The politicos are gearing up for elections, and once again, immigration reform news is a hot topic. Adding to the heated discussion are reports of record numbers of unaccompanied children from Central America and Mexico crossing the border into the United States and being detained. Politics aside, these children need to be cared for, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has been charged with the task until they can be reunited with families in their home countries or placed with relatives or sponsoring families in the United States. In addition to housing, feeding and clothing the kids, HHS officials are making sure they get physical playtime. After all, they are still children, it’s summer and that means playing outside…or at least it used to.
Oldies but Goodies
Of course, it’s great these kids can burn off energy while detained, but they’re not the only ones who need to get out and move. On average, American children spend seven hours a day with entertainment media in their hands, which include video games, computers and phones. Sure there are various campaigns out there promoting physical activity—from the NFL’s Play 60 to the first lady’s Let’s Move—but simply telling them to “go outside and play” doesn’t surpass the lure of electronics. Maybe it’s time for adults to put down their own cell phones and introduce today’s children to the games of our childhoods.
“Red rover, red rover, send Johnny on over.”
The rules: Two teams form facing lines with individuals interlocking arms. One team calls out a player from the other line to “come on over.” He then tries to run through the human chain. If the player breaks it, he returns to his original team. If not, then that person becomes part of the opposing team. The winner is declared when the last person is blocked from breaking the chain.
Kick the Can
A twist on hide-n-seek that gives players a second (or third or fourth) chance.
The rules: The designated seeker closes his eyes and counts while everyone else hides. Anyone found by the seeker is sent to “jail” while the seeker continues searching for others. The still-free players may come out of hiding to kick the can (a item placed in a centrally located spot), which signals the release of all jailed players, who are then free to hide again. The game concludes when the seeker has jailed everyone.
Red Light, Green Light
This is not a racing video game.
The rules: The person who is “it” stands at one end of the yard with her back to everyone else. When she yells, “green light,” everyone else tries to sneak up as quickly as possible. When she yells, “red light,” everyone must stop before she turns around. Whomever she sees moving must go back to the start line. The first person to reach her wins. Bonus: This can be adapted for the pool.
Some summer games never go out of vogue with kids who just want to have fun.