When the pandemic started in 2020, many thought that online education would be a temporary setup. Unfortunately, the Delta and Omicron variants have forced many schools to remain in the digital sphere. Thousands of school districts in the United States have re-transitioned to remote learning to mitigate the spread of the Omicron variant and accommodate the labor shortages caused by spiking COVID-19 cases.
Many parents worry that extended school closures will have negative effects on their children’s growth. The impact of online education on children’s social development is especially daunting. Without opportunities to connect with their peers, students may feel disengaged and unmotivated to succeed academically. Younger children who don’t get one-on-one interactions may even fail to develop social skills. Remote communication also hinders students from practicing how to read and communicate emotional cues.
To help children develop their social skills during the era of remote learning, parents need to encourage participation in social activities, such as outdoor games, board games, and storytelling. Below, we’ll discuss a few activities that can promote the social development of children.
Outdoor Team Games
Team games like Capture the Flag Redux encourage children to learn how to work with others. When playing a team game, children get to share a goal with their teammates, which can teach them to care about the desires and feelings of people outside themselves. Seeing that goal through allows them to foster a sense of camaraderie, further building their ability to connect with the people around them.
Glow Battle is another outdoor game kids can try. By facing off using harmless glowing swords, your children can hone their competitive sides and build confidence. The game can teach them how to compete with others while staying friendly and respectful.
Playing these team games as a family can help your children build their social skills. If you think they’re ready to meet other kids, you can try to talk to your neighbors and arrange playdates with their children.
Creating a scavenger hunt is another great way to teach your children how to work with others. Like team games, scavenger hunts let children experience what it’s like to share a common goal. As your children work toward finding a prize together, they learn to share ideas, move as a group, and play into each other’s strengths. Not only does this teach children how to cooperate, but it also stimulates their minds and promotes positive decision-making.
Playing board games like Monopoly, The Game of Life, and Clue can do a lot for your child’s development. Mental stimulation board games can help children strengthen their creativity, inquisitiveness, and even brain speed. And because board games encourage children to take turns and communicate verbally, they can teach children how to be comfortable with social interactions. Winning board games can also help children build confidence in themselves, which can give them the self-assurance they ned to overcome shyness
Telling stories can offer some surprising benefits for your child’s development. Stories provide a framework for how social interactions work in real life. A good storytelling session can also stretch your child’s imagination. When they begin to care about the characters they witness in stories, they may use their newfound imagination to put themselves in the shoes of these fictional characters, feeling connected to their successes, failures, and challenges. The practice of immersing themselves in the lives of fictional characters can teach them how to feel empathy for their peers. Reading books and making puppet shows are some ways you can create story-time sessions for your children.
Don’t let the pandemic be a hindrance to your child’s development. Through activities like outdoor games, scavenger hunts, board games, and storytelling, children can learn how to understand, work with, and support their peers.
Written by Emery Peyton for starluxgames.com
One of the best outdoor games for large groups during my childhood was a trampoline battle royal. This entailed inviting all our friends over to see who could be the last kid standing at the end. Was it safe throwing buddies off a trampoline or suplexing them into oblivion? Doubtful. But it was fun!
As a more cautious parent than mine in the 1980s, you want saner games for your precious children. I guess my parents figured they’d just have another son if I met my demise in between rusty trampoline springs.
To help you find the best outdoor games for large groups, I have gathered some that are great for kids about 12 years old on up to adults. And just because these games are not dangerous, does not mean they are not insanely fun.
First up let’s look at football. It’s that time of year and there is more to life than playing fantasy football. Dads, I’m talking to you. You can still manage your fantasy team at halftime of a healthy game of flag football with your kids and all their friends. If it’s hard to find enough people to play, then join an official league or create one at your church.
Capture the Flag Redux is on the same level as football in my eyes. Both outdoor games are about defending a territory. The best part about CTFR is you can play it after dark. It’s hard to play flag football in the dark unless you have access to stadium lights or you want to ram into each other in the darkness. That’s a sure way to get a concussion. If you enjoy fun glow in the dark games, you will LOVE Capture the Flag REDUX.
I will have to include soccer since some countries think that is “real football.” All soccer insults aside, it is an awesome outdoor game for large groups. It can be played anywhere an open field is available. It’s a game that enhances picnics, family reunions, and BBQs. Not to mention the fitness it creates in the players.
If soccer isn’t your thing then you might want to introduce your group to FootGolf. I can’t make this stuff up. This combination of soccer and golf even has an official governing body. The pace will be slower than soccer and you don’t need expensive golf clubs. Hard to argue against what some may call an idiotic sport.
I thought I was dreaming last weekend when I saw dodgeball being played on ESPN 2. But it really happened. Some program director thought it was a good idea to put this playground activity on national TV… and I’m glad they did! Sure, the camera work was terrible at times and I knew not one player. But the game was pure pleasure and brought me back to my glory days of 7th grade, dominating our version called Prison Ball. Dodgeball will go down in history as one of the best outdoor games for large groups no matter how popular Fortnite becomes.
Can it get any simpler than dodgeball? Yes. Foot races are perfect for getting large groups off the web for a day of human interaction and working up a sweat. I guarantee more friends are made during 5Ks and half-marathons than on Facebook. When was the last time you hung out with more than one person on your FB feed? But folks who run together end up training with one another and having lunches. Some even get married!
So far I have listed outdoor games that can burn serious calories. Now for an activity that won’t necessarily carve out a six-pack. Fishing tournaments can increase fitness if they involve paddling a kayak or canoe. And walking around a lake is good exercise even if the group mostly catches nothing. The main benefit of fishing is the outdoor effect on us. There is little doubt that placing ourselves in nature makes us feel better. That means spending time on a lake or walking up and down a stream is a perfect way to bounce back from a rough week at school or work.
Fishing tournaments can be found everywhere and they are a great way to meet new people, young and old. Tournaments can even be set up with your local church or a recreation department.
To wrap up our list of the best outdoor games for large groups please make sure to check out these wacky games.
They cannot be as fun as the trampoline battle royals that left me with a couple scars. But they are creative, and even with the weird factor they get people off their butts and off their gadgets. So play on!
The featured image of youth playing flag football that is used for this blog post is by U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Travis Gershaneck and can be viewed here.
When warm weather finally hits, everyone starts looking for some fun outdoor space and the best yard games for adults. Backyard barbecues, family reunions and holiday parties are great times to get outside and get active. Before you grab your friends and head to the nearest grassy lawn, backyard or beach, check out these eight great yard games for the adult crowd. After all, playing outside is not just for kids. You’re never too old for some fun outdoor action with friends.
This glow-in-the-dark lawn dart set is the perfect game for adults because it keeps the party going after the sun goes down. You can play it on any outdoor surface like grass, dirt or sand and it’s easy to pack up to take to summer parties and barbecues. The kit includes four colorful soft darts and four luminous rings. Toss your darts in the rings and the first team, or player, to score 21 points wins. Available for purchase on amazon.com.
No, it’s not one of the main courses at the barbecue, but it is one of the funniest yard games for adults. First, toss your frisbee across the yard and then, flick your rubber chicken to try and reach the frisbee in the fewest numbers of throws. Flickin’ Chicken is all about how far you can flick and how silly you look doing it. With a little practice, you just might be able to hit the target on the first try. And, that’s only if the rubber chicken doesn’t bounce off-course. Available for purchase on amazon.com.
Some of the best yard games for adults involve solo cups and ping pong balls. Giant Yard Pong takes it to the next level. This extra-large set includes 12 buckets and two heavy-duty plastic balls that look like giant sized Solo cups and ping pong balls. The durable buckets are approximately 9″ diameter, 9″ tall, and will hold up to anything thrown at them. The balls are 3.5” in diameter and made of thick plastic providing you with the exact size ratios for an oversized yard pong set. The kit also includes an instruction manual and carrying case so you can pong on your own lawn or someone else’s. Simply fill the buckets with water, sand, or anything to weigh them down and you’re ready for hours of outdoor fun. Available for purchase on amazon.com.
There’s really no better place than a grassy yard to set up a net and get together a fun match of volleyball or badminton. And, the Baden Champions Series Outdoor Combo Badminton/Volleyball Set makes it easy. This top-rated set comes with a regulation-sized net and adjustable poles, as well as four badminton rackets, shuttlecocks and a regulation-sized volleyball. The best thing about these net sports is that they can be as fun and flexible as you want. You can play with as many people as you want and at any competitive level. With both games, each side takes turns serving and points are scored when the opposing side misses the volleyball or shuttlecock. So clear the yard, set the net and get your game on. Available for purchase on amazon.com.
Here’s a fun and colorful idea for your next outdoor party. Paint a giant Twister board in your yard with ground marking spray paint in fun colors. Simply cut a 12 inch circle out of a piece of cardboard and use that as a stencil to spray paint your circles. Depending on how many people will be playing, you can make as many rows of each color that you want. Make the circles bigger and further apart than a typical Twister board to fit adult players. Then, you can hand-make a spinner on cardboard just like the board game, or make cards with the different options to draw out of a hat. For example, one card would say, “Right Hand Red” and another would say, “Left Foot Blue.” Bring the laughter outside with Lawn Twister for adults and you might want to bring some ibuprofen outside for after the game, too.
The Capture the Flag game that you knew and loved as a kid is now revolutionized with futuristic glow-in-the-dark lights to make it a fun addition to your next outdoor adult party. You’ll have a blast while you try to protect your base, break your teammates out of jail and steal the glowing flag to win. Each game box includes two glowing orbs to use as the “flags,” color-coded LED bracelets to differentiate team members, glowing jail markers, and a rule book. Each kit also includes 12 game variation cards that give you new ways to play Capture the Flag, as well as additional games. It’s a great way to get normally boring adults to loosen up and have fun. Available for purchase here.
The next generation of cornhole, Bulzi Bucket is quickly becoming one of the best yard games for adults. You can elevate your next outdoor party with the quick set up and the three tiers of scoring. Bulzi Bucket’s Bullseye toss game is one of the most exciting and interactive yard games available. Its design includes two heavy duty collapsible bucket targets, eight hacky sacks, a backpack carrying case and instructions. It’s one tenth the size and weight of corn hole boards, making it a lighter, easier alternative game to take to anywhere outdoors. Available for purchase on amazon.com.
The challenging thing about Bocce Ball is that it looks so easy, but really takes strategy. You can make one good throw and think you have it won, only to be knocked aside moments later. The Hey! Play! Bocce Ball Set comes with four regulation-sized dark green and four dark red bocce balls, one pallino, and a durable carrying case. It can be played anywhere and on a variety of surfaces. Bocce Ball is the perfect game for adults that want to be outside and active, but not too active. Available for purchase on amazon.com.
There is nothing like outdoor games for kids and adults to play together. Here are some of our favorite outdoor games.
This simple game from your grade school years is remarkably simple but can supply endless fun. All you need is a bouncy ball, a hard surface away from cars or anything that can hurt players or be damaged by a flying ball, and some street chalk to make four squares. I won’t bore you with the rules, but this four-player game can be played with large groups. When someone gets out, have someone cycle in to the fourth, or D, position. Add more interest by giving the person in the top square the ability to make rules up if they’ve held that spot for five rounds in a row.
You will be surprised at how fun two rows of people holding hands can be! The game is best played when you rotate kids with adults, or purposefully put two kids together to give those on the other team a better chance at breaking through somewhere.
Giants, Wizards, and Elves
We at Starlux Games love different versions of paper, rock, scissors. This one is a hilarious, fun games for all ages.
Divide the group into two team, who all play the same action at the same time. They have three choices. Giants stand on their toes, raise their arms high and make giant noises. Wizards crouch a little, like an old magician, wave their fingers like they are casting a spell, and say something like “Shazaam!” Elves crouch lowly, cup their hands over their ears and make a high-pitched noise like “Eeee!”
The winners grab the losers and pull them to their side. The losers try to get behind the safe zone behind them. Giants beat elves (squish!), elves beat wizards (those wily folk), wizards beat giants (zap!).
(Image from https://sherlocksam.wordpress.com/activities/four-square-fun/)