With school out and summer vacations here, is there a more enticing offer than playing on the lawn? Tag, Toss & Run: 40 Classic Lawn Games (Storey, $14.95) offers a variety of options. There are how-tos for such well-known games as kick the can, flag football and badminton, and games that may be less familiar, such as crab soccer and molkky, a Finnish game where players try to knock down pins.
City folks arent ignored either. The book features five games for the pavement, including hopscotch, tic-tac-toss and stoopball.
Paul Tukey, who co-wrote Tag, Toss & Run with Victoria Rowell, said the book aims to get families outside. Playing indoors some parents have asked him for a book of such games wont do.
I find that such a tragedy. Indoors is just not the same, he said. Outdoor games offer many teachable moments, including an appreciation of nature, he added.
Of course, yard games arent just for kids. Grown-ups young singles, active retirees, anyone can use play to break the social ice, or give guests something to do besides nibble and sip.
Tukey has been busy teaching and playing lawn games across the country with people of all generations. Of all the games one can play, he said follow the leader is perhaps the most universally doable. Anyone can play it anywhere and no special equipment is needed.
There doesnt even have to be a winner unless you choose to play a variation of the game, some of which are described in the book.
And theyre getting exercise without even realizing it, Tukey said. Kids dont want to work out, they dont want to exercise. Lets go play outside and they forget theyre exercising.
HOW TO BE A SPORT
Sportsmanship counts, whether one is captaining a yacht, playing halfback on the high school soccer team or playing capture the flag in the backyard.
At the bottom of it, its all about relationships, said Peter Post, a director of the Emily Post Institute, a family business promoting etiquette based in Burlington, Vt.
Sportsmanship builds relationships with your competitors, sportsmanship is one way to interact with people and have a good time. If you are a poor sport, you may not get invited back.
Post includes a chapter on sportsmanship in the new edition of his book, Essential Manners for Men: What to Do, When to Do It, and Why.
He said theres nothing wrong with competition and wanting to win but that doesnt mean putting down the other players or being rude. Its like the difference between cheering or jeering in the stands, he said.
Ironically, all that technology we rely on so much in our lives may intrude even on the lawn. Post said the electronic wall that can envelope one when using various social media applications can lead us to say and do things we wouldnt do in person. That could possibly lead to a slip out in the yard.
Emulate the behavior you would expect from others, Post said. If someone else is putting down a player doesnt mean you need to. Maybe you will be able to compliment the player.
FROM TAG, TOSS & RUN:
What game? Follow the Leader
Premise: Players follow the actions of the designated leader, no matter how silly.
Playing area: Flat surface free of tripping hazards because players will have their eyes focused on the leader rather than the ground.
Equipment: Active imagination
Ages: 4 and up
Players: 3 or more
Why play? The game teaches attention skills and expands horizons for children and creates social breakthroughs and bonds for adults; mostly, however, it just seems to make people laugh, Tukey and Rowell write.
What to do: Its all up to the leader. If he or she flails hands wildly, then everyone else in line follows suit. If the leader squeals like a pig, the rest of the group is obliged to do likewise. The possibilities are endless.