Sidewalk Chalk Shenanigans
Sidewalk chalk is the BEST! Cheap, inclusive of all ages, mostly mess-free, and the perfect way to bring any game to life while getting everyone outside. I enjoy that on a surprisingly warm day, I can create a fun family activity in minutes. And during a time when we are stuck at home, it's the perfect way to entertain while staying safe.
Pros: Increasing flexibility, practice listening and knowing Right and Lefts
Using different colors, draw circles on the ground and call out colors and a body part! "Right Hand- Blue... Left Foot- Purple... Continue until they are twisted up until someone gives up or falls. (In order to ensure that no one ended up fighting over a spot, each of my kids had a designated area.) This game can easily be tailored to different skill levels according to the age of the kids by including more circles of each color for the little kids.
Fun for the adults: We sat back and called out instructions from our Adirondack chairs and enjoyed the sun.
Adaptations: As the novelty of Twister wore off, we morphed the game into a Cat and Mouse type of game. Everyone stood on a spot and as we called out colors, they had to advance clockwise to the next spot of that color and try to lap each other. Allowing younger kids to have the inner lanes will ensure fairness and more fun for the adults.
Pros: Mostly just entertainment but all games of chance allow kids the opportunity to practice being gracious winners and avoid being poor losers given that the game had little to none to do with their actual skills
Draw squares in different colors down the driveway and sidewalks in a Candyland-type path. Random squares are labeled with a question mark or a smiley face and a sad face. Call out a color and the next person moves ahead to that spot. First to reach the end is the winner (but I'm sure you'll have to play for second, third and fourth place also.) *If space is an issue, have players reach the end, turn and follow the course back again, ending at the starting line.*
Reward Spots: Move forward # spaces, Roll again, or Swap places with any other player
Punishment Spots: Lose a turn or Move back # spaces
Question Marks: I use these as a "Physical Challenge" like having to do 10 jumping jacks or run around the house once.
Adaptation: This gameboard can very easily be changed into hopscotch, making for more fun after parent participation is no longer needed.
3. The Floor is Lava
Pros: Problem Solving, physical activity
This game can be played entirely in your driveway. Begin by drawing a line at either end of the driveway. These lines indicate SAFE ZONES. I told the kids to imagine these as two sides of a river of lava. Place circles of different colors and different sizes between the two safe zones. (Make sure that you have enough circles of each color to make sure you can create different obstacles for kids to work around and extend the fun.
Object: Cross the lava without melting
Kids begin standing in a safe zone. Then they need to move across the lava, being careful not to melt (by stepping outside of the circles).
Add tasks for difficulty such as making them move together, having to share a spot, or having to hold hands the whole time. Ask them to eliminate certain colors from the path, forcing them to find a new route.
4. Water Balloon Bullseye
Pros: Addition and Aim
So this game makes wonderful use of rapid-fill water balloons. I feel strongly that water balloons are rarely fun when the object is to throw balloons at others hard enough to make them break. The concept seems flawed but we LOVE these rapid-fill balloons for other games; 100 balloons in less than a minute!! In my mind, the ratio of fun had compared to the time it took to prep is a Big Deal to me. These balloons make it happen!
I drew a bullseye along with points earned by each area on the driveway, along with the starting line for each child based upon age. The older kids were in charge of adding their own scores and helping to check the addition of the others.
*Be ready to redraw the circles and point values after hit a few times.*
Chalk can help liven up your e-learning as well. Last Spring we practiced our spelling words in the driveway, did some addition and even used the chalk to practice some of the lessons from gym class. (We spent weeks playing 4Square as a family after dinner.)
So if you are looking to entertain your family during the holidays, consider some sidewalk chalk shenanigans.
Here is our favorite (Brightest and Prettiest)
sidewalk chalk but all chalk is fun and gets
the brain moving.