Families that play together stay together
~ Deborah Fairfull
You’re having a great day out with your family enjoying wonderful picnic food and catching up, away from the TV and any other electronics. Now, you’ve eaten, the kids are becoming fidgety, and the adults are yawning from too much food (for delicious food ideas see here). It’s time to take the family bonding session to the next level.
Planning a variety of games that everyone can enjoy helps to bring family members together regardless of age differences. The laughter and fun that can be had while sharing games can automatically help people to connect and increase their sense of well-being. Choosing activities that both adults and kids can enjoy makes sense while rekindling memories for adults of their childhood games, while often children get to see their parents let go as they enjoy themselves.
Some oldies but goodies are:
1. The Egg and Spoon Race
- Get all the family members together and give them identical spoons (to keep things on a level playing field) with an uncooked egg that they will have to balance on the spoon. Line everyone up behind a starting line and make a distant tree or another landmark the object that they have to walk around.
- When everyone has their position behind the horizontal starting line get them to balance the egg on the spoon. After the start command they have to walk around the agreed landmark and return to the starting point.
- If the egg falls off the spoon, the player must start over from the starting line.
- As a variation, this game can also be played as teams.
2. The Sack Race
- All you need to play this game are people and a pillowcase, potato sack or another cloth bag for each player, depending on the size of the player. Set up a start and a finish line. At the start line, have each player put his feet and legs into the sack and hop from the starting line to the finish point, and then back again.
- The first player back wins!
- Another variation can be a three-legged race where two players each put a leg into the sack to make one leg and use their outer legs to hop the course together.
- Play on grass or another soft surface to avoid any injuries.
3. The Treasure Hunt
- Set boundaries for the hunt such as everything between the fence and the lake of between certain trees for example.
- Hide the items, ensuring that they are easy enough to find in the environment. For example, hiding a tennis ball in a park would work, but hiding a natural leaf would be impossible.
- Set a timer, and let your players find all the items on the list. For little children, around five items can be enough for older children they could have even more than one list. Pairing older and younger team members together can also be a great way to even things out.
- Prizes and “award” ceremonies, including an overview of the highlights, can be a great way to add to the excitement and fun of the games.
Plan your picnic in beautiful inspiring areas with an open area for the races. Plan your games prior to the picnic to ensure you have all the equipment and prizes you need. There is nothing wrong with adjusting the rules to give everyone a fair chance of coming first as ideally the games are all about everyone having fun, rather than serious competition.
One of the greatest free sources of entertainment and bonding can be sunshine, fresh air and laughter. Not to mention that this an opportunity to build memories to last a lifetime
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