Children love to play and the backyard, courtyard or local park are great places to learn, explore, make up games and have fun. Backyard games can be inventive and encourage sustained concentration and application by kids.
Backyard games don’t have to be complicated or expensive – a bit of chalk, a ball or a skipping rope can all get a game underway. Playing in the backyard also allows children to be noisy and messy, physically challenge themselves and move in ways that aren’t possible indoors.
Encouraging your kids to play is an important way you can support their health, coordination, self confidence and happiness.
Try these popular games
- Hide and seek
- Throwing and catching games, like piggy in the middle or knocking down a target
- Chasing games, like tag and stuck in the mud
- Racquet games against a wall
- French cricket or backyard cricket
- Running and jumping
Tips for backyard games
- Check your backyard, courtyard or park and remove or block off unsafe areas
- Let your children explore and make up their own activities and rules – try not to interfere
- It’s more fun if your child has a friend or two (or you) to play with
- Focus on what your child can do, not what they can’t
- Make active play fun and positive
- Be patient and provide plenty of time for your children to practise movements
- Be active with your children – have fun and be a role model
- Slip, Slop Slap, Seek, Slide – make sure your child wears sunscreen, sun glasses, clothing and a hat to protect him/her from the sun. Play in the shade when you can
- Being active means children will need extra fluids, especially if it’s hot and humid. Make sure they have regular drinks of water while they’re playing.