By Pat Lamb, Author
When we create positive memories for children, it is like investing in their future. When they are grown, many of those memories become the basis for decision making in raising their own children. They remember how much it meant to them when their parents did certain things, so they, in turn, do those same things for their children.
Children love it when parents take time to play with them. There are many benefits associated with adults actually getting on the level of the children and playing with them. It is an opportunity for bonding between parents and children. It is also an opportunity to observe children in an informal setting to see how they act and react to circumstances thrust upon them through games. It is also a time to just have fun. The Bible tells us that laughter is a good medicine. It is good for all of us to simply let go once in a while and enjoy our children and have fun ourselves. Memorial Day is a good time to do this. After the necessary actions of remembrances are done, such as visiting the cemetery and talking about the past, why not have a picnic with active games?
There are many games that are great for an outdoor setting. Work-up softball is a good game to play even if there are not the nine players available for a team. This can be adapted to any number of people. If at least nine are present, three people are batters and the others take various positions in a made-up baseball diamond. Use anything available for bases such as sticks, trees, or whatever can be found. (This develops resourcefulness and teaches children that they don’t always have to spend a lot of money to have fun.) Things don’t have to be perfect. In fact, it is more fun when they are not. Sometimes there may be two right fielders, or no right fielder. When a person goes to bat and is put out, he or she takes a place in the field and everyone moves up one spot and a new batter is added to the batting pool.
Red Rover is a game that some have restricted due to the rowdiness that sometimes develops. With adults present, it can be kept under control and enjoyed immensely. Two lines are formed and everyone holds hands. One line shouts, “Red Rover, Red Rover, Send _________(fill in a name of a person on the opposite line) right over.” The person named then runs and tries to break through the line of the people who did the calling. If he or she breaks the line, a person is chosen to go to the line that sent a person over. If the person is unable to break the line, that person has to remain with the line that called for someone to come over. The object is to see which line can end up with everyone.
Many other games such as wood tag or other forms of tag games can be played. In wood tag, one person is “it” and tries to catch the others. If they are touching wood, they are safe. If not, and a person is tagged, that person must be “it”.
A flour war is another possibility. In a flour war, two teams are chosen and flour “bombs” are made by tying up flour with string in tissue. “Bombs” are thrown at players on the other team. If a player is hit, that player has to go as a prisoner to the team that hit him/her.
Inevitably in games such as the ones just mentioned, things will happen that everyone will remember. There will be lots of laughter and wonderful memories will be created.