Neil and I came up with this game to get our kids out of the house and running around the yard a bit. I’m calling it Backyard Bingo, but in reality it takes place all over the yard (not just in the back) and technically it’s not really Bingo, either. So it’s totally mis-named, but it’s fun just the same. If you’d like to make a similar game for your kids, here’s what you do:
Go outside without the little ones and take pictures of things around the yard. Make a nice mix of easy and challenging. Zoom in really closely on some objects. Take a lot of pictures so you can make more than one game, in case it’s a big hit. I took 48 shots, and used 12 for this first game. Now we can easily play three more times with the rest of the images.
Print all of the images for your game onto a piece of heavy paper and give it to your players. You can make one for each child, or just a single sheet to share, if they want to search as a team.
If your kids have a camera or can take flip videos, have them photograph the objects as they find them.
Our rules were that you had to find every object on the game board, but you could definitely turn it into a true game of Bingo, if you like, and just have them find a row across or down.
Really, that’s it. My boys started out playing separately, but quickly teamed up to help each other fill in the blanks on their game boards. They had fun running around the yard, they got a little exercise, enjoyed some teamwork, and spent some time being more observant of the place where we live. Sometimes our surroundings become so familiar, we cease to really notice them anymore, so I like how this game made them pay attention to details.
We’re eager to play again, but I only have enough pictures for three more rounds… I have to make them last!
[It occurs to me that this would be a fun game for a group of neighborhood friends to play, as well, using objects from everybody's yards.]