Here are a few simple games to build summer memories, friendships, and fitness. Games are also a good way to develop the executive function. There's a beginning and an end, and children have to follow the rules and use self-regulation.
*Change these games for the level and interest of your children.
*Keep the rules few and simple.
*Play on soft surfaces and keep it SAFE!
*Emphasize cooperation and the joy of playing, rather than competition and scores.
*Encourage children to problem solve and work out their own differences.
My students loved this game. It was quick and it didn't require a lot of physical skills.
Materials: playground ball
Directions: Stand in a circle and hold hands. Place the ball inside the circle. Children try to kick the ball and keep it inside the circle. If the ball goes out of the circle between two people, then both people are out of the game. If a player kicks the ball too high and it goes over someone’s head, then the player who kicked the ball is out of the game. The game continues until there are just one or two players left.
Jump the Creek
This is another game my students always wanted to play.
Materials: 2 jump ropes (or you can make lines in the sand)
Directions: Children get in a line behind each other. Spread the ropes about one foot apart to make the "creek." One at a time children jump over the "creek" and then get at the back of the line. After each child has had a turn, move the ropes farther apart to make the "creek" wider. Children continue jumping over the "creek" as it gets wider and wider. If they don't clear the rope or touch the rope when they jump they are out of the game and become "cheerleaders." The game continues until one person is left.
*Sometimes we pretended there were alligators or crocodiles the creek!
Build the Castle
This game is similar to Jump the Creek, but it's for high jump rather than broad jump.
Materials: long jump rope
Directions: Choose two people to hold the rope. The other players form a straight line and take turns jumping over the rope. The rope begins on the ground, but after everyone has had a turn, it is raised a few inches. If a child’s foot touches the rope, he or she is out of the game. Continue raising the rope until there is just one child left who can jump the height.
*A similar game called “school” can be played. When the rope is on the ground it is called “kindergarten.” Each time the rope is raised, it is called “first grade,” “second grade,” and so on.
What’s That Jive?
This game is like Red Rover, but a lot safer.
Directions: Divide the children into two teams and have them stand in a line facing each other 30 to 40 feet apart. One team calls for a player from the other team with this chant:
(Child's name), (child’s name)
What’s that jive?
Come on over
And give me five.
The team calling the chant holds their hands out in front of them with their palms up. The child called proceeds down their line giving each player “five” by slapping their palms. If the child who is “it” slaps the palms and then slaps under their palms, that child chases “it” back to his or her original team. If “it” is caught, he or she must return to the opposing team, but if not, the chaser must joint “it’s” team. The game continues with teams taking turns calling players from the opposite side.