Thursday, July 5, 2012

Summer Fun Idea #1

My extremely busy schedule has kept me from doing all of the updates I was wanting to do, I apologize!  Slowly over the summer I hope to get some of these fun ideas up and out there for you. 

This past week at camp was HOT!  If you're in the US you will know what I mean.  Everywhere, it seems, the temps rose and the humidity rose with it.  It was a great time to play some games in the water!  So this edition of "Summer Fun Ideas" will be two of my favorite water games you can teach your kids to play with their friends this summer at the beach, the pool, or even your backyard!

#1: Fishy, Fishy Cross My Sea

-Probably the most classic of all water games besides Marco, Polo.  In this game one player is the Shark and the rest of the players are Fish.  Set boundaries so that there are two "safe zones", one on either end of the pool/lake/play area.  The shark goes in between the two areas and shouts "Fishy, Fishy Cross My Sea!" then all of the fish will run from one safe boundary to the other.  If they are tagged by the shark they stay where they were when they were tagged and become seaweed. 

When everyone has either reached the other safe zone or been caught by the shark they shark once again shouts "Fishy, Fishy Cross My Sea!" and play continues.  Only now the seaweed is helping the shark tag the fish.  The seaweed cannot move their feet from the spot they were tagged initially, but can stretch and reach for the fish that come into their area.

The main thing I love about this game is that no player is ever really "out".  Once they are caught as fish they become seaweed and their part in the game changes, but not their participation.  This game can be played in a lake, a pool, or on land.  We played it the other day with about five campers and two counselors so it's also a game that does not require a lot of people to play.  But at the same time we've played it with over twenty campers and a dozen counselors so if you are having a big gathering it's also a great game to play.

#2- Habitat Four Corners

This is another game that can be played with a large or small group, and can be played both in water and on land.  It's also a big educational!

First, have the kids discuss what a habitat is and then list some themselves.  When we played Habitat Four Corners this past week the kids chose lake, forest, cave, and house (first time I'd ever heard house!) as their four habitats.  I then asked them what sort of animals lived in those habitats.  Then we selected four areas (in this case it was posts on the dock, but it can be anything from trees to markers in a pool to picnic benches in  a park), with each area representing a different habitat. 

One person is selected as being the counter and will count to ten while the "animals" run to the different "habitats".  Then, without looking, the counter will destroy a habitat.  When a habitat is destroyed the animals living in the habitat have nowhere else to live and "die".   They will leave the game (we have them usually join the counter and watch the rest of the action from the back) until it's over.  Then, an environmental group comes in and "rebuilds" the destroyed habitat, bringing it back into the game so it can still be used, but sadly the poor animals that had lived there before have already died.   Then the counter once again counts to ten and destroys a habitat.  Play this way until there is just one animal left.  That animal is the winner and becomes the new counter.

I like this game because it teaches a bit of a lesson along with being really fun.  Every group of children I've ever played this game with loves it!  The down side is, once you've been eliminated from the game you stay out until a new one starts.  With smaller groups this tends to go really fast so it's alright, but with a larger group it can take some time so you may want to come up with a fun way to entertain those who are eliminated until the next game starts.

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