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Play an active game with your kid!

Play an active game with your kid!

3 to 5 years

There are so many reasons why outdoor play is so important for children. Some of the benefits of active game play is that it reduces the risk of obesity and related illnesses, increases attention spans and reduces hyperactivity, reduces the risk of depression (which is on the rise in children), increases test scores, builds confidence, sportsmanship, communication skills, and so many other great things.

Sometimes when we think of playing outside in an active way, we think organized sports. While organized sports are great for kids, free play is just as vital, if not more important when it comes to their development. Playing pickup ball out back can teach kids communication skills, cooperation, how to compromise, how to equal out the playing field, conflict resolution, social skills, sportsmanship, and so much more. As well, when kids engage in unorganized sports they tend to be way more active due to less time waiting for instruction, or for their turn. Plus, teams are often smaller when it’s kids playing out back so they’ve really got to hustle!

So take those kids outside to play!


To play tug-o-war, you will need at least two players (more is better), a line (even if it is just a towel or line drawn in the dirt), and a long rope.

Divide into two teams. Have one team stand on one side of the line, holding onto one end of the rope. On the other side of the line, have the other team hold onto the other end of the rope. PULL! Whichever teams pulls a member of the other team over the line, wins.

Red Light, Green Light

You need at least four people to play Red Light, Green Light.

One player is the ‘light’ while everyone else stands with their back to the group. When the light says, “green light!” everyone can move forward from the starting point. When the light says, “red light,” everyone must freeze. The light then quickly turns around to face the group and if anyone is still moving, the light sends them back to the starting point.

When a player makes it to where the light is standing without being caught, they have won and get to be the light for the next game.

What Time is it, Mr. (Mrs.) Wolf?

You will need at least four or five people to play What Time is it Mr. Wolf.

One player is the wolf and everyone else stands far away at a starting point. The wolf keeps their back to the other players (and cannot peek). Everyone asks at once, “What time is it Mr. (or ‘Mrs.’ if the wolf is a girl) Wolf?” The wolf says a time. If he says “12 o’clock”, everyone takes 12 steps towards him. After everyone has moved forward, they ask the time again. If the wolf replies “Time to eat you,” everyone has to run back to the starting point without getting caught by the wolf. If a player is caught, they are out.

The last player caught by the wolf, becomes the wolf for the next game.

Duck, Duck, Goose

Everyone sits in a circle, facing in. One player is chosen to start the game. They walk around the outside of the circle and gently touch each player on the head while saying “duck.” If they say “goose” instead of “duck,” the player who was called “goose” must jump up and run around the circle in the opposite direction than the player that called them “goose.” Both players are racing for the empty sitting spot in the circle. Whoever gets there first, sits down. The player who doesn’t have anywhere to sit now goes around the circle saying “duck” or “goose.” If there is a tie (the two racing players get to the sitting spot at the same time), the person who was called “goose” gets the spot and the other player has to go around again, choosing a new “goose.”

Kick the Can

There are several variations to Kick the Can.

Here are the basics on how to play Kick the Can: Place a can in the middle of the playing area, like the backyard. Select one player to be ‘it.’ They are ‘guarding’ the can. They cover their eyes and count to 20 and everyone else goes and hides. When the ‘it’ player is done counting, they try to find everyone. When they find someone, that player has to try and run back to the can and kick it before the ‘it’ player tags them. If they get tagged, they are the new ‘it’ player. If they get to the can before getting tagged, they are ‘safe.’ When someone has been tagged, the “it” player yells, “Ollie, Ollie Oxen Free.” This means that it is safe for the hiding players to come out.

Three-Legged Races

You will need at least four people to have a three-legged race. You will also need old nylons/leggings or scarves to tie legs together.

Stand beside your partner and tie one of your legs to one of theirs. (For example, your left leg and their right leg or your right leg and their left leg.) Now try walking and running! It’s harder than it looks!

The games are great for groups of kids whether it is at school recess, gym class, birthday parties, summer camp, family reunions or gatherings, but really, anytime you get a group of kids together. They’ll love it!

Enjoy! Make a photo of kids playing and upload it to the App. Add some words about the situation the kids got together and the game they play.

Wachanga encourages you to strictly follow all the recommendations and rules that are in effect in your area to prevent the spread of the coronavirus infection, COVID-19. Please stay at home whenever possible!

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