Flying Saucers

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Travis is just learning to toss a Frisbee, so today we played this quick take on H-O-R-S-E. I suspended a hoop from a tree (which was actually a play tunnel folded up, but it worked in a pinch), and then handed Travis the Frisbee.

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Each player takes a turn tossing. If the disc goes through, the other player must make the shot from the same spot, else he or she earns a D. Continue play until somebody spells out D-I-S-C, and the other person wins!

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The spelling element meant this game was not just physical activity, but also a quick learning activity!

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Meanwhile Travis enjoyed honing his Frisbee skills. We’ll be playing this one again soon!

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Pool-Noodle Hockey

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We needed to get outside at “Camp Mom” this morning, and I knew just the silly summer sport for the kids. Pool noodles for hockey sticks and a giant blown-up beach ball for the puck made the perfect summer props to play an outdoor version of hockey.

Simply set up orange cones as the goal markers and then divide into teams. (In our case, it was Travis versus mommy and little sister).

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Then take turns whacking the beach ball down the field toward your opponent’s goal. First team to 10 points wins!

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Or you don’t even have to keep score. Kids will no doubt just have fun with the mechanics of chasing the beach ball around with the pool noodle, which is sure to elicit delight.

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Baby Soccer

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Veronika has shown an early interest in balls: bouncing them, catching them, kicking them, you name it! So today I decided we should play a classic round of baby soccer.

I set up orange cones as the goal posts then lifted her from under the arms and swung her legs toward a bouncy ball. “Goal!” I said with excitement.

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She squealed with delight! We continued to play, alternating kicks from up in my arms…

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…with chasing the ball around to kick it with her sturdy little legs.

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Each time she got the ball through the cones, I repeated “Goal!” earning more big smiles of excitement. She knew she’d done something right!

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Of course you can play this game outside, too. Simply set up a make-shift goal with sticks or rocks for markers. Your toddler will love chasing after the ball!

Glow Bottle Bowling

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Long summer nights are tailor-made for staying up late, and I love finding activities to heighten the excitement. So on the heels of a few other glow-in-the-dark sports, tonight it was time to go bowling!

During the day, we decorated empty plastic water bottles with colorful tape. You could also use paint markers, but Travis preferred just to use the tape. He loved making diagonal stripes on his!

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After dark, we activated glow sticks and dropped one in each bottle.

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Line up in bowling formation, then take aim with bean bags! You can use regular bean bags, or glowing ones leftover from a bean bag toss.

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Travis loved it so much he insisted on multiple rounds. We played several variations, like lining them up in different ways or sliding the bean bags along the floor instead of throwing them.

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I think we’ll need a new set of glow sticks so we can play again tomorrow night!

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If your kids are older and want a greater challenge, fill the bottles with water to make them harder targets.

Glowing Bean Bag Toss

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After playing a glow-in-the-dark Frisbee game recently, tonight it was time for glow-in-the-dark bean bags!

This kiddie-version of Cornhole can be played in daylight, too. First, I taped a cardboard box securely with duct tape along the top and bottom, and then used an X-acto knife to cut it in half along a diagonal.

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Cut a hole in the center of each. These will be your target boards. Travis was in charge of decorating them! We used colorful washi tape to make patterns and designs.

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Of course little sister wanted to help, too.

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The bean bags were a bit tricky to make. Cut snack-size zip-top bags into an octagon shape, and then use more decorative tape to cover them and seal the edges. Leave an opening at the top. Fill with dried beans, then add more washi tape along the top. Time to toss!

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We scored 1 point for any bags that landed on the board, 3 points if it went in the hole.

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We upped the ante and kept moving further back from the board with each round. Travis was a natural!

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Once it grew dark, it was time to make it all glow. We cracked glow sticks to activate them and taped them along the sides of the box targets.

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Then we added small glow sticks to a few more bean bags, adding them in with the beans before sealing shut.

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Travis wanted to play so many rounds that bedtime ended up being a little delayed! But that’s exactly what summer nights are for.

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Glow-Bee

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Next time your kids want to toss a disc back and forth, don’t just play Frisbee; play Glow-bee. All you need are a few glow-in-the-dark sticks to take a regular game up a notch.

First, Travis used paint markers to decorate a clear plastic lid. We used one from an empty yogurt container, although a larger lid might have been better.

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Let the paint dry completely.

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Wait for it to get dark, then add glow sticks! Snap them just before playing, and use hot glue to adhere to the decorated lid.

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This was so fun to toss, even though it wasn’t pitch black.

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The streaks of light still made it look like a little comet shooting through the halls.

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A fun way tire ’em out with a little exercise, right before bed.

Pool Noodle Ball Games

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After making marshmallow launchers with pool noodles, today we got even craftier with them, setting up two silly sports: a Ball Toss and a Golf Game.

For the former, you’ll need to first make the “hoop”. Fold three long pool noodles into a circle and secure with Duct tape. Travis was so proud helping me with this step, definitely a two person job. Repeat two times, for three rings total.

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Use garden Velcro strips to attach the three rings together in sort of a triangle, as shown.

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To make the ball, cut a pool noodle in half vertically. Tie each half into a knot, and fold the ends in.

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It was a bit tricky to get the knot tight, but the tighter it is, the rounder your ball.

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Time to slam dunk!

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This game would of course be awesome to play in a pool, but we loved it even on dry land.

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As you can probably guess, the ball and rings alone were great fun to play with, even when we weren’t keeping score.

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Then we repurposed the pool noodles to set up the latter game outside. Highlights magazine billed this as golf, but it looked more like croquet to me! For your wickets, fold a pool noodle into an arc and anchor into the ground using two wooden skewers.

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For a club, cut a notch near the bottom of one long pool noodle. Bend and secure with duct tape to hold the curvature in place. Travis thought this was fun, but then declared it too easy! We’ll have to think of ways to make it trickier.

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Looking for other ways to get moving at home this summer? Check out some of the simple “sports” we set up last week.

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“Play At Home” Sports

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Are your kids antsy to play their favorite sports even during social distancing? These four easy ideas from Highlights magazine recreate four common sports with items you likely have on hand. Today Travis tested out all four.

First up was Basketball. We balled up socks into sock balls and took turns aiming at a small bucket.

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Slam dunk!

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Next up: Bowling. Arrange empty plastic water bottles on the ground and roll a tennis ball towards them.

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This was Travis’s favorite of the games, and he loved playing with the empty bottles after, too!

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Time for Golf! Turn small paper cups on their side and use a broom as your golf club to get a small golf or ping pong ball into the cup. Our course turned out to be a 3 par!

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Finally, Gymnastics. Stretch a line of masking tape on the floor and practice walking one foot in front of the other as if you’re high up on a balance beam.

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We definitely got in our physical fitness today!

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Shadow Tag

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As an outdoor adventure addition to Travis’s summer workbook, we headed outside today to play shadow tag. The day had been variably sunny and cloudy, but we got a beautiful burst of sunshine in which to play!

I explained the rules to Travis very briefly. Whoever was It had to tag the other person… not by touching their body, but by stomping in their shadow.

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After that, just run! Needless to say, Travis giggled and loved it. We played just after noon when shadows were short, making the game particularly tricky. I challenged him to think about why it would have been easier to play early in the morning or late in the day and he guessed correctly: longer shadows!

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We recruited baby sister to play, too. This was a great way to get some sunshine and movement in.

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How To… Throw a Boomerang

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The latest “how to” from Highlights magazine was more of a feature article about a professional boomerang thrower. Travis was so inspired that we picked up a cheap one online and headed outside to try our hand at it!

Carefully, we read the tips. Hold the boomerang vertically with the decorated side facing you, then pinch it between thumb and index finger.

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We even took a moment to check that the wind was on our right cheek, not left, since we both throw lefty. Now throw overhand!

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Well, it turns out that it’s very hard to throw a boomerang and have it return to you. But we sure had a lot of laughs together, got some mother-son exercise which felt novel and playful (baby sister was painting on the patio, FYI), and had a blast. He loved chasing after it and was so proud when he could catch it, even when we did so more Frisbee-style.

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Finish off the fun with some videos from the pros!