46. Follow the Open Road

Challenge your friends or family to a game of Follow the Open Road.  In this game each person takes a road and follows it with their eyes only (no fingers or pencils allowed).  The leader times each person as they follow their road from the start to the finish.  When they finish, they secretly tell the leader where their road ended.  After all players have followed their open road, the leader announces who was able to follow their road correctly, and who was able to do It in the fastest time.

You can use the Open Roads as your destinations:

  • Accepting
  • Supporting
  • Negotiating
  • Listening
  • Encouraging
  • Trusting
  • Respecting

Alternate ways to play:  You can play where everyone follows the same road, or the leader can assign a different road for each player.  The object of the game is to go from the starting point to the correct end point and to see who can complete the journey correctly in the fastest time.

Extending the difficulty:  You can draw your own roads and have 3, 4, 5, or more start and finish points.  The more roads you draw, the more difficulty it is to follow the open road correctly. 

  • Suggestion:  For young children start with no more than 3 roads.
  • For players 10-14 years:  Four or more open roads creates a great challenge.
  • For players 15 years and up:   Start with four roads and add 2 more, then 2 more to extend the challenge.

Game idea from Frenchie Bazzocchi, Canada 2020

45. Rock Painting with Sid

Sid and his friends love to paint rocks.

The unusual shapes inspire them to paint different insects, animals, flowers, shapes and even cars!

Ask the children to find the rocks they would like to paint. (If you don’t have any rocks in your backyard you can buy bags of rocks from nurseries.

Grab some paints and leave the children to it. They are left with very little to clean up and have wonderful rocks they can decorate their room or even the garden with!

44. Sam’s Box Fort

We all remember the magic of playing in a fort. How markers, tape, and a sprinkle of imagination can turn a fine box into a fantastical wonderland filled with superheroes and villains. Playing make-believe is important for child development, and your kid will love exploring worlds in their new fort.

Save all your boxes, and one day, when they’re bored as all get-out, have your kids take them outside and start taping them together. Help them make doorways and windows with a knife or scissors, then let them go wild with decorations. Solar-powered fairy lights, markers, crayons, paint — the possibilities are endless.

  • Game by Lorena Romo

43. Doug’s Scavenger Hunt

Scavenger hunts build problem-solving skills, teach teamwork, and they’re easy to customize to your child’s age. Start by writing down clues customised to your outdoor environment or use some of these suggested clues (answers below):

  1. I’m a friend to parents who like things neat.
    They really like it when you wipe your feet.
  2. On me, you can speed like a bird in the sky.
    My two wheels will make you fly!
  3. I have a ring, but you can’t wear it.
    Sometimes so loud that you can’t bear it.
  4. Some people think I’m nasty and yuck,
    But without me for your rubbish, you’d be out of luck!
  5. I might be filled by male or female.
    Whichever it is, I’m still the mail.
  6. Use me to give thirsty plants a drink.
    Or use me to clean your car, fast as a wink.
  7. Turn me to the left, and you just might get wet.
    I’m great for giving a drink to your pet.
  8. I make lots of smoke when I get hot.
    I make yummy food that you’ll like a lot.
  9. I make your job a little less hard.
    I move dirt and other stuff around the yard.
  10. Climbing me can be quite a lark.
    I’m not a dog, but I do have a bark.
  1. Doormat  2. Bicycle  3. Doorbell. 4. Rubbish bin. 5. Letterbox  6. Hose. 7. Garden tap. 8. BBQ. 9. Wheelbarrow  10. Tree
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42. Backyard Camping

Get out the tent and sleeping bags for a backyard camping trip. Kids love this idea, and you may find that it becomes a regular activity. Backyard camping gives you the best of both worlds – you get to make tell spooky stories and stargaze — all without having to dig a hole just to go to the bathroom. And if it rains in the middle of the night, a safe, dry haven is close by.

The preparation can be fun. Get the kids to pack and bring everything they would need for a real overnight camping trip. This means sleeping bags, pjs, a change of clothes, their favourite teddy or toy, books and a torch.

Ask the kids to help set up the campsite and be involved in making sure all the supplies are handy.

Here’s a fun activity to do while backyard camping:
Nature Rubbing: Pack some paper and crayons to make nature rubbings. Pick an interesting leaf, lay it down on a flat surface like the driveway, put a piece of white paper over it, turn your crayon lengthwise, and rub over the leaf. Or press leaves and flowers into a book as mementos of your backyard camping adventure.

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