We sure got a nice dose of summer Sunday, and the kids took full advantage. They got their swimsuits on, set-up both the kiddie pool and slip and slide, and there were water guns scattered all across the yard.  For my wife and I, it was a quick reminder summer is coming and we need to make sure we've got plenty of activities planned, outdoors. So if you're looking for some great ideas for kids, here's some of my personal favorites, that'll hopefully keep them away from the TV and video games, and begging for more outside time.  We've even thrown in a patriotic twist as we think ahead to Memorial Day and 4th of July.  In fact, some of these, you could play on the grassy area at the McGrath Amphitheater as you enjoy the concert and await the Fireworks on the 4th of July.


  • 1

    Red, White, and Blue Tag

    What kids doesn't love a great game of tag?  So here's an easy "patriotic" twist.  Secretly give each participant a red, white, or blue token. Poker chips work great, or simply create tokens out of colored paper.  There doesn't need to be one "it" (which always creates an argument).  Depending on the group size, have multiple taggers.  The kids simply run around and try to tag each other.  When a kid gets tagged, they give their token to the tagger.  Once a tagger has collected a red, white, and blue token, they win!

  • 2

    Decorate Your Bike

    I'm sure your kids love riding their bikes. Maybe they even love getting out the sidewalk chalk and making streets, lanes, parking spaces, etc.  Why not start the whole bike experience off with a new look for the bike, including red, white, and blue streamers, flags, and other patriotic decorations?  They can then have their own bike parade incorporated into the bike village role play.

  • 3


    Tossing around a frisbee is always a lot of fun.  But instead of buying a new frisbee, get some paper plates, packing tape, and markers, and make your own. Have the kids "patriotically" decorate their new frisbees. Feel free to turn this into a game of Monkey in the Middle if you'd like.

  • 4

    Relay Race

    Kids love running, and especially competing against each other.  So put together a relay race, to help possibly even up the score between slower and faster runners, while adding a little skill.  To make it even more fun, here's 3 awesome patriotic spins for you.  First is to get 2 containers with sand in them, and put a bunch of flags in the sand.  Teams run to one end, grab the flag, and run back.  First team to grab all their flags wins.  Another idea would be too do a spoon race with a hard boiled egg that has been decorated red, white, and blue.  With all the fun you have on Easter, why should that be the only holiday we decorate eggs?   Finally, you could have an Uncle Sam dress-up race.  Make a hat out of construction paper, a beard out of cotton balls, two red or blue coats or shirts, and of course 2 bow ties (preferably red).  You can make those easily out of construction paper too!  On go, the first two kids get dressed up as Uncle Sam, then march, not run, to the end and back, then remove the outfit for the process to start over with the next kid.

  • 5

    Circle Them Up

    All kids love duck, duck, goose... until they get too old.  So why not change it up?  Still have them sit, or stand in a circle.  The first kid has to name something red, the next something white, the next something blue, then repeat. Keep going until one person repeats or gets stumped. At that point, some "penalty" should happen.  Maybe they have to go down the slip and slide, or get sprayed with a water gun, or a cup of water dumped on them.  You can switch up the topic too if things get stale.  Do flavors of ice cream or an ABC of animals for example.

  • 6

    Capture The Flag

    This has got to be my favorite game as a kid, and it's so easy to make it patriotic.  Have team red take on team blue, as they try to capture the other team's American Flag.  You can use streamers to signify which team they're on to add to the fun.

  • 7


    What could be more patriotic than celebrating America's favorite pass time?  Don't have the equipment for baseball, change it to kickball, or simply catch.

  • 8

    Kick the Can

    It's been so long since I played this simple game, that I forgot how it worked.  It's so easy, and probably something the kids haven't played before.  And why not, as it combines tag with hide and seek.  The person who's it has the main job of guarding a can place in a circle.  They close their eyes while the others hide.  Then they go and find them.  Once found, the hider make a run for it to avoid being tagged.  If they can make it to the can and kick it, they'll bring back all the previously tagged kids who were "out".  Make it patriotic by decorating the can red white and blue first.  Or have the person who's "it" where a patriotic bandanna.

  • 9

    Chalk Art

    More than likely, you'll be burning through sidewalk chalk this summer.  So instead of the typical just draw whatever, add a theme.  Have a patriotic coloring contest. (Of course, unknown to them, they'll all win some patriotic prize.)  Add more fun by starting out making a 4 square court, and assign them all to decorate their square.  When they're done, your 4 square game is all set to be played.  You could do the same a hopscotch pattern, especially if their's more kids.

  • 10

    Scavenger Hunt

    Another popular thing to do over the summer, especially for sleepovers, is a scavenger hunt.  Plan one out for the kids, with a patriotic twist, making them find red, white, and blue items, a flag, and other items that have some kind of significance, even coins carrying presidential faces.  Of course you can get really creative and turn it into a history lesson... but who wants to learn over the summer.  :)