When a competitive sport proves too structured, and a board game too quiet, consider playing fun recreational games. Most recreational games have few rules, keep children active and involve elements of creativity and imagination. Before organizing recreational games, take into consideration the number of participants, equipment needs and the age range of the potential players.
Chasing and running games such as Freeze Tag, Cartoon Tag, Blob Tag, Capture the Flag and Octopus incorporate children of diverse skill levels. Circle games, like Spud and Hot Potato, work well at the park or in the backyard. Line games, such as What Time Is It Old Fox and Red Rover have two teams facing each another and competing to tag or steal players from the other side. Creative recreational games include Charades, Statues, Freeze Dance and Mother May I.
Fun active games keep most players participating rather than being tagged “out” for the whole game. They have a few easy-to-understand rules, such as Hide and Seek or Blind Eagle. They may require equipment, as in the case of Frisbee, croquet, kickball and badminton, or nothing more than imagination.
The adage that it does not matter if you win or lose, it’s how you play the game applies in recreational games. While competitive sports demand skill, strength and stamina, recreational games mostly require a positive attitude and team spirit. For example, in the fun-spirited game of Supershoes, players place their shoes in the middle of the court. Teams stand equidistant from the court, on opposite sides. A leader assigns numbers to players, and yells out a number. The player with the number on each team runs to the center, grabs his shoes, and runs back. The player who gets back first wins a point for the team.
Most recreational games have a life span of about 15 or 20 minutes. However, you can add simple variations to keep players interested in the game, such as running backward or tossing in extra balls.
Cooperative games put the focus on teamwork and fun rather than winners and losers. Challenge children to work together to get through an obstacle course on the playground, shoot a specified number of baskets, build a tower of blocks, or do 20 cartwheels before the time is up.
- grandfather and grandson play hide-and-seek image by Pavel Losevsky from Fotolia.com