Whether you're heading to a big neighborhood picnic or hosting a small family BBQ in the back yard this weekend, it's a perfect time to try some new outdoor field games with your kids. Classic games like tag and relay races are always popular, or you can mix it up with new games that are sure to add to the fun. Here are five fun ideas to get you started:
Cone toss: Kids take turns tossing bean bags into an overturned parking cone (or bucket) and holding the cone while attempting to catch the bags. It's harder than it sounds!
Bucket balance: This is a great game that can help kids learn the importance of teamwork. Have kids lay on the ground in a circle with their legs straight up in the air and their feet touching. Balance a bucket or large mixing bowl on top of the group's feet. Now, the original directions I found for this game call for filling the bucket up with water. It's awesome, but trust me, these kids will get WET! Another option is to fill it up with lots of little balled-up socks. The objective of the game is for each child to take their shoes off while the group continues to balance the bucket. They've got to talk to each other and agree on who goes first, or else they'll all get bombed by the socks!
Beach ball races: Pair kids up in groups of two and have each team carry a beach ball across a designated course without using their hands. For example, for the first race, each team might have to carry the ball back-to-back. In subsequent races, team might have to carry the ball side-to-side or elbow-to-elbow.
Asteroid: This is a cool game from Family Fun that's perfect for a big group of kids. Divide kids into two teams: Team Asteroid and Team Planet. Team Asteroid must try to throw its foam ball and hit Team Planet's soccer ball. Team Planet members can only move their ball with their feet, while Team Asteroid players are not allowed to move with their ball, but must pass it to their teammates to try to get a winning shot at the soccer ball.
Red light/green light: Kids can play this game together as a group. One person stands at one end of the yard or field and acts as the "traffic light." The traffic light keeps her back turned to all of the other players who are standing at the opposite end of the field. When the traffic light shouts "GREEN LIGHT!" all of the kids must run or walk in her direction. The object is for the kids to sneak up on the traffic light and tag her. But at anytime the traffic light can turn around and shout "RED LIGHT!" and then all of the kids must freeze. Anyone spotted moving after the red light has been called must go back to the starting line. The first person to tag the traffic light wins and gets to be the next traffic light.