Host your own summer Olympics. Compete in egg tosses, tug of war, three-legged relays and potato sack races!
Create a scavenger hunt. Hide small boxes containing an inkpad and a logbook around your yard. Then pass out clues to help players find the boxes. Once they find it, each player should write their name in the logbook, then leave it for the next adventurers after you can find it, too. The team to log in at all the boxes first wins!
Organize an archeological dig. Use pieces of cardboard to represent fossils, then bury them in mulch, loose dirt or a sandbox. Set kids on the trail!
Update croquet. Change the kind of ball you use―try beach balls or tennis balls.
Build a backyard fort. Younger children will enjoy building a back-yard fort. Pull out old sheets and blankets and help kids cover the picnic or patio table. Let the kids decide what the fort is―a preschool, library, campsite, restaurant and so on. Help them add appropriate props, such as writing tablets and crayons for school or books for the library.
Throw a costume party. Collect a bunch of old clothes from your closet, including hats, shoes, vests and other accessories. Toss them in a large cardboard box and put it on your deck or patio. Let the kids choose whatever they want to wear. Lead them on a parade around the yard or neighborhood. Little kids will love this!
Source: Penny Warner, author of Parent’s and Kid’s Complete Guide to Summer Camp Fun