Arts & Culture
1:52 pm
Tue August 20, 2013

Five New Backyard Games You Can Play Right Now

There are a few precious days left to go out in the backyard or the playground and find something fun to do.

"MSFTS," students and friends of Dawson Elementary School in Jackson, Miss., invented the group game winner, Dragon Frzz-Ball.
"MSFTS," students and friends of Dawson Elementary School in Jackson, Miss., invented the group game winner, Dragon Frzz-Ball.
Credit Clif Kid Backyard Game Contest

But if you're stuck for ideas, our outdoor adventure contributors recently spent some time judging some of the most creative backyard games invented by kids.

Stacy Tornio and Ken Keffer were on the judging panel for the national Clif Kid Backyard Games Contest this summer in San Diego.

"Just endless fun, simple items you all have in your own homes right now, just load 'em up and get 'em outside," Keffer says about the invented games.

Kids from across the country submitted their ideas for twists on classic games, and Keffer and Tornio got to play them all. Here are some of the highlights:

Home Before Sunset
This game takes the concept of Jacks and recreates it outside using a ball, stuffed animals/toys and a laundry basket.  The idea is to throw the ball up in the air and get as many of the toys in the basket as possible before the ball comes down.

Tic-Tac-Go!
Using hula-hoops or buckets, create a big tic-tac-toe board. But there's a twist to this game! Teams of X's and O's have to race to the center and put their piece (a toy) in the bucket to mark their spot - or they can steal their opponents' place. The first team to get three-in-a-row wins.

Soccer Around the Globe
This game is like a really fun soccer drill. Seven soccer balls, representing the seven continents, are placed around a field. Each player gets one kick to get the ball in the goal. If they score, they get to move on to the next continent; if not, they go to the back of the line and try again.

Card Sharks
This winning individual entry is a play on a traditional memory game. A deck of cards is placed individually face down. Players pick up a card from another deck, run across the field to the face down cards, and use their memories to find the matching card. Once a match is found, the player yells, "I'm a card shark!" and runs back to their team's starting point. The next player then goes.

"It's just memory, it's cards, it's a relay race, it's so many levels of awesome," Keffer says.

Dragon Frzz-Ball
This game took the group category and the people's choice award. A frisbee is placed in the middle of a field. Ten "dragon eggs" - aka water bottles - are placed on either side. Then an ultimate frisbee-like game begins, where players from one team try to "break" (known down) the other team's eggs, being protected by their "dragon" or goalie.

Ken Keffer and Stacy Tornio are authors of The Kids Outdoor Adventure Book:  448 Great Things to Do In Nature Before You Grow Up.