Grit Games in the Shade

Summer weather has been taking its toll.  If you live where I do, we have been melting in triple digit heat.  That is why almost every house here has to have a pool.  We spent nearly every waking hour in the pool last week which was fun but quite tiresome.  The blazing weather isn’t letting up as it’s continuing this week.  I have tried a few indoor games as the AC is cranking today just to break the monotony of never ending pool play.  Some worked out really well and coincidentally promoted the characteristics of grit.  I have shared some great grit inspired indoor activities in past blog posts like chess and building a card house.  Those still work really well.  But I looked up a few to try out and these are some favorites.

Marble Relays

This is a game combines speed and balance as well as precision.  It requires4 or more players so parents can join in or siblings of all ages.  The materials are simple:  cardboard tubes, such as paper towel or wrapping paper tubes, scissors and a marble.

Here’s how to play:

  1. To get started: Cut the cardboard tubes into equal-length troughs, one for each player (ours were approximately 1 foot long). Have players line up 2 to 3 feet apart.
  1. To play: The first person in line sets the marble on one end of his trough, then, without touching the marble, rolls it the length of her tube and into the next player’s (it’s okay if troughs touch). That player passes the marble to the next, and so on. As each player passes the marble, he moves to the end of the line, eventually catching the marble again and passing it on. If someone drops the marble, she’s out and the marble goes back to the beginning of the line. Whoever’s left is the winner.
  2. Our testers’ twist: For larger groups, divide the players into 2 teams. Give each team a marble and have them race to pass it around the group 3 times. If a team drops their marble, they must start all over again.


Psychic Scavenger Hunt

This variation of the classic party game has a fun twist: competitors have to guess which items they’re supposed to find.  It’s a great game that reinforces persistence and patience.  The materials are simple.  All you need are 5-10 objects that can easily be found in a room (bowl, brush, bottle, etc.).

Here’s how to play:

  1. One player writes out a secret list of 5 to 10 objects that can easily be found in a room, such as a bowl, a brush, and a bottle.
  2. He then announces the number of objects he’s looking for, and the other family members have one minute to gather that same number of items.
  3. If anyone brings an object that’s on the list, she gets a point. And, of course, players have to put their items away before the next round. Try varying the game by limiting the objects to things that begin with the same letter or are a certain shape.


Pulling together

This is a great building game that promotes creativity and teamwork.  The materials you need are: 1 large ponytail holder, 12-inch lengths of string or yarn (one per player)and small cans or boxes.

Here’s how to play:

  1. To make your lasso, tie 12-inch lengths of string or yarn, one per player, to a single large ponytail holder.
  2. Players sit in a circle, each holding their string taut, then work together to stretch the holder so that it encircles a small can or box. They then lift the object and stack it on top of another, trying to create the highest tower they can. Our testers liked stacking cat food cans, small boxes, and even stuffed animals — nothing too heavy!


Making Butter

Another great game particularly for preschool aged kids involves whip cream and a container.  Provide your child with a small container filled half way with whipping cream. Have them put the lid on and shake the container until it turns to butter. Reinforce that this is a task that takes some time to complete, but the outcome provides butter that they will be able to spread on bread to eat.


Frozen Coins

For older kids this activity kept my son busy for awhile.  I call it frozen coins.  Give your child an ice cube with a penny frozen inside. The goal is to get the penny out of the ice cube without smashing it or putting it in their mouth. Try adding color to the water too for fun visual effect.  This encourages kids to use creativity and discuss options with their peers to complete the task. There can be strategy involved as well as lots of laughter.

Try these fun grit activities while you stay cool in front of a nice fan or in nicely air conditioned room.  Happy Summer!



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