Thursday, July 26, 2012

Painted Rock Games

We recently moved from a forested dot-on-the-map in Central Pennsylvania to suburban North Carolina. My children had grown accustomed to outside play that involved hiking, digging, climbing, and splashing in the creek. They would head out early in the morning and spend hours outside. They would return to the house filthy and exhausted but utterly satisfied from their adventures.

In finding a new home, our main priority was outside space where the boys could ride bikes and play catch. Finding the right home for our energetic family was not easy but we were pleased to find a nice home with a large fenced-in backyard featuring a sand box and space for our swing set. However, the boys have been none to pleased with the flat, rectangular, box of a yard. We have to diligently try to involve them in our gardening activities to meet their urge to play in the dirt. We also have spent endless days exploring nearby parks and lakes to get out some of their energies. I still miss the days though, when I could open the back door and watch them play for hours outside relying only on the natural landscape and their imaginations to inspire good, dirty, adventurous boy play.

I've seen lots of painted rock crafts recently in the blogosphere like these cute dominoes from Martha Stewart crafts and this Tic Tac Toe game from Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores. There are also lots of ABC painted rock crafts on Pinterest. I love the idea of using these rocks to play Scrabble right outside in the grass. Then I wondered what else we could use painted rocks for. The boys had lots of ideas...

Finally, we settled on one project that could be used by everyone and will hopefully give the boys some ideas of what to play in their new backyard when they seem otherwise uninspired. We are painting idea rocks that will line the garden and provide lots of ideas of outside games and activities they can play with little or no special equipment. Some of the brainstormed ideas include:
  • throw a football or baseball
  • swing
  • freeze tag
  • build a sandcastle
  • kick the can
  • hide and seek
  • hula hoop
  • flag football
  • blow bubbles
  • draw with chalk
  • jump rope
  • Red Light, Green Light
  • Simon Says
  • Spud
  • find bugs with a magnifying glass
  • Rock, Paper, Scissors
  • One Potato
  • Bocce Ball
  • cloud watching

I'm sure we will come up with at least a few additional ideas and the more stones we can paint, the happier everyone will be outside. So we're off the Lowe's for some smooth garden stones and shellac. If you'd like to make your own painted garden stones, we'll be painting them with acrylic paints.

What other activities do you enjoy outside and how do you inspire adventurous play?

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