There’s nothing like good-old fashioned fun. Bring old staples like Kick the Can and Ghost in the Graveyard to a new generation, by teaching your kids how to play. These games are guaranteed to get the blood pumping and are a lot of fun! Kids love them, and parents can play too (although your kids may object).
KICK THE CAN
All you need for this game is a large can (that can be heard when kicked!), three or more players, and an area to run around outside.
One person is designated as the kicker. The kicker kicks the can as far as he can and then counts to 50 while everyone else runs and hides. When the kicker sees someone, he calls out their name; then both race to get to the can first. If the kicker reaches the can first, the hider goes to “jail,” a previously designated spot in the yard and the game continues. If the hider reaches the can first, the hider goes free and the game continues. Hiders can free prisoners by kicking the can without being spotted by the kicker. The game ends when everyone is in jail.
GHOST IN THE GRAVEYARD
For this game you’ll need a large area of play, like a yard, and at least three players. Before you begin, establish a “safe house,” like a porch or deck outside of a house.
Someone is designated as the ghost. While the players are at the safe house, they start chanting “One o’clock, two o’clock, three o’clock, four… Once they get to midnight they yell, “Midnight, hope I don’t see a ghost tonight!” Meanwhile, the ghost hides somewhere in the yard. Then the players look for the ghost. When someone sees the ghost, they yell, “Ghost in the graveyard!” and everyone runs back to the safe house. The ghost then tries to tag someone. Whoever is tagged becomes the ghost, if the ghost doesn’t tag anyone they remain the ghost.
CAPTURE THE FLAG
To play this classic, you’ll need two flags (towels or t-shirts work) and two sets of colored armbands or headbands, plus a large area of play and at least 6 people. You’ll also need to stake out a small part of the yard that will serve as the “jail,” and determine team boundaries, including a border dividing the territories.
Players must be divided into two teams. Both teams will place their flags somewhere on their own territory. The flags must be visible from the ground and not too high that they can’t be reached. Some players can be defenders, keeping guard of their flag, and others can be attackers, who go after the opposing team’s flag.
Once the flags are placed, the objective is to get the enemy’s flag. Players, who venture into enemy territory seeking the flag, can be tagged and put into jail. Their teammates can rescue them from jail by sneaking in and tagging them. You’ve won if you capture your enemy’s flag and bring it back across your border.
Jailbreak is another game that involves a lot of tagging and running! You only need an outdoor space with set boundaries and at least 6 players, but the more the better.
Divide the players into two teams, the hide team and seek team. Establish a “jail” location within the area of play, like a front porch. The seek team stays in jail, and counts to 10 while the hide team runs and hides. The seek team then runs out to search for hiding players. If they find a hider, they have to catch them by holding onto them for three seconds. When caught, the hiding players must walk to jail. Meanwhile, a hider who has not been caught can free his teammates from jail by running to it, without being caught, and yelling “Jailbreak!” The game ends when every player on the hide team is caught. Teams can then switch and start again.
BONUS: PICKING WHO’S IT
Everyone puts one foot in a circle, and someone points to a foot at a time per word, while saying, “Bubble gum, bubble gum in a dish, how many pieces do you wish?” The person whose foot is landed on calls out a number. Then the person counting, continues going foot to foot until they get to the number, then finishes with, “And you are it with a dirty, dirty dishrag on your big, fat toe!” Whoever is landed on is IT!