Planning a barbecue this holiday weekend? Up the fun factor by trying out these awesome outdoor activities:


1. Backyard bowling: Hit the recycle bin and/or your child's toy box to gather up fun "pins" that can be knocked over fairly easily (think cereal boxes, aluminum cans and small toys.) Set them up on one end of your "bowling alley" like bowling pins and let kids roll a ball from the other end to knock 'em down. Use a bigger ball for younger kids and a smaller ball for bigger kids.


2. Scavenger hunt: This is a a great party activity because kids can do it alone or in teams. Give the kids a list of items that they might find in your backyard. You can go with a nature theme and include finds such as a rock, a flower, or something a bird would eat; or get creative with other objects and set kids off in search of a favorite pool toy, bike helmet or lawn dart. Have the kids draw pictures of what they find.  


3. Kick the can: Here's an oldie but a goodie to share with kids at your next backyard event. It's a variation of "Hide and Seek," so you'll need a couple of kids to play. And don't forget the can! Family Fun has an excellent outline of the instructions here.


4. Go fly a kite: Got kids who are more into building something than playing games? Spend a couple of minutes making kites and then watch them spend the rest of the afternoon flying them around. You'll need garbage bags, wooden dowels, tape, string and a hole punch. Instructions are here.   


5. Flag tag relay: Another cute idea from Family Fun. Full up buckets with sand and small American flags (one per player.) Kids line up to race to the bucket and grab a flag with which they will use to tag the next racer. The best part? Kids get to keep the flags as a reminder of the holiday and their backyard fun.

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