Games - KaBOOM! News



Enjoy this guest post from our friends at Doozy, a life-sized board game that inspires people to get outside and create their own play, about the importance of creative and imaginative play!

When did you last play a game - at a social event, on the bus, at work? Now really think, when did you last let yourself go, make things up and build creatively with others? We want the latter to be more than a distant memory. The harsh reality is that people are spending, on average, more than 7 hours a day in front of a screen, and most play and entertainment now involves a screen too.

Our mission is to inspire people to get outside and create their own play through the framework of a life-sized board game. Doozy lets you be your own game piece and flex your creative muscles as you hop from space to space completing challenges with other players.

So how does it work? You take the circular spaces and create any closed loop of your choice (the goal is to get back to the start). You roll the die, go to the next space of that color, draw a card, and you do what it tells you to do. The card challenges might ask you to grab a partner and “wheelbarrow” around the board, switch shoes with someone, or even act like a taco!

But what really sets Doozy apart is that you have the power to change the size of the board, the rules of the game, and the challenges that fuel it. We trust you to bring your own quirks and ideas to Doozy and customize it to your playful needs. As players become co-creators and invest themselves in the game, they inherently internalize Doozy’s larger message and make more time for play in their daily routine, high fiving co-workers, getting outside for lunch, and being that much more playful.

When we introduce Doozy, we use the word framework because ultimately it’s not about the game itself but rather the idea that Doozy can be a bridge; a bridge between the prescribed play of a digital age and the kick-the-can, baseball-meets-freeze tag experiences we had growing up; a bridge between caring adults and children, bosses and employees, new friends and old. The idea that players are creators is reinforced by the rewards of our current Kickstarter campaign, where you can simply take the idea and run with it, download and print the cards, make the spaces, or have it all manufactured and delivered to your doorstep. Because ultimately, we won’t be the ones to design Doozy 2.0 – you will!

We want to spark a movement but we can’t do it alone. Let’s set an example so this generation of kids grows up with the balanced and active play they need to thrive. We want to see kids growing up differently: talking with that other person in the elevator, moving their phones a little further away from their bed, and spending more time playing than in front of the TV. With your help, we can bring play back for kids and adults!

Let the games begin! Since our brave Playground Challengers are spending quite a bit of time playing this summer, we asked them what Olympic events their kids would rock... if the Olympics were held at the playground.

Here are five of our favorite new Playground Olympic events -- plus one event we hope your kids don't champion!

In which of the following would your kids take home the Gold? Got any new Playground Olympic events to add to our list?

  • "Both my kids would get a gold medal in giving their mom a heart attack! How do they both manage to find the ONE thing that makes me sprint like a maniac?" - Amy Keyishian (Photo by Eric Lewis, cc)
  • "My youngest, who is six, would win the 'I have no fear so I disappear' playground event. You have to keep an eye on this one, she's quick!" - Myrdin Thompson (Photo by W2 a-w-f-i-l, cc)
  • "My six year old said she would beat any kid at running while hula hooping on the playground." - Elizabeth Bonin (Photo by Steven Depolo, cc)
  • "My almost three and four year old do endurance - they are two-hours-in-the-sandbox kind of players." - Angelika Paul (Photo by Alec Couros, cc)
  • "If there was a 'hot lava' competition where my kids didn't have to touch the playground floor? They'd totally own that." - Alex Nguyen (Photo by Nate McBean, cc)
  • "Oldest son? He's back at the house participating in the Summer Couch Olympics. So far he has a gold medal in eating an entire bag of goldfish crackers in one sitting." - Myrdin Thompson

July 24, 2012 Darell Hammond,Kerala Taylor

Hold your own Playground Olympics

Do you have Olympic fever? We do. After all, the Olympics encapsulates many of the elements that make outdoor play so critical: teamwork, skill development, challenge, and fitness, to name just a few.

This Saturday, July 28, As First Lady Michelle Obama leads the U.S. Delegation to the 2012 Olympic Games, she’s calling on families around the country to support Team USA, not just by cheering on our athletes, but also by organizing their own Olympic Fun Days.

Since we can’t think of any more fitting place to hold your own Olympics than at the playground, here are five Olympic-inspired playground games:

  1. Slide shotput: Place a bucket at the bottom of a slide. Competitors must each “put” five tennis balls down the slide. The one who gets the most in the bucket wins the gold.
  2. Monkey relay: Divide into teams and hold relay races across the monkey bars. To discourage recklessness, competitors must balance something on their heads—may we suggest a stuffed monkey? If the monkey falls off, the contestant must start over.
  3. Synchronized swinging: Teams swing together for 30 seconds each. A panel of judges determines which team is the most synchronized.
  4. Long swing jump: This one is already a classic playground favorite—who can jump the farthest off the swing?
  5. Playground ping-pong: Teams of two volley a ping-pong ball across various pieces of playground equipment, like slides, swingsets, monkey bars, and jungle gyms. The team who can keep the ball going the longest wins. Particularly recommended for teens and tweens!

Find an Olympic Fun Day near you, or organize your own at What are your ideas for Olympic playground games? Please share in the Comments section below!

Photo by Wayne Silver (cc).

How many kids see "no running" signs at swimming pools and suddenly feel compelled to run?

We all know that kids don't like being bound by a rigid set of rules, prefering instead to bend or outright defy them. T-ball or pee-wee soccer can be a painful spectacle to watch, largely because the players don't understand why they can't run to another base whenever they feel like it, or why they can't pick up the soccer ball and throw it.

For kids, the best part of learning the rules to a new game is figuring out how to creatively adapt them. How many of you played "customized" versions of Red Rover or Capture the Flag? Or how many of you invented your own games from scratch, creating and revising the rules as you played?

In honor of National Backyard Games week, share with us a game you invented growing up in the "Comments" section below.

We'll feature our three favorite games on our blog and send the inventors a free copy of our new Go Out and Play! book, a collection of great outdoor games.


Yet again, bureaucrats are trying to regulate the fun right out of childhood. In New York, the State Department of Health recently went public with a list of classic games that pose a “significant risk of injury,” including wiffleball, red rover, dodgeball, kickball, freeze tag, capture the flag, and tetherball—in short, any active outdoor game that kids actually enjoy playing.

Under the new regulations, a summer program that allows children to play these deadly games would classify as a “camp” and subjected to state regulation. This means smaller programs would be forced to pay $200 to register as a camp and pay for additional medical staff.

Luckily, Play Hero Patty Ritchie, a New York State Senator, has stepped in to advocate for some good old-fashioned common sense. Worried that the new list of “risky” activities would cripple local summer youth programs, she told TIME, “having kids sitting in the corner instead of outside playing isn’t the point of a quality summer camp anyway.” She has asked the Health Department to rethink the guidelines—and miraculously, they are doing just that.

Public comment on the issue is still open until May. Please join us to support our children’s right to play kickball, and perhaps, in the process, to scrape up their knees. Sign our online petition to tell New York Health Department Public Affairs Director Claudia Hutton to allow summer youth programs to share the joy of red rover without the red tape. 

It looks like an innocent game of kickball. But really, it's an injury just waiting to happen...

Planning your 2010 Play Day? Every week, we release new and exciting activity cards, which provide twists on classic outdoor games, ideas for playground improvement projects, and other inspiration. Once you register your Play Day on our site, you can access these gorgeous downloadable, printable cards for hours of old-fashioned fun. Here’s a tantalizing preview:


- Draw a large spiral on the ground using chalk.
- Split the spiral into squares so the children can hop from one to the next.  
- There can be as many squares as you like! It's also fun to add antennae and legs to make it look more like a snail.
- Each player should take a pebble and toss it onto the snail to mark the squares that players will have to skip over.
- Then each player takes turns hopping through the squares toward the center of the spiral, skipping over any squares that have a pebble in them.
- If a person steps on a line, or hops onto a square that had a pebble, the person's turn ends of they lose t
- The game continues until all the fish have become seaweed!
- The last fish tagged is the first to act as seaweed for the next round.


Spotlight the importance of play by including a Play-a-Thon in your Play Day. Similar to a walk-a-thon, a Play-a-Thon is an event where kids and adults choose an activity, like playing jumprope, swinging on the swings, or playing on the seesaw, and try to keep playing for as long as possible!

You can also turn your Play-a-Thon into a fundraiser by having participants pledge to jumprope, swing, or seesaw for a set amount of time in exchange for donations they collect from friends and family willing to sponsor their time.


Directional Post 

An improvement project idea from the Knight Foundation.

A directional post is a great way to put your playground on the map and teach kids how far away their neighborhood playground is from famous places. It's also a quick and easy project to bring color to your playground. 

 Play Day button

Related posts:

The KaBOOM! Play Day program is presented by Mott’s and made possible by the ongoing philanthropic support of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, as well as NFL PLAY 60. Operational support for the KaBOOM! Play Day program provided by National Environmental Education Foundation, Boys and Girls Clubs of America, and Marine Corps Community Services. Together with KaBOOM!, these organizations are working together to sign up thousands of communities to host events that support the importance of play in children’s lives.

Lots of folks around the United States are being pelted with lousy weather today...bad enough to keep even the most intrepid of outdoorsy people inside.

But never fear - the fun doesn't have to end just because you're stuck indoors! Here are some fun games kids can play inside, courtesy of Fun and Games and Today's Parent!

One person chooses a nonsense word or sound and then tries to perform a song or nursery rhyme using only that non-sense word. Partner or other players have to guess which song or nursery rhyme it is. 

Everyone gets a prop - a random household item. Sitting in a circle, each player has to use their imagination and act out as many alternative ideas for the prop they have been given, or you can pass the same object around the circle and see what each player in turn decides to act out with it. 

Short Story
Everybody has two minutes to write down the longest sentence they can, using words of no more than three letters. This can get very silly, and words really should be correctly spelled. An even harder version is to limit words to those of three letters only.

Just Dig It
Half fill a large plastic bin with cornmeal, uncooked pasta or rice. Provide measuring cups, plastic bowls, spoons, funnels and shovels. Supervise toddlers to avoid noodles in the nose! Game over? Store the scoopers inside the bin. (Editor's note: I think it would be fun to bury some small toys in the cornmeal or uncooked pasta/rice!)

Balloon Volleyball
Try to keep a big balloon from touching the ground. 

Carnival Game
Throw some balls, beanbags or rolled-up socks into a laundry hamper.

Puppet Show
Don't have puppets? Make some with popsicle sticks, glue and paper...paper bags...or socks!

Blanket Fort
Remember the bliss of hunkering down inside your own domain of blankets and sheets? Let your kids go to town with all the extra linens and pillows you can find. 

Got more ideas? Post them in the comments!


Hopscotch was just named the top playground game ever by 3,000 adults in the United Kingdom. What do you think? Cast your vote for the best playground game ever in the comments!

Hopscotch named top playground game ever
Feb. 11, 2009

Hopscotch has been named the greatest playground game of all, by people who are too old to play it.

The simple game - in which players hop between chalk squares - was voted top in a poll of over 3,000 UK adults.

Read the full article here.

Allstate, in partnership with the U.S. Olympic Committee, is building the first Allstate Little Hands U.S. Olympic Playground at Jesse Owens Park on Chicago's South Side.

At, children can create and submit their ideas to help inspire the playground's actual design.

The contest is open to children 6-12 years old living in Illinois, Wisconsin or Indiana. Three winners will be chosen, one from each age range: 6-8, 9-10, 11-12. Each winner will receive a $250 Visa gift card, a $500 savings bond and $1,000 in sporting equipment for their school courtesy of Allstate.

The top three designs will be presented to the Chicago Park District and could inspire the actual design of the playground which is expected to be built in summer 2009 at Jesse Owens Park.

The contest ends Jan. 31, 2009 and winners will be announced in March 2009.

The PlayGround Blog features some cool playground games today to challenge your kids' imaginations!

"The good news for parents is that public playgrounds are free, and they offer hours of outdoor fun especially when you get creative. Suggested below are two types of playground games. Not only are these fun, they also push your kids to think out of the box!" the author says.

Find out what the two games are!