26: Balancing the Serious with the Serendipitous, Part 2

     After sending the last newsletter, we found that we had left out a section on Energetic Ideas for Outside. These ideas and a few other suggestions from our readers are in this letter.

Energetic Activities for Outside

  • Paint ball
  • Make and fly kites
  • Croquet
  • Bocce
  • Ultimate Frisbee (Soccer with a Frisbee)
  • Hide and seek, in your yard or neighborhood
  • Ride bicycles on a trail or around the neighborhood
  • Wiffle ball: A big red bat with a large plastic Wiffle ball helps everyone succeed.


     The object of the game is to become the moose and stay in the seat belonging to the moose as long as you can. Each seat has a corresponding animal sign. The best seat is the moose’s seat, and the worst seat is to the right of the moose. It is the skunk’s seat. The moose begins by giving his sign and then someone else’s sign. That person does their sign, followed by the sign for another player. This continues until someone does their sign improperly or makes a mistake. Then that person moves to the skunk chair and all the people to the left move up a seat to the right. When the moose makes a mistake, he moves to the skunk seat and everyone advances one seat to the right. Here is a short video we filmed of Moose and another game called Viking.

Disc golf

     This is a Demme family favorite. Think of golf with Frisbees. Use regular Frisbees or purchase discs that are designed for this sport. To find a course nearby, go the Course Directory on the Professional Disc Golf Association’s website.

     To learn more about the sport, watch this video. You can always design a course in your own backyard, using trees, posts, barrels, or other objects as targets.

More Activities From You, Our Kindred Spirits

  • Charades
  • Spoons
  • Musical chairs
  • Indoor volleyball: Substitute a piece of rope or yarn for the net, and a balloon for the ball

Marshmallow fights

     Replacing snowballs with this sugary confection has always been a winner in our family. Marshmallows are inexpensive, unlilkely to cause injury, and easy to clean up. Loads of happy memories return when an errant missile is discovered on a deep cleaning day or when it’s time to move.

Squirt gun wars

     Some folks think they’re only for outside in the summer time, but our family has learned the delights of indoor aquatic attacks. Whether it’s a parent or a child who starts the stealthy showers, it’s not long before everyone’s involved with steady streams and giggling dodges.

Hide-N-Seek inside with flashlights

     When it’s dark outside, turn out all the lights in the house, including computer monitors or anything that gives off too much light. The person who is “it” counts in a specified place and the remaining family members seek out hiding places using flashlights. When hiding places are found, the hiders turn their flashlights off and keep still and quiet. The seeker, after counting, turns on his flashlight and seeks all those hiding.

     We’ve even played this game at night when a storm came and our lights went out, giving the kids a fun activity to do to keep their minds off the thunder and lightening. Some younger kids do end up hiding with older kids and adults as they are usually a little afraid to be alone in a room in the dark.

Pajama run

     After the kids had been tucked in bed for the night and settled in, my husband and I came running into their bedrooms yelling (in a silly fashion) and piled the kids into the car. We said we were kidnapping them and didn’t tell them where we were going. They were all pleased and surprised when we pulled into Sonic and ordered them each an ice cream cone!

Dinner and a movie

I don’t know why it’s such a big deal, but my kids LOVE to watch a movie while eating supper. We don’t do it often, but when we do they ask for it again and again.

Ultimate spoons: You will need a deck of cards and spoons

     If seven people are playing, you need six spoons. To begin, one person is picked to be “it” and hides the spoons. Since he knows where the spoons are, this person sits out the first round. Deal 10 cards to everyone else. Whoever has a two begins by laying the two on the table. Whoever has a three plays it on the two. Then the four is played, and so on. There are no turns; all try to play the next card in order from their hand. When the highest card has been played, everyone jumps up and tries to find a spoon. Since there is one less spoon than the number of players, the person who does not find a spoon is ‘it’ and hides the spoons for the next round.