with Joe Cortese

80s Backyard Games You Forgot About

For many, Memorial Day weekend is the kick-off to summer! School’s out, the tunes are turned up, and the barbecue is hot!

How many of us spent hours outside in the backyard playing with friends? We didn’t have phones or expensive video consoles to occupy our time back then. Instead, we played, ran, and laughed through games like Red Light, Green Light and Tag! So to get you and your kids ready for summer fun, here’s the 5 Best Backyard Games!

  1. Red Light, Green Light. One player who is It stands at one end of the yard, while everyone else lines up on the opposite end. The It player yells green light, and the others start running forward. When It yells “Red Light,” everyone stops and freezes. It turns around and if they catch anyone still moving, they go back to the line. The first one to touch It wins and becomes “It” for the next round!
  2. Kick the Can. A can is placed in an open space and half of the players go hide. The other half of players are It – and they have to find the hiding players while also guarding the can. Players who are found are held together as a group in ‘jail’ but any player not tagged, who is able to go and ‘kick the can’ can release players who have been captured.
  3. Red Rover. Players are divided into two teams who line up facing each other, leaving a wide space in between them. Each team holds hands, and they choose one player from the other team to play that round.  The calling team yells, “Red Rover, Red Rover, let Nina come over!” and Nina runs from the opposite line and tries to break through the line. If Nina does break through, she chooses a player from the calling team to return with her to her original team.  If she can’t break through, she joins the calling team.  Teams take turns calling back and forth until only one person is left on one team.
  4. Ghosts in the Graveyard. Players choose a home base – a tree, a playset, or a mailbox. One player is It. He closes his eyes and begins to count slowly, “One o’clock.  Two o’clock.  Three o’clock….” all the way to midnight, while all the kids are finding a hiding spot. When the It player yells midnight, the other players try to run for home base before It catches them.
  5. Four Square. You start with a very large square, divided into four smaller, equal-sized squares. One person is in each square and one square is the “server.” The server bounces a playground ball in their square and hits it to another player. If a player misses the ball, catches the ball, bounces it out of bounds, etc., that player is out and another player moves in. There are all sorts of fun rules with this one too, from bus-stop bounces to cherry bombs!

So there you have it… the 5 Best Backyard Games You Forgot About! Which one will your kids love???


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