Encourage fun and activity with the CLIF Kid Annual Backyard Game of the Year contest

We’re big fans of CLIF Kids here at Growing a Green Family. Not only does this company promote healthy snacking and organic food, but each year they encourage outdoor play and activity with many outdoor initiatives, including their amazing Backyard Games Contest.

3rd annual CLIF Kids backyard games

Backyard Games is entering its 3rd year and there’s some new cool stuff to love about the contest, including a brand new group category. This contest has an excellent goal – encourage kids to get active and outside where they belong.

Kids today are stuck inside more than ever before. Not only is this a recipe for a pretty lame childhood, but there are some serious health consequences involved, such as…

  • The use of  ADHD prescription drugs have grown to new highs, which in my opinion is directly linked to a lack of activity and outdoor time.
  • The American Academy of Pediatrics, among MANY other child health organizations, says that 60 minutes of daily unstructured, preferably outside free play is essential to children’s physical and mental health. You should note that a lot of organizations feel that 60 minutes a day is an under-estimate.

Luckily, CLIF Kids’ Backyard Game of the Year Contest is here to help. This awesome contest encourages kids ages 6-12 to invent their own outdoor, active games for a chance to win some amazing prizes.

2012 finalists celebrating the start of the Playoffs

2012 finalists celebrating the start of the Playoffs

Contest Basics

CLIF Kids’ 3rd Annual Backyard Game of the Year is a nationwide contest. Individual kids between the ages of 6-12 may enter on their own and this year there’s a brand new group category too. The group category encourages U.S.-based group that works with kids to submit a backyard game idea. Groups eligible to enter include entire school classrooms, sports teams, clubs, organizations, non-profits and others, but at least 2 kids between the ages of 6 and 12 years must be involved with designing the game idea to qualify. This new group category is meant to help promote teamwork and a sense of community.

Grand prize winner Abigail jumps for joy

Last year’s grand prize winner Abigail jumps for joy

Win Awesome Prizes!

Five individual kids will be chosen to present their games in July in lovely San Diego at the 2013 CLIF Kid Backyard Game of the Year Playoffs. The individual finalists will present their games to the public and this year’s special judges Stacy Tornio and Ken Keffer, co-authors of The Kids’ Outdoor Adventure Book: 448 Great Things to Do in Nature Before You Grow Up, a book that looks amazing by the way. There will also be a special celebrity judge (to be announced soon).

The individual grand prize winner will receive a $10,000 scholarship and the four runners-up will each win a $1,000 scholarship. All five kids will also receive a bike from Specialized Bicycles and a Bell helmet. Select group category finalists will win a trip to San Diego to showcase their games at the 2013 CLIF Kid Backyard Game of the Year Playoffs and get the chance to win a $15,000 donation to the non-profit of their choice. Additionally, CLIF Kid will donate $2,000 to a non-profit chosen by each of the two runners-up.

Finalist Abigail teaching kids how to play her winning game

Finalist Abigail teaching kids how to play her winning game

Get Some Game Ideas…

Your child can get help thinking up game ideas by checking out last year’s winning game: North Pole South Pole (shown below) or by taking a look at previous year’s winners at the contest website.

The 2012 grand prize winner was 7-year-old Abigail from Albany, Oregon (go Oregon kids!). Abigail invented a fun game called North Pole South Pole in which all the players get to pretend to be racing penguins.

Gather: 4 Hula hoops, 2 potato sacks or pillowcases, 50 to 100 water balloons (depending on how many kids are playing). Each team should have at least two kids, but as many more kids as you like can be on each team.

How to play: Place two hula hoops at one end of the yard, about five feet apart to act as home bases for the North Pole and South Pole teams. On the other side of the yard, place the other two hula hoops to act as the “fishing holes” for each team. Place 25 to 50 water balloons in each fishing hole. Give each team a pillowcase and start the game. The object, as soon as someone shouts, “Go!” is that one team member from each team steps into his or her pillowcase and hops as fast as possible to the team fishing hole. Once there, the team member should gather up as many fish as she can, without letting the pillowcase fall to the ground. Then the team member needs to hop quickly back to her home base without letting her fish, or the pillowcase, fall. Once home, the team member places all their fish in the home base circle. Then the first Penguin team member gives the pillowcase to the second Penguin, who sets off for the fishing hole. The game ends when one team empties their fishing hole and all their team members are at home base. The team that wins is the one with the most fish in their home base at the end of the game. Download full game instructions (pdf).

Finalist Dhani challenges Jonny Moseley to a push-up contest

Finalist Dhani challenges Jonny Moseley to a push-up contest

Enter Today!

Backyard game ideas can be submitted today through June 17, 2013 at CLIF Kid Backyard Game’s website.

Three group finalists will be announced on the CLIF Kid Facebook page in late June, where the public will have a chance to vote with “Likes” for their favorite game idea. CLIF Kid will send group grand prize winner representatives to San Diego in July to present their game at the Playoffs. Following the Playoffs, CLIF Kid will post the rules from all finalist games online. And in recognition of their efforts to reconnect kids with nature, Children & Nature Network will receive a donation for the third year in a row, to support their continued work with a national network of educators, researchers and community leaders. See all the official entry rules here.

All images courtsey of CLIF Kids

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