Life After Lockdown: Safe Outdoor Games for Kids
Rakesh turned 6 in January 2021. It was the strangest birthday of his tiny life. Friends wished him on video call, he shared photos of the cake and food on WhatsApp and ‘party games’ were played on the laptop with his mom and dad. But February is looking good. There is a chance he might go to school soon. And he has been waiting to play with his friends for months.
Yes, we are all eager to get back to the New Normal. Mask in place, washing routine enforced, healthy home food in the lunchbox instead of tasty junk from street carts – our little warriors are going back – and we are all nervous about it. Classes at school are managed by a teacher, but what about outdoor games for kids at school? It can’t be stopped, and who will watch over them always?
Outdoor games for kids benefit their body, mind and personality development. That’s a fact that the pandemic can’t change. While teachers would supervise outdoor sports games for older children, the younger ones would want to rough it out as usual, and there’s just no way to monitor them. So be the smart parent, teach them kid friendly outdoor games.
Here’s a quick list of very familiar outdoor game names that can be played with less bodily contact. Get your children to play them and reduce your worry by a little bit.
1. Hide and seek :
We all know how to play this. One of the oldest and most popular of all games played by kids, it supports social distancing. The child who goes to ‘seek’ is separated right at the beginning and hiding, luckily, is all about being as far from each other as possible.
2. Hopscotch :
We love games around Maths at Luma. Kids learn best when they are playing. Read our piece on how board games help in mental development. Hopscotch is one of the most loved outdoor games for children anywhere in the world. It also requires single players hopping from one square to another as they keep calculating points. Hopscotch is so much healthier for developing alertness than clicking through a fast-paced mobile phone game.
Tag is one of the most popular of all games played by kids. It’s easy to play and encourages distancing. The players decide by tossing who is to be ‘it’. He or she covers the eyes while the others spread out keeping maximum distance within the boundary. On opening his or her eyes, ‘it’ has to run and ‘tag’ another child by tapping on the shoulder, who then becomes the next ‘it’. Unlike catch-catch, only touching the shoulder is allowed, so tag is safer and does not involve kids falling over each other, and is a good outdoor game for kids at school.
4. Gilli danda :
A game common across our country and known by various names in different states. It’s an outdoor game for kids played usually with two sticks – one is the gilli – the other is the danda with which the first has to be hit. This essentially Indian outdoor game doesn’t cost anything, is a good workout and kids love it. To learn more about keeping mentally and physically fit in these troubled times, read our blog post on it.
5. Crocodile / Lava :
In this fun outdoor game for kids, the ‘crocodile’ is chosen by toss. The others have to climb up on benches, chairs or anything handy and keep away from the ground. The crocodile gets to catch anyone who hops down and ‘falls into the crocodile’s pond’. Another version is lava. Everyone stays above ground, and kids hopping down are out of the game. Some outdoor games for kids can also be played indoors, especially on birthday parties. Check out more innovative birthday party game ideas.
Didn’t we all love playing this at school – indoors as well as outdoors? Just say ‘statue’ and everyone has to freeze, and the first person to move is ‘out’. Simple, innocent and more ‘immersive’ than any mobile game, it’s a great way to keep children away from smart devices.
7. Traffic Signal :
In one of the simplest outdoor games for kids, someone gets to be the ‘signal’ and say ‘red’ or ‘green’, making the others stand or move. Anyone moving or stopping out of turn is ‘out’. A wonderful game to play with neighbourhood kids on summer afternoons.
8. Simon Says :
The child playing ‘Simon’ has to say what everyone else will do – tie their shoelace, jump, clap their hands – and everyone gets a turn at being Simon. This game introduces kids to the concept of being fair and equal opportunities without preaching anything.
9. Lagori :
Again, this is a true Indian outdoor game. Stones are piled up, usually seven, and the kid who can topple them all wins it. Lagori can also be played between teams, and there is just no chance of fights breaking out since only one player gets to throw at a time.
10.Treasure Hunt :
Not just another of those outdoor games for kids, literally anyone will enjoy playing it. A real ‘treasure’ can be hidden at a point that has to be raided and found out. Otherwise, it’s all about protecting imaginary territories marked by DIY flags from ‘hunters’ of the treasure.