Make Your Yard the Neighborhood Sports Arena!

November 4th, 2013 | By Marjie No Comments


1What we call ‘yard sports’ were probably invented the first time a Neanderthal kid kicked a rock out of the way while walking to the cave next door, inventing kickball and starting a whole new variety of activities that are inexpensive, easy to learn, and provide hours of fun for children and adults alike!

Did you know that humans grow the fastest between ages three and 12 than any other time in our entire lives!? Especially during these formative years, playing outside with friends can boost your overall health, self-confidence, problem-solving and concentration abilities, and socialization skills. Oh, and it’s just plain fun!

Sunshine isn’t just enjoyable, it’s really good for you. (We always recommend using sunscreen and staying hydrated. In fact, you can read more about that in our Nutrition Tips on page 36 in this issue.) Sunshine is a natural way for our bodies to get Vitamin D, which helps keep our heart healthy and protects against depression, obesity, some learning and behavior disorders, and more. Plus, being in the fresh air rejuvenates and invigorates us, and it just plain smells good, too. Think of the scents of newly-mown grass, budding roses, flowering trees, and pungent evergreens.

When you first try a new activity, like horseshoes or yard darts, you’re learning to try something new. That means you are building confidence in yourself simply by doing something you have never done before. What a great feeling that is! And when you’re playing a new game with family or friends, you are testing your own abilities, both physically and intellectually. And, of course, you’re building relationships with people around you. All of those take courage, and in the end will help you believe in yourself even more.

Playing outside games also helps kids listen and learn to follow the rules, pay attention to the grown-ups (and other children) who are teaching them how to play, work with their teammates, negotiate with other players (including opponents), and be a good sport. Of course, you’ll also be working on your hand-eye coordination, muscle strength, speed, agility, and balance. You won’t be thinking about all that stuff at the time, but it will be happening!

Here are some yard sports you may (or may not) have played. They all require minimal or no equipment investment. Most can be played by just one or two people, and all can involve a lot of your family members or friends if that’s what you prefer. In fact, some of these would be great activities for a birthday party, Saturday play day in the neighborhood, church picnic, team party, and just about any other get-together!

Here’s a list of outdoor games, plus some information about where you can learn more about them. Parents and kids should talk together about rules for safety and storage of equipment, and really young children should not play any of these without supervision. Oh, and check out the Kids’ View adjacent to this article for some fun and little-known facts about some of these sports!

  • Badminton
  • Bocce
  • Capture the Flag
  • Cornhole (bean bag toss)
  • Croquet
  • Hacky sack (footbag)
  • Hide-and-Seek
  • Horseshoes
  • Kick ball
  • Paint ball
  • Tag – flashlight tag, freeze tag, shadow tag, and more
  • Tether ball
  • Whiffle ball
  • Zimzam

The number of yard games you can play are limited only by your own imagination.
Visit for some more ideas. Then step into your yard and enjoy your built-in sports venue!

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