Do you have an active family? Sand in pockets, muddy sneakers, grass stains…everywhere? Same here.
It’s great, right? Well. Most of the time. They’re outdoors, they’re moving, they’re having fun. But there used to be a tiny voice in the back of my mind that saw them rolling in the grass and said, “Do they have to stain every piece of clothing they own?”
Backyard games were especially hard for me to let loose and enjoy because it felt a little like I was working against myself. Thankfully, technology caught up with my messy kids in the form of Tide pods - easy to use, incredibly powerful and great at removing whatever my children covered their clothes in.
With the arrival of spring, my kids are desperate to spend time outdoors together as a family, and so am I. Plus, as summer approaches, I thought now would be a great time to dig up a few new activities we could enjoy outside together - grass stains and all.
Here’s what we found.
I was always rolling in the grass as a child, but when it came to my own kids, I felt differently. That was until we found an idea for backyard twister. My husband made this gigantic board in the backyard with ground marking spray (it grows out in a few weeks), so we could all play together. You can even customize the size of the dots, making smaller ones for little players. With the goal being NOT to touch the ground, this was right up my alley. We also had tons of fun with scavenger hunts and setting up an outdoor bowling alley made of bottles.
Scavenger hunts were one of my favorite activities as a child. Learning, exploring and getting a little dirty in the process – remember when that used to be part of the fun? We went to the park and played on the playground while my husband hid several carefully placed clues. It only took about half an hour, but the kids absolutely LOVED it. Ok, I loved it too.
We don’t have a huge backyard, but it’s fairly long, so backyard bowling seemed like a great idea (if your yard isn’t an option, your driveway might also work). We collected ten bottles over the course of a few weeks and with a rubber ball we were all set. It takes very little effort to setup and keeps the whole family entertained for a surprisingly long time.
Another game that the kids love and can be set up in a matter of minutes is ring toss. We use hula-hoops and cones - and by cones I mean ones made with construction paper and a stapler. This is a game for all ages, and can be modified for little ones, or older ones alike, by how far away you stand from the cone.
There’s nothing more summery than a good old-fashioned water fight. Getting soaked from head to toe isn’t only fun, but it’s so refreshing on a hot sunny day. If your kids are looking for something a little different, you can also try an ice block treasure hunt.
Find a container you can fit in your freezer, put a few toys in it and then fill it with a bit of water. Put it in the freezer until the water freezes, then add more toys or treats and more water until you have a frozen block full of treasures. It makes for a great reward for the kids and, aside from some water on their clothes, it’s actually very tidy.
This is where they really got me. My husband knows that I can’t resist a good competition. So when I came outside to see our yard littered with all these creative obstacles, it was over.
You can use almost anything to create the events for your Olympic games: Ladders, tires, nets, hoola hoops, chairs, buckets, cones, boards, you name it. We had ten “games” that kept the kids busy for hours trying to “go for the record.” And yes, I competed in every single one. After all - no grass stains, no glory.