New Backyard Games for Kids: Contest Encourages Creating Your Own

Do you and your kids like to dream up new backyard games? Or are you stuck in a rut and need some
fresh ideas?

In either case, the CLIF Backyard Game of the Year contest has something for you.

If you’re a kid who has invented a game, you can submit it by July 3 for the chance to win a $10,000 scholarship.

On the contest’s website, you can find all this year’s entries, plus finalists from previous years. In other words: lots of new games to play. If your favorite makes it to the top three, you can vote for it through a related Facebook page.

All the games are meant to be played outside by two or more kids ages 6 to 12 and do not require fancy equipment. Here are a few examples to whet your appetite:

Nature Rainbow Hunters: In this spin on I-Spy, submitted by a 7-year-old, kids race to find natural objects in the colors of the rainbow (red-orange-yellow-green-blue-indigo-violet, although the young inventor leaves out indigo for reasons unexplained). You can play this game as a group or individual kids can compete to see who’s fastest.

Treasure Map: This game, submitted by a 6-year-old, requires paper, crayons or other drawing materials, a small shovel (I’d say this is optional), and a small treasure for each player to hide. As you might guess, each child has a chance to hide his or her treasure (while others are distracted) and draw a treasure map to it, along with providing a clue. The kids swap treasure maps and search for each other’s treasures.

Nature to Nature: In this matching game, submitted by a 10-year-old, one child first selects a natural object from the area (for example, a fallen leaf, a shell on the seashore, or a twig in the woods). He or she then shows it to everyone else for 10 seconds. The other players then have to the count of 100 to find something else that matches the first object. Whoever finds the closest match gets to choose the next object.

(Photograph by Stephanie Platt.)

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