Games and activities of yesteryear to get kids moving and using their imaginations

Salt Art
By using plain table salt and food coloring, you can create colored ‘sand’ for your children to create their own masterpieces with.
Gather beforehand:
Salt – ½ cup for each color you intend to make
Zip-top baggies – one for each color you intend to make
Food coloring
Newspaper – one sheet for each color you intend to make
Empty egg carton
Sturdy white paper or cardstock
White glue
Lipped cookie sheet
Get crafty:
1. Pour ½ cup of salt into a zip-top bag and add several drops of food coloring. Squeeze as much of the air out as you can and close the bag.
2. Knead the bag to mix the color into the salt. If necessary, you can add more food coloring to make the colors brighter.
Color combinations:
3. Pour the salt in a thin layer on the newspaper and let it dry overnight.
4. Repeat steps one through three for each color, giving each batch of sand its own piece of newspaper.
5. When all colors are dry, pour the salt into the compartments of the egg carton.
6. Mix equal parts of glue and water.
7. Use a pencil to draw the design you want on the paper.
8. Use a paintbrush to paint the glue on the areas where you want the first color to stick.
9. Place the paper in the cookie sheet and sprinkle the first color over the areas you painted. 10. Wait a few minutes to allow the salt to stick and pick up the paper and shake off the excess salt into the cookie sheet. Pour the extra salt back into its container – you can use it again.
11. Repeat steps nine and 10 until you have all of the colors you want in your painting.

Bean bag toss

Enlist your kids to help you decorate a cardboard box, then cut holes in it and have them practice their aim. Vary the sizes of the holes and assign point values to each hole. Tip: if you don’t have bean bags, fill balloons with flour using a funnel.

Scavenger hunt
Hide various items throughout the house or in the yard and give your kids a list of the items (for younger kids) or a list of clues about what the items are and their locations (for older kids). Rather than making it a competition, encourage the kids to work together.

Red Rover
Two groups stand in a line across from each other and hold hands. One tells Red Rover to send someone from the other group over and if that person makes it through the line, the team gets to keep them.

Duck, duck, goose

Whoever is ‘it’ goes around the circle and touches each player’s head while saying “Duck, duck, duck …” until they choose someone to be the goose, then they run around the circle in opposite directions. The player who does not make it into the open spot in the circle is now ‘it.’

Red light, green light
All players begin the game spread out. The person who is ‘it’ says “Green light.” This gives everyone the okay to start moving. When the person who is ‘it’ says “Red light,” everyone must freeze. If anyone doesn’t freeze, they are out. The first person to tag the person who is ‘it’ wins and gets to be ‘it’ for the next game.

Simon says

One person gets to be Simon. Simon gives commands, such as hop up and down, rub your tummy or flap your arms. But Simon is tricky, and sometimes he doesn’t say “Simon says” before telling the players what to do next. If players do something when Simon doesn’t say “Simon Says,” they are out. The last person in gets to be Simon the next time. 

Freeze Tag
The person who is ‘it’ has to tag the other players. Once tagged, the players must remain frozen until another free player unfreezes them. When the person who is ‘it’ has frozen all the other players, the game is over and you can start again.