. By stepping into your yard, you and your family can weave endless stories to share with future generations.