Break outside over spring break!

March 27, 2017 | by Brooke Seaholm

It’s about time for spring break! Get your kids out of the house and moving while they’re off from school. Children who stay active are less likely to be obese or develop heart disease.

The American College of Sports Medicine says children and adolescents should accumulate a minimum of 60 minutes of physical activity daily, such as sports, free play and planned exercise. The activity should be a mix between moderate and vigorous intensity.

Here are five fun, old-school games to play with your kids to keep them moving this spring:

1. Four Square

The only items you need to get started in a game of Four Square is some chalk, a patch of concrete, a bouncy ball like a soccer ball or volleyball and at least four people. With the chalk, draw a large square at least six feet wide and divide this big square into four equally sized small squares. Each of the four squares should be numbered 1 to 4 clockwise.

How to Play

  • Each player stands in one of the four squares.
  • To start the game, the player in square four serves the ball by bouncing it in their square once and then hitting it towards one of the other squares. The receiving player then hits the ball to any other player in one of the other squares.
  • Once the receiver hits the ball to another player it must bounce in that player’s square before they may hit it.
  • A player may hit the ball before it bounces, if they choose to do so. (option 2)
  • If a player hits the ball so that it misses another player's square, or fails to hit the ball before the second bounce after it has landed in their square, they are "out."
  • When a player is out, the other players move up to take their place, and that player moves to the last square, or to the end of the line, if there are more than four players.
  • The object of the game is to move up to and hold the server's position.
  • If you have more than four players, then have a “line” of your next player(s) ready so that when one person is “out” they go into the rotation.
  • Different variations: When players bounce the ball, they must also call out the name of a country, a state an animal, a movie star, or whatever the category may be. A player is out if they repeat something that's already been said.

2. Kick the Can

Play Kick the Can with three or more friends in any outdoor area that has places to hide, day or night. The object of the game is to put all the players in jail, capturing them by identifying them in their hiding spots. Once a player is “jailed,” the only way to be freed is for another player to beat the “it” person to the can and kick it.

How to Play

  • Select a spot for the can. The “can” should be an actual can or anything that can be kicked a distance. The can’s spot should be near something that can be a jail such as a front porch, bench, etc.
  • Someone is selected to be “it” and that person is challenged to find everyone. One player kicks the can to begin and everyone scrambles to hide. Once the “it” person replaces the can to its spot, he or she begins looking for players.
  • To capture a player, the “it” person must call out their name and hiding place while stepping on or touching the can. The players must come to jail if the “it” person is correct. If they are not correct, the person can step out and declare that they had the wrong player and have time to hide again.
  • As players are captured, the jail will fill up. Once the “it” person has captured all the players, the game renews with the first player captured becoming the “it” person.
  • If a player tries to kick the can, the “it” person must race to the can first and call out their name. If the player beats them and kicks the can, all the players in jail are freed and the “it” person must start again.

3. Kickball

To play kickball you will need four objects for bases and a playground ball. Kickball is similar to baseball where players kick the ball and run around bases without being tagged out.

How to Play

  • The pitcher rolls the ball to the kicker. The kicker kicks the ball into the outfield and runs to first base – or second, third and home if they can make it without being tagged out. Field players must tag the runners while carrying the ball and touching them. If the ball is caught the kicker is out.
  • If a fielder throws a ball to get a runner out and misses the runner, the runners can only advance one base. Three outs and teams switch. If a kicker kicks the ball and it goes between home base and first or second base then it is called a foul and the kicker kicks the ball again.  4 fouls = 1 out. Play up to a certain time limit or whoever reaches 20 first.

4. Sharks and Minnows

The object of the game is for the “minnows” to get across the play area without getting caught by the shark(s). If a minnow is caught, then it becomes a shark.

How to Play

  • Before you start, explain to players that the shark(s) will say “Fishy, fishy come out and play,” and all minnows will begin walking across the play area. Be sure all players know minnows will run to the other side when the shark(s) says “Shark Attack!” Remind players that all taggers will use safe two-hand tag (No pushing).
  • Set up a clearly designated rectangular play area with visible boundaries.
  • Identify who will be the shark(s), either a player or the leader. Everyone else will be minnows.
  • At any time, the shark can yell “Shark Attack!” At which point, the minnows must run to the opposite boundary line without being tagged.
  • If a minnow is tagged, s/he also becomes a shark.
  • When there are only one or two minnows left, they become the sharks in the next round.

5. Freeze Tag

In Freeze Tag, one player chases others and tries to freeze them.

How to Play

  • Begin by choosing a person to be “it.”  The person who is “it” is the player who can “freeze” other players.
  • When the game begins, everyone runs away from the person who is “it.”
  • The one who is “it” chases after other players, trying to tag (touch) them.
  • If a person is successfully tagged, he or she must “freeze” in place (stand still and not move).
  • Frozen people cannot move until another player un-freezes them (touches them to return them to normal).
  • The player who is “it” wins by freezing all players

Get your kids – and yourself – moving at Edward-Elmhurst Health and Fitness.

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