Cancel the Couch, Keep Summer Fun

Summer 2020 is shaping up to be… different.  We’ve sheltered at home for months and for many kids, the boredom has set in.

You want your children to have fun, but your normal summer camp options are not happening this year.  For those venues that have re-opened, there are still many restrictions and capacity limits can leave you waiting in long lines.  Vegging out on electronics is not an option, so you need something that’s both fun and active.  What’s a parent to do?

Don’t cancel summer.  Even if your children aren’t able to socialize in groups yet, here are some fresh ideas to get both your creativity and their hearts pumping.  Most can be modified to be easier or harder, depending on your child’s age and ability.  The main thing is get moving and have fun!


Life-Size Angry Birds

Do you have a few shipping boxes around?   A few bouncing balls?  Grab them and get ready to have some fun.  With a few markers, some paint and your imagination you can bring this game to life.  Then the kids (and maybe adults too) will be ready for a showdown!

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Capture The Flag

Yes, this is a classic game.  But it is very versatile, requires almost no equipment, and can even be played while social distancing.  The flag can be anything you have laying around: a cloth napkin, a jacket, a CD, a toy – as long as it can be seen and grabbed, but won’t blow away with the wind during the game.  Getting “caught” or “tagged” can be anything from 2 hand touch, to a water balloon or even getting spotted with a flashlight, if you are playing after dark.

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Slip-N-Slide Kickball

Kickball is another one of those classic games.  But when you add a few slip-n-slides (or just some plastic drop cloths with tarp stakes), and some small wading pools, it can get to be rather refreshing as well.

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Frozen T-Shirt Race

This is a good one to keep on hand for those cray hot and humid days.  It can be a race, or even a reward after finishing up outdoor chores!

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Pass The Water

Here’s an old school summer game.  If you don’t have many people, they can pass it back and forth or form a small circle.

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Here are a few variations on Pass the Water:

  • If you have several kids, make 2 teams and have a relay race.
  • Substitute a pool noodle with some extra holes cut in it for the cup. (Dip it in a kiddie pool to get it nice and full of water)
  • Have participants sit on ground in a line. Person at the front dips cup into a bucket of water.  Cup is then passed back, as in the original game, to the last person who pours any remaining water into an empty bucket.  Teams race to get the most water in the back bucket within the set time.



Bucket Guard Water Balloon Game

Got a bucket, a baseball bat and some water balloons?  This fun, water game is sure to add some fun, refreshing splashes on those hot days!

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Squirt Gun Races Obstacle Course

With a few items you probably have around the house, you can set up this fun squirt gun game using whatever obstacles are in your yard.  Trees, patio rail, flag pole, just use your imagination.  Don’t have a lot of “obstacles?  Don’t underestimate the effect of just having 1 or 2 obstacles on your game’s difficulty level.

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Pop the Sharks

Place water balloons in a kiddie pool and let the little ones try to sit on them to pop them.  Want to get bigger kids and adults in on the fun?  Let them try it on a folding chair.  It’s harder than it looks!

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Still need a few more options to fill up your summer activity calendar?  There are so many ways to play with hula hoops, water balloons and sidewalk chalk.  Check out these great games for getting your little ones active!



5 Hula Hoop Summer Games

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20+ of the Best Water Balloon Games

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101 Insanely Awesome Sidewalk Chalk Games & Activities

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So, don’t cancel summertime fun, cancel the couch!  As you can see from these awesome activities, there are lots of ways to break free of the screen and find your happy place in your own backyard.  Try one or try them all, and make this summer a happy and healthy one for your family!