Summer Games for the Great Outdoors

by Ben Davis

Outdoor team games are a great activity in the summer.

It’s time to put down the video games and forget about Facebook, at least for a little while. Summer is here, and with perfect weather and long days, this is the best time of the year to bring people together to enjoy some serious – or not so serious – downtime. So throw the burgers on the grill and grab your family and friends to play one of your favorite outdoor games. If tag, horseshoes or croquet are not enough to convince you to unplug your life for a few hours, here are a few new and exciting games to get you in the spirit. Just be careful; it’s sunny out there.

A good backyard barbecue is the best thing about early summer. For fun while the cook burns the burgers, try Cornhole, an epic contest of coordination and balance involving a sack of beans and a board with holes. Maybe Ladder Toss is your thing, a high-strung competition where players try their best to toss two balls connected by a string, known as a bola, onto a set of rungs.

If you want to experience all the sounds and smells of warm weather, Blind Man’s Bluff might be your game. Begin by blindfolding one person, who then fumbles around trying to find another player. Those who are caught must wear the blindfold. In one version of the game, the blind seeker to simply has to catch another player, while variations require him to identify his prey only by touch in order for the new person to be ‘it.’

Get up close and personal this spring with a game of Pass the Orange. For this simple party game, all you need are two equal teams and two large oranges. Have everyone line up side-by-side with the first person in each line holding the fruit. Then the members of each team attempt to pass the orange to the last person as quickly as possible, holding it to their chest with only their chin. This game makes a great ice-breaker for parties.

Of course, summer is a time to make new friends and reconnect with old ones. Team games such as soccer, touch football or kickball are great ways to get everyone together for a little friendly competition. Invite the whole neighborhood out to play or watch and start a new community tradition that everyone will remember for a lifetime.

Flashlight Tag is a perfect way for kids to enjoy the summer nights. Wait until after dark, grab a flashlight and meet up with a group of friends in a nearby field. Older kids or parents may want to “tag” along to supervise and join in the fun. Give each player a flashlight and, on “go,” have everyone run and hide for one minute. The players then try to ‘tag’ each other out by shining the light on them and calling out their name. The last person standing is the winner.
Get everyone out into the fresh air for a little exercise and a lot of fun, and learn how great it can be to play like no one is watching. Whether you choose one of the games listed here or one of your own, spending time with the family, reconnecting with old friends and meeting new people will make everyone a winner this summer.

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