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Our Blog: July 8, 2024

Backyard Games for the Win

Go for the gold! The 2024 Summer Olympics will take place from July 26 to August 11 primarily in Paris, France. With more than 30 sports on the schedule, there’s something for everyone to watch and enjoy. Does your family plan to tune into any of the live coverage?

It’s an exciting opportunity to talk about the determination, hard work, and perseverance it takes for athletes to reach this elite stage. They’re the best of the best and an impressive show of skill, strength, and focus. It's also important to remember that this type of level of excellence isn’t created overnight. Each athlete started as a small child with a big dream.

As you watch the Olympics, talk to your kids about the commitment and dedication it took over many years for each person to meet this goal, including lots of mistakes, losses, and setbacks along the way! It’s how we all learn to push past challenges and adversity to become resilient in the face of each obstacle we may face in life (not just sports!).

Inspired by the summer games, we’re sharing some fun activities to get your child outside, moving, and having fun. You don’t have to do much to enjoy a little fresh air and imagination. Start by gathering a few materials and then, let the games begin!

Create a Simple Games Kit

  • Chalk
  • 12 rocks or recycled jar lids
  • Paint
  • Paintbrushes
  • Cloth bag (for storing rocks/lids)

Invite your child to paint the rocks or jar lids using two different designs or colors so six are one type, and the other six are another. Our sweet friend, Cece (age 3.5), enjoyed painting hers with some leaves, clovers, and flowers found in her backyard. Now, that’s creative! Watch our video while your paint dries for some extra inspiration and then try some of the activities below:

  • Seek and Find (Toddlers/Twos) – Hide the rocks/lids and then try to find them together.
  • Memory (Twos/School Age) – Turn all the rocks/lids upside down. Take turns turning one over at a time to find a match. Keep going until one person finds all six matching designs.
  • Create Patterns (Twos/School Age) – Teach your child how to make different patterns and designs using the rocks/lids in various orders.
  • Tic-Tac-Toe (Preschool/School Age) – Draw a tic-tac-toe board using the chalk. The rocks or lids can be used as two-player game pieces.
  • Checkers (Preschool/School Age) – To play checkers, help your child draw a 6x6 grid of squares with the chalk. Place the rocks in every other square in the top two and bottom two rows to play a simple version of checkers. Show your child how to move diagonally through the squares and how to hop over the other team’s piece to capture it.

 What other ideas can you come up with? As you saw in our activity video, Cece also used her rocks during pretend play in her outdoor kitchen. She flipped them like pancakes and mixed them up together using a twig as a spoon to make some delicious stone soup.

Encourage your child to exercise their creativity, wonder, and imagination to come up with new uses for the items in their natural game kit. For example, try hopping on the lids like a frog or see if you can stack the rocks without them falling over. Award a gold medal (or coin) to the first one who can get all 12 to stand tall! The possibilities are endless.