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Unplug and Have Fun!

Summertime is the best time for kids to disconnect and enjoy being outdoors.

Long, long ago, in a time before technology, children entertained themselves and played endlessly with nothing more than ... wait for it ... their imagination. They played outdoors for hours with friends, balls, jump ropes, buckets, chalk, bicycles, you name it! The level of creativity saw no limits in the minds of these children. While some families have plans for getaway vacations, there are those planning to stay home and scrambling for things their children can do. We'd like to share some ideas that don't include technology or cost a boat load of money for that matter. The benefits of spending time outdoors and unplugged outweigh complaints about temperature or those annoying creepy crawlers. The added bonus is that many outdoor games secretly teach life skills. Technology is used only to confirm game rules.

Ready or not, it's time to play! A day - or two or three - full of outdoor games will invoke a trip down memory lane for some adults, or a "this is great" thought for others. In either case, playing these games has tremendous benefits - young people can fully embrace human connection; get a break from the instant gratification associated with technical devices and social media; and enjoy some good wholesome, age-appropriate fun. Many adults admit they played many of their favorite childhood games well into their teen years, and still others say they relish in a good game of dodgeball or tug of war today. This list is not all-inclusive, but it certainly gets the games started!

Dodgeball - team sport in which players on two teams try to throw balls and hit opponents, while avoid being hit themselves. Consider water balloons instead of balls on a hot day.

Tug of War - contest between two teams at opposite ends of a rope; each team trying to drag the other across a center line.

Freeze Tag - each player freezes when tagged and can be unfrozen only by a player who is not yet frozen. Game ends when all players are frozen.

Red Light Green Light - shout "green light" and all players run towards you, shout "yellow light" and they are allowed to walk, but when "red light" is shouted, they must stop and freeze. If player moves at "red light", they go back to start line.

Musical Chairs - walk to music around a group of chairs containing one chair fewer than number of players, and rush to sit down when music stops. They player left standing in each round is eliminated.

Sack Race - stand in your sack, hold on to the top of your sack and hop as fast as you can to the finish line!

Kick the Can - find players in their hiding spots and put them in "jail". Once a player is "jailed" the only way to be freed is for another player to beat the "IT" person to the can and kick it.

There are more great outdoor games. Get unplugged and get outside!

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