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With summer on its way, this is a great time to get outside and play some games with your family. Whether round or oval shaped, hard or soft, a ball is a great start for hours of family fun.
There’s no secret that this is my favorite sport, and I love to watch my son play. If it were up to me, I’d watch and talk baseball all day long. You need 18 people to play a real game of baseball, so if your last name isn’t Duggar, you may have trouble filling out two complete rosters. But, you can still enjoy America’s favorite pastime by playing catch, three flies up, or just throwing some BP (batting practice). If you want to play a game, just use fewer fielders, depending on the number of people you have. Go with one outfielder instead of three, and two infielders instead of four, plus your pitcher. You can skip the catcher if you don’t have enough people. For small kids, you may want to use a tee until they can hit a ball pitched to them. Look for equipment at your local used sporting goods shop or find a good deal online or at garage sales. Be sure to stop halfway through the game and have everyone sing “Take Me Out To the Ball Game.” Softball is very similar, except you use a bigger ball and deliver the pitch underhanded.
This game can be played in a backyard, on the beach, in a park, or at a school. All you need is a net, a ball, and some space. It’s easy to learn, making it a good option for a variety of skill levels. Shorter, less-skilled players can set up shots for the taller players who are better at defending the net. Volleyball will get your heart rate going. Be ready to dive and jump a lot. It can also be highly competitive, so keep that in mind if you have siblings who make it their life’s mission to outdo each other.
For some old-fashioned fun, head to your local department or outdoor store and look for a croquet set. It will come with a set of rules, but basically, you whack the ball with a mallet and try to knock it through a series of wickets. Meanwhile, you try to knock your opponent’s ball out of the way, making it more challenging for them to hit their ball through the wickets. This is a good game for multiple generations, since it doesn’t require running or a high level of athleticism. Grandparents can play alongside the youngsters and not feel like they’re out of their element. Make it a fun, Gatsby-esque afternoon and serve lemonade or cucumber sandwiches.
Get your gridiron on with a game of football. All you need is a ball and some space, preferably grass. The object is to move the ball, by running with it or throwing it to a receiver, into the other team’s goal. Keep it safe by playing two-hand touch, or using flags, and outlawing tackles. Be certain everyone is clear on the rules before you begin. In my neighborhood when I grew up, we could tackle, but there were no horse collars allowed. That means you couldn’t grab them from behind, using the neck of their shirt, to bring them down. Kids get hurt, or their shirts get ruined, and then you’d have to deal with their mom. Not fun.
Similar to football, the object is to move the ball down the field into the opponent’s goal. However, you can’t use your hands, unless you’re the goalie. Soccer is basically running with a ball, so if you have family members who aren’t conditioned for a lot of running, this can be a challenge. However, it’s fun for all ages, and is a great way to improve coordination and agility. You can find small goals that collapse for storage at most department and sporting goods stores. If you live near a school, they usually have soccer goals set up. Just be sure you’re not going up there to play when they have matches scheduled.