Summer Sports and Games
I have fond memories of summers as a child. We lived in a middle class neighborhood with a circle (culdesac) where the neighborhood kids would congregate each evening and play sports or games.
Because of the long days, we could stay up 'til dark or until our parents would give a call out from our front door.
We got plenty of exercise and most of the sports or games we played included using a ball or other equipment. We also played many of them in teams.
Dodge Ball or Dodgeball was one we always enjoyed. In this game you try to hit other players with balls but avoid being hit yourself. Be sure and watch the video below for the biggest Dodge ball game you probably will ever see.
Anti I Over is played with a ball which is played over a house (yes, I said a house - if the parents approved of course). In those days, we only had one level houses, usually looking like a cracker box with an A-framed roof.
One team would stand on one side and one team on the other side of the house. Then one team would throw a ball over the house and call out, "Anti-I-Over". If the ball did not make it to the other side, you could try again.
If the ball makes it over and someone on the other side caught it, you run around to the other side and try to tag as many as you can and then they wwill be on your side. The object of the game is to try and get all the players on your side.
Another game we played often was Kick the Can. In this one you had a can (any size will do) and a goal.
One player is the goalie and he hides his face or closes his eyes and counts while the rest of the team run and hide.
The object of the game is for the goalie to find the players. While the goalie is hunting, someone will try and sneak in and kick the can which automatically releases all the players who have been found. Then every one hides again.
Red Rover is played between two teams of players, normally about thirty feet apart. The team on the receiving end hold each others hands to form a barrier.
Each team lines up and one person calls out, Red rover, red rover, send [call the name of a player on the other team] right over .
The person who was called is supposed to run towards the other line, looking for a weak link, and break the line. If the person who was called is unable to break the chain, he/she joins the other team.
If the player is successful in breaking the chain, this player may select either of the two persons whose arms he was able to get through, and they join with the team that had called out.
The other team then calls out Red rover, red rover, send [call the name of a player on the other team] right over . It continues like that back and forth until only one is left. The team with the most players at the end wins.
The game can be a risky or painful. When the runner or attempts to break through, it can hurt the team player's arms or body and even knock them to the ground. I understand that the game has been banned in a number of schools because of injuries.
Run, Sheepy, Run is a game played with a wolf and as many others (sheep) who want to play. The wolf will hide his face with his hands and count to 100. While he is counting the sheep run and hide. Then the wolf will try to find the sheep.
It is similar to Hide and Seek, but in Run, Sheepy, Run you are caught by the wolf. Once the wolf catches a sheep, he puts them in a make believe corral. Sheep who are still hiding while the wolf is looking for them can sneak in and release the captured sheep.
Tag is one of the Favorites of children and there are many variations.
Chain tag is a variant where the first person to be caught joins hands with 'it' and the two must chase the others as a pair. As more people are caught they too join hands, forming a lengthening chain. Only those at the ends of the chain are able to catch someone, as they are the only ones with a free hand.
Octopus tag is a mixture of Red Rover and Tag. The playing field is known as the ocean . The fish line up along one side of the ocean and try to run to the other side without getting tagged. The octopus tries to tag the other players. After getting tagged the fish become seaweed and they must freeze or sit where they were tagged, but they can wave their arms around and help the octopus to tag other fish within their reach. The last fish to be tagged becomes the next octopus.
I have read that organized sports aren't right for every child and certainly not for every age.
If you as a parent encourage your child and set an example of being active yourself, chances are a few sports will spark his or her interest.
You can encourage them by taking your child to local sporting events and explaining how different games are played.
When the time is right, and they show true interest, you can provide opportunities for your child to try out equipment and play informally with other children.
Teach your children how you can get great satisfaction from playing without even wanting to be the best. Don't force children to play sports they are not interested in.
Children don't need organized athletics to develop athletic skills or to get physical activity. "A healthy lifestyle doesn't have to include sports," says Edward Laskowski, M.D., co-director of the Sports Medicine Clinic at Mayo Clinic, Rochester Minn. "It's more important that your child is involved in some sort of physical activity, whether it's hiking and biking with the family or playing pickup baseball or basketball with the neighborhood kids."
Competition has its place, but it is important while children are young to let them enjoy fun sports and games without feeling stressed to succeed. The physical activity is necessary for proper growth and development.
I have fond memories of all these times we spent until late in the summer evenings.