Nine outdoor games that are bomb
By Hannah Randa
If you’ve exhausted your Netflix-watching capacity, you probably aren’t alone. In a time when we rely on digital technology for almost everything we do, it can be refreshing to put away our gadgets and engage in some sans screen fun. The perfect way to keep ourselves occupied and entertained for hours on end while avoiding digital activities is to combine a picnic or an outdoor event with fun games.
There’s a wide range of games ranging from family-friendly, two-player to word or board games which stimulate critical thinking, concentration, competition and teamwork. Choosing the most appropriate game depends on the game style you prefer and the type of group you’re hanging out with.
Here are some picks which will allow you to have fun while in a picnic or outdoor event:
Age group: 5+
Scrabble is a competitive word game that involves receiving a number of plastic letter tiles that can be placed together on a 15x15 grid board to create words. Each letter is worth a different point value thus each player needs to analyze and see which letter combination would bring them the highest points. Once a player runs out of tiles, the game ends and whoever gets the leading points wins. Players will need to have a dictionary, a pen and paper to record the scores of each game.
The possibilities with this game are endless as Scrabble is a great way to help your mind master critical thinking and calculating. It is also ideal for improving kids’vocabulary.
- Crossword Puzzles
Age group: Peers
Crossword puzzles are among the most famous, complex and timeless word games that are enjoyable,relaxing, and rewarding. Besides the most obvious benefit of improving your vocabulary, they also relieve stress by shutting down other distractions in your brain.
Crossword puzzles are usually filled with black and white squares where the player is supposed to fill the white boxes with the answers to a series of questions or clue direction. The answers are written across and down making them interlock with one another. The darkened squares are used to separate the answers.
Chess is a historically well-known board game which helps sharpen various skills such as pattern recognition, strategic thinking, patience and problem solving. It is a two-player game where each opponent has 16 pieces - queen, king, pawns, rooks,bishops and knights - each with different strengths and characteristics with the queen being considered the most powerful piece.
Players use the pieces to maneuver on a 64-square board with an aim to checkmate the opponent's kingin every direction so that the piece has no other place to go.
Age group: 8+
Volleyball is a game that brings unbeatable fun in part because it’s fun for almost all ages plus an easy game to play on almost any surface including grass and sand. All you need to play besides marking the boundaries, a net and a ball is a competitive team because the game moves fast and you’ll be diving and lunging more times than you can count.
Volleyball can be played with two people but ideally you want at least six people per team tomake the game more competitive.
Age group: 5+
Kati which is referred to as dodge ball in the Western context, is a game that many of us used to play during our childhood. The ball can be made using either socks, paper bags or wet newspapers and it needs at least 3 players but the more players in this game the better.
To emerge as the winner, players on one team have to dodge the ball that the opposing team throws at them. The aim of the opposing team is to eliminate all members of the other team. Kati is harder than it sounds because most players usually last fora few rounds before they are ousted to go sit on a curb waiting for the last man standing to be hit so that they can give it another try.
- Picnic Basket Relay Race
Age group: 6+
Picnic basket relay race is a fun way to clean up after the picnic or an outdoor event. For this game one needs two picnic baskets, silverware, plates and blankets. Teams compete to see which one will put everything back into their picnic basket first. The team which lays out the basket set up first and accurately wins. The game can be made more challenging by having the teams race their full baskets to a designated area.
- Potato Sack Race
Age group: 8+
Potato sack race is a creative way of tapping into your childhood and having fun at the same time.Grab a couple of clean potato sacks or sleeping bags and pillow cases for the smaller kids – just make sure it reaches the participants’ waist or neck. Participants should place both of their legs inside a sack and let the race begin!
Contestants race by hopping forward from a starting point toward a finish line. The first person to cross the finish line wins the race. Key rules for this game is to ensure that both feet are kept inside the sack and at least one hand holds the sack at all times to maintain the sack as close to the waist as possible without falling below the knees.
Sack racing is traditionally seen as a game for children, but it’s a great way for people of all ages to keep healthy while having a blast.
- Water Guns
Age group: 5+
You can never be too old to become a water warrior. You'll need water, water guns of your choice and a flag. Divide participants into two groups. Each team must defend their flag while trying to capture and burst the other team's flag.Eliminate the other team members by splashing them to ‘freeze’ them and taking their flag.
- Water Balloons
Age group: 10+
Another great way to spend a hot summer day is by playing water balloons. It only requires water filled balloons. For this game two people team up and stand opposite each other, quite closely. One participant throws the water balloon and the other person catches it. The one who catches it has to take a step backwards and throw it back. This continues until they're both far apart and the balloon eventually bursts open to splash water everywhere.
The good thing about playing this game outdoors is that the water from the balloons can spill onto the grass and other plants. However, it is important to ensure that you are mindful of the water consumption so that you are environmentally friendly. Remember to clean after yourselves right after you have collected the balloon pieces.