Dear LAPS Parents and Guardians,
Hope your summer is going well. With less than a month before school starts (school calendar), you may be looking for fresh ideas to encourage safe outside play and reduce screen time. If yes, here are some activities to share with your children.
Growing up in Los Alamos, I have fond memories of playing these games during the month of July and wanted to share this positive experience. In today’s world of ever-present phones and technology, these outside activities may be more important than ever. I certainly remember many fun evenings on Sage Loop enjoying neighborhood friends of all ages.
Games for Younger Children
Freeze Tag – on Sage Loop in Los Alamos, freeze tag was very popular with multi-age groups. One player starts as “it” and chases the other players to tag them. When a player is tagged by the person who is “it,” that player freezes. They can move again, or “unfreeze” when another person tags them back in.
Flashlight Tag – a variation of tag, this one is played at dusk and each player has a flashlight. The person who is “it” shines their flashlight toward the other players. A person is tagged if caught in the flashlight beam. It’s a simple game that becomes more engaging because kids are playing under the stars.
Four Square – the court is a square and divided into quarters. Decide which square is the lowest and which is the highest, then have each player stand in one square. The player in the highest square serves, and the goal is to get the ball past a player in another square. The ball can bounce only once in a square, and only the player in that square can hit the ball. Players rotate toward the highest square each time someone is “out,” and a new player enters the game in the lowest square.
Sharks and Minnows – this game is intended to be played in water, but can easily be converted to land. Players line up on opposite sides of a field, yard or court. One player starts in the middle and is the shark, all others are minnows. The minnows run around the area as the shark begins tagging. Anybody tagged by the shark becomes another shark and the tagging continues, thus growing harder to avoid as the number of sharks grows. The last minnow un-tagged wins!
Simon Says – kids choose one person to be “Simon.” “Simon” gives directions, but the group of players only does what they are told when the command starts with “Simon says.” Players who follow directions that don’t begin with “Simon says” are out. Generally, the directions start slow and speed up, but kids can be as creative as they want.
Activities for Older Children
Ultimate Frisbee – meets Mondays and Wednesdays at 6 pm in the practice field in front of UNM-LA. There’s also Frisbee (Disc) Golf at North Mesa Park and Pinon Park – you can rent a set of discs at the Aquatic Center for $5 or borrow a set at the Teen Center.
Putt Putt Golf – you can rent golf putters at the Aquatic Center for the free putt putt course at East Park.
Hiking and Biking – check out Craig Martin’s Los Alamos Trails book for a detailed guide to local trails, distances, and difficulty.
Gardening – consider checking with neighbors who want help growing or harvesting fruits and vegetables.
For teens, it may be challenging to figure out how to get started if your friends or family aren’t involved in these activities. Some options are:
You can meet other climbers at the Family Y’s climbing wall – free for members, $5 for guests to rent gear. Anyone under 18 needs a signed liability waiver, . Fridays are teen climbing night during the school year.
Explorer Post members climb, hike, ski, raft and attend indoor boating night together.
Tuff Riders Mountain Bike Club welcomes teens to ride with them.
You may even want to join in the fun!