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Outdoor Activities

Low cost outdoor activities – Everything Old is New Again

This is part 2 of a multi-part series.

Sometimes when we think outdoor activities, we tend to forget those things we loved most as a child.  Remember Mother May I?  Freeze Tag?  Those games were not only fun, but great ways we kept active as a child and learned important lessons like turn-taking and sportsmanship.  This week we re-visit some of your old favorites and include instructions.  Once you teach them to your children, they have the tools to make hours of their very own fun.

Mother May I

Players: at least 3

Rules: One child gets to be ‘mother’ (or father!).  The remaining children line up across from the leader at least 10 ft away.  Mother starts with instructions like: ‘Sarah, you may take 3 itty bitty bunny hops forward.’ The crazier the instructions the better, include skips, hops & spins… Player or players addressed must ask ‘Mother may I?” and get the response ‘Yes, you may.’ (Which is a great introduction to manners, by the way!)  If a child fails to ask and get permission, there are two variations: either they return to the beginning or are out of the game.  For games with a small amount of players, it is better to start at the beginning; for large number of players, player can be out.  First player to reach ‘mother’ and tag her gets a turn as the leader.  For games where players are ‘out’ if they fail to ask and gain permission, last player left is the winner.

Cost: free.

London Bridge

Players: at least 5

Rules: Two children, facing one another form an arch: hands are linked and up. Other children line up and walk under the bridge while the two children forming the bridge chant the poem ‘London Bridge.’  On the last word of each line (my fair lady), the bridge drops trapping a child.  Trapped child is out.  Winner is the last child standing. 

Poem (from eHow):  The words to “London Bridge is Falling Down” are as follows: 1) London Bridge is falling down, falling down, falling down, London Bridge is falling down, my fair lady. 2) Take a key and lock her up, lock her up, lock her up, take a key and lock her up, my fair lady. 3) How will we build it up, build it up, build it up, how will we build it up, my fair lady. 4) Build it up with silver and gold, silver and gold, silver and gold, build it up with silver and gold, my fair lady. 4) Gold and silver I have none, I have none, I have none, gold and silver I have none, my fair lady. 5) Build it up with needles and pins, needles and pins, needles and pins, build it up with needles and pins, my fair lady. 6) Pins and needles bend and break, bend and break, bend and break, pins and needles bend and break, my fair lady. 7) Build it up with stone so strong, stone so strong, stone so strong, build it up with stone so strong, my fair lady. 8.) Stone so strong will last so long, last so long, last so long, stone so strong will last so long, my fair lady.

Cost: free.  (And as a bonus this game offers learning benefits in saying the poem which include memory building skills and pre-reading skills.)

Freeze Tag

Players: at least 5

Rules: Determine boundaries.  Choose a player to be it.  ‘It’ closes eyes and counts to ten while other players hide or move away from her.  (Variation you choose will depend upon where you are playing, this can be played in an open field, in which case players don’t hide they just dodge away from ‘it.’)  On ten, ‘it’ opens her eyes and chases the other players.  Once a player has been tagged they are frozen until one of their fellows tags them back in.  Last player unfrozen wins and becomes ‘it’ for the next round.

Cost: free.

Statues

Players: at least 3

Rules: I have seen two versions of this game, I will give you both and let you pick your pleasure:

Version 1: One person is ‘it.’  The other players move around freely making crazy poses until ‘it’ yells: freeze.  All players freeze into crazy statue positions and hold until ‘it’ yells: unfreeze.  ‘It’ can call a person out if they move while frozen, last player standing wins and becomes ‘it’ for the next round.  It is fun to play this with music and have children freeze when music stops.

Version 2: One person is ‘it’ or museum curator.  Other players are frozen as statues facing the curator at least 10 feet away.  Curator turns his back and statues can move until the curator faces them once more.  Statues caught moving get sent back to the beginning.  Statues try to tag the curator and become the curator themselves.  (From Wikipedia)

Cost: free.

There are so many more we could discuss: Red Rover, Red Light Green Light and more.  By bringing back your childhood favorities, you are introducing your children to the pleasure of active, imaginative lives (and hopefully getting to play a little yourself!).

Have a game you want to share from your childhood?  Leave a comment below! 

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Discussion

2 thoughts on “Low cost outdoor activities – Everything Old is New Again

  1. Great post! Some that I would add, that we play is Hide-n-go seek, Simon Says, I spy, and guess my cloud. Another thing we did as kids that kept us busy all day was building forts out of stuff just laying around.

    Posted by Cheryl W. | June 3, 2010, 7:38 pm
    • Those are great ideas! I used to play something called Ghosties: it was a combination of hide n seek and tag played in the dark. Such fun, but I think appropriate for slightly older kids… we were maybe 8 when this started being a hit. Keep the great ideas coming everyone!

      Posted by sprigtoys | June 4, 2010, 3:24 pm

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