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Coaching Kids to Put Some Spring in Their Step - 10 Super Backyard Games that Equal Family Fun

Days and nights are longer and staying lighter. Families have more time to reconnect after an otherwise disjointed day. Summertime is beckoning families to the great outdoors. What better way to de-stress than to run around with the kids in your own backyard and spend quality time with the family. If you play hard, you’ll even work off those extra lattes you were sipping to stay awake during those cold winter months. In addition, what better way to encourage a love of being active and outdoors? If you’re ready to enjoy the warm weather and have some backyard fun, grab the kids, head outside and play a few of these super fun, family-friendly games.

Hide and Seek. An oldie, but goodie, set up the backyard boundaries and have at it. Choose one person to be the seeker and have them count to 20 while everyone else hides. The last person to be found becomes the seeker.

Pick Pocket Tag. Stick a strip of fabric into the back pocket or waistband of each family member. Everyone chases each other, trying to grab the strip of fabric, without getting their own fabric strip taken. The person with the most fabric strips at the end of the game wins.

Hide the Bones. This is a favorite game of parenting author, Michelle LaRowe, 2004 International Nanny Association Nanny of the Year. Purchase some small, plastic bones from your local party store and hide them throughout the backyard. Give each person a pail and let them collect the bones. The one who has the most wins. While bones add a bit of humour, plastic eggs are a great substitute if bones aren’t available.

Hopscotch. Let the kids choose their favorite color of chalk and draw the hopscotch layout in your driveway. Draw three single squares, one double square, two single squares, one double square and one single square. Remind the kids that one foot goes in each square. If you’re feeling creative, have the kids find sticks to create your hopscotch board on the grass in the backyard.

Freeze Dance. When the music starts, have everyone do their silliest dance. When it stops, freeze. The last person left in their frozen position wins!

Off to the Races. Race by hopping, crawling or running to the other side of the lawn. The first one to reach the finish line wins.

Shark Attack. Place hula hoops on the ground to serve as dens for the fish. Select one person to be the shark. When the shark calls out, “Fishies, fishies, cross my ocean” the fish move out of their den and try to make it to another den. If the shark tags the fish while outside of a den, the fish becomes a shark. The last fish left becomes the shark.

Team Tag. Let the youngest family member be “it” first. Once he/she tag someone, they join hands and keep tagging people until everyone has joined hands.

Capture the Flag. Divide the lawn into two sides, with a team of family members on each side. Both teams have three minutes to hide their flags. The goal is to capture the other team’s flag without getting caught. If you get caught, you have to go to jail, where you can only be freed by getting tagged out by a member of your team. The first team to capture the other team’s flag and bring it back to their side wins.

Duck, Duck, Goose. Everyone sits in a circle, facing inwards, while the ducker taps each person lightly on the head, saying either duck or goose. When the ducker says goose, the person who was tapped gets up and chases the ducker. If the ducker gets all the way around the circle and back to the goose’s spot, without getting tagged, the goose becomes the new ducker. If the goose catches the ducker, the ducker continues being the ducker.

Now that summer is here, coach the family to have some big, backyard fun. Now is the time enjoy the weather and to enjoy each other outside. 

Dr. Goode’s continuous education, experience in psychology and professional writing makes her a great resource for parents wishing to create and maintain a nurturing relationship their children. She has positioned the Academy for Coaching Parents International ( at the forefront of the parent coaching movement to disseminate the coaching model of empowerment for parents. Newest book, Raising Intuitive Children at

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