earth friendly
Positively Green


By Jennifer Cummings, M.Ed.

Good Ol’ Fashioned Outside Activities for Your Family

Parents are forever saying, “When I was your age…”, and enduring the eye-rolling and faces that generally follow from their children. But there are truly some things that were more popular in years gone by that should be revived! Simple outdoor games that were played by scores of kids throughout America have fallen by the wayside, and it’s a great time to get your family outside and moving when you bring them back! Some are played in the woods, others are played on dirt or a playground, and some don’t need any equipment (and absolutely NONE need batteries!) But regardless where you live, there’s something for everyone!

Here’s a list of game and activity ideas to get you started:

1. Hopscotch
2. Marbles
3. Build a fort
4. Catch
5. Kickball
6. Jump rope
7. Chinese jump rope
8. Cats cradle (string game)
9. Lawn bowling
10. Bocci ball
11. Horseshoes
12. Badminton
13. Around the world (basketball)
14. Flying kites
15. Make and sail paper boats
16. Make and fly paper airplanes
17. Catch and release butterflies
18. Catch and release fireflies
19. Hide and seek
20. Hiking/ walking
21. Croquet
22. Frisbee
23. Swinging
24. Swimming at a lake or beach
25. Collecting (Could be rocks, pine cones, leaves, whatever!)
26. Skipping rocks
27. Raking leaves and jumping in the piles
28. Jumping in puddles
29. Star gazing (just use your eyes or binoculars- no telescope needed!)
30. Yo-yo-ing

This is just a start to many different games and activities that you may have forgotten about, but that your kids will love. They’re activities that have no electronics, no expensive lessons or tools, and can most certainly be done together as a family. Did you forget the rules for badminton? Forget how to draw the hopscotch grid? Never fear, because thanks to modern technology, information is just a click or two away. Check online for information and the rules to your favorite childhood games.

Another great thing about these games is they provide plenty of opportunities for the whole family to play together, as well as have neighborhood friends join in. Instead of staying cooped up and isolated in front of the tv, get outside and you’ll likely get to meet some new friends. Have a small family or group? Make a date to have an outdoor game night every week, and invite others to join you. You might be surprised how it grows!

Don’t let another spring go by while you and your family stay tucked away in the house, waiting for the end of the spring mud and rain season! Take out some of those old fashioned activities and bring your family outside to enjoy them- that way you’ll be outside all season as you watch the world turn Positively Green! Have fun!

Welcome to Positively Green! It’s a column dedicated to bringing you new ways of saving, interacting with, and using the natural world with activities that both help the environment and help you grow healthy families and healthy communities. Each month will feature information for your family about a positive green activity, book, program, or community idea. So c’mon, join the fun and go Positively Green!

Have an idea that you’d like to share with other families or a questions you’d like more information about? Contact Positively Green at Families Online Magazine and we’ll work on your idea for a future column!

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Jennifer Cummings

Ms. Cummings, author, and editor of the Education and School Section, she has a B.A.in psychology and an M.Ed. in special education from Framingham State College in Massachusetts. She was an elementary teacher in Massachusetts serving both regular education and special education students. She has taught grades 1,4, and 5.

"I believe that families' involvement in their child's education is one of the key ingredients to creating a successful school experience for children. Keeping parents informed about school-related issues helps parents and teachers work together for the best possible outcomes for their children. Learning together makes learning fun - for everyone!" - Jennifer Cummings.
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