Outdoor Kids: Family Game Night

Child kicking soccer ballThis post was written by Renee Limon and originally posted on Enviromom.com. It is republished here with permission.

I am frequently reminded how blessed we are. Security. A friendly climate. A roof above our heads. Schooling. Friends.

Despite my many reasons for gratitude, there are still days when I feel sorry for myself and wonder what in the heck I was thinking to not schedule very many summer camp days. We are on the third day of summer, and quite frankly, it’s felt like the third month. I know it will get better. We are in that awkward transitional phase, from having had tons of routine, to almost no routine at all. I feel like every decision I make is fraught with danger. If I say “yes” to this child’s request now, they will expect it all summer….

So when the phone rang around dinnertime Saturday night, not once but twice, and it wasn’t telemarketers, we were delighted with the offer on the line. Some friends from our elementary school proposed that anyone who was game meet at a small, neighborhood park from 6:30 to 8pm on Saturday night for family game night. And if it worked out well, it could become a regular thing.

I’m sure it hinted at our desperation, but we were there at 6:30 on the dot. The prospect of all of us being among others (after bickering amongst ourselves for much of the day) sounded divine. Of course, it’s not just the parents. The kids have been begging for playdates since the moment school ended. And they ran and hugged their friends (whom they hadn’t seen in two days) with such passion it was like a scene out of Romeo & Juliet.

The games were classics: Red Light/Green Light, an odd version of Kick Ball where the kids used their arms like bats, Mother May I? and then it devolved into soccer with most of the kids (about 20) against the 4 or so adults who were game enough to play. I was far too content talking with the other moms about crazy things like brazen raccoons coming in houses via cat doors. Or if we brought ‘adult beverages’ next time and hid them in sippy cups, would that keep us from getting in trouble were Officer Friendly to show up? Good times!

Future weeks may witness such games as Kick the Can (a game I remember playing, but not exactly how), 3-Legged Race, Egg/Water Balloon Toss, Statue-Maker, Freeze Tag. What are your favorites? Do your kids play games in your neighborhood, or is it time for you to organize Family Game Night in your neck of the woods?

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Published: June 24, 2009