Get out to your local park for National Kids to Parks Day!

More than 130,000 people have pledged to bring their kids to the park to play this weekend. Saturday, May 17, 2014 is National Kids to Parks Day. What a great excuse to move the typical backyard play to a nearby park.

Don’t forget your supplies! To get out the door tomorrow morning, you’ll want to pack your sunscreen and hat or boots and rain gear. Pack a snack or picnic lunch of choice and a blanket so you can sit down to enjoy the food. And plan a few fun activities like some of the following games to extend your day of play.

  • Off the Ground Tag. Parks often have structures, benches and stumps. In the game of Off the Ground Tag, every player is safe if they are not standing on the ground, but on another object. To be fair to the tagger, however, runners cannot be off the ground for more than five seconds. Count the seconds similar to five Mississippis, but five *name of the park*, such as “one, Deerfield Park, two Deerfield Park, three, Deerfield Park”, etc.

  • Critter home building. Let the kids squat down and explore the world of insects. Many kids naturally want to pick up and gather pieces of nature. Let them! Bark. Twigs. Leaves. Rocks. Each item is fun to explore on its own and together can build fun little huts for critters to dwell.

  • Follow the Leader. Go on a nature hike to explore the park while playing Follow the Leader. Your followers must make the same motions as you. When you bend down to look, they must bend down and look too. When you jump over a twig, they must jump too. Take turns being the leader.

  • Capture the Flag. If you can get enough people, parks are wonderful places to play a game of Capture the Flag. The object of the game is to capture a pre-identified object from the opposite team. Each team gets to hide that object within the boundaries in advance. Teams may tag opponents and capture them, but the other team may free those captured by reaching them without being tagged and getting a free walk back to their team’s home base. Learn more about how to play here.

  • Iron Lung. If the kids run up to you saying I’m bored, give them the game of Iron Lung to play before sending them away to let their boredom turn into creativity. Think of this as a race. First get the kids on their marks. To get set, the kids take a deep breath — the deepest they can. Then go! Players begin running and yelling, letting everything out of their lungs. When their breath is gone, they must stop. Then turn around and see how far they got. This is sure to make even the most energetic kids want to take a break before playing again.

Will you go play at the park this weekend?

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