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Explore nutrition tips, kids’ meal plans, kids’ activities, recipes and more from pediatric nutritionist, Melissa Halas, MA, RDN, CDE.

Making Childhood Memories with Outdoor Games

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Making Childhood Memories with Outdoor Games

Teach your kids new games to help them make fond memories of fun outdoor activities!

Do you have any memories of games played as a child at home or with friends or camp? Well now is the time to re-live them! With warmer weather and more daylight, make a discerned effort to get outdoors and play with the kids! Enjoying some fresh air and activity will help the whole family sleep better –plus you’ll be squeezing in your workout while having fun. Here are some of my family’s favorite activities a true blast from the past!

Steal the Bacon

Requires two equal numbered teams standing on opposite sides of the yard. You put an item in the middle (a ruler, a ball –that’s the bacon). Each player on the team has a number which the leader whispers in their ear. You call the number, for example “#3,” and the players who are assigned number 3 on each team run out to the middle to try and retrieve the object first.

Box Ball

This is a two-team game played on the street or an open yard. Three bases and home plate are marked off, and a pitcher’s mound is in the middle. The pitcher throws a ball on a bounce to the batter, who hits the ball with their fist.  Regular baseball rules can be followed.  This is a good time to get the grandparents to tell their stories, for example, “If a ball went down the sewer, we sometimes lowered a friend into the sewer by holding his legs to retrieve the ball.  I guess we weren’t smart enough to block off the sewer.”


You need a minimum of two play players.  Growing up we used a pimple ball, a thin rubber ball with dimples all over it, just because that’s what my dad used.  You can use a tennis ball today. We cut it in half and played half ball with a broomstick as a bat. I loved this game as a kid! When my dad didn’t have a ball, he subbed in a hose by cutting it into about 4″ pieces.  The hoseball version can get dangerous because the rubber will hurt if it hits the pitcher. This is a good time for that safety lesson and how things have changed today!

Craft Ball

This game is inspired by my dad telling me how he and his classmates made their own football from rolled up newspaper and tape when they didn’t have a real one.  Have your kids create their own game with an object they craft! It could be bean bags for bean bag toss, a newspaper ball game with new rules, or a handball made of rolled fabric and rubber bands.

Baby in the Air

I loved playing this game with all the neighborhood kids. One person, the “tosser” throws a lightweight, soccer-sized ball as high as they can in the air. While it’s up in the air everyone else scatters. When the tosser catches the ball, everyone freezes like a statue. Then the tosser gets to throw or roll the ball at the statues. Whoever gets hit becomes the tosser, and the game continues.

Speed Ball

Of course, my dad played this game under a railroad bridge, where there was a concrete wall behind the batter and across the street behind the pitcher.  The pitcher would just throw a ball as hard as he could, but the wall was there when the batter missed it.  I suggest a spot with no car traffic, like a brick or concrete wall on the side of a house, clear from windows! Use a hollow rubber ball that can withstand a beating against the wall.

Share your favorite games you play with your family in our comments below or social media. You can help inspire others to live fit and have fun!

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