Like bocce ball and croquet, horseshoes is a classic lawn game that's a perfect family activity for a lazy summer afternoon. Instead of staying in to watch TV or play video games, get your kids outside to enjoy the warmth and sun by hosting a few riotous rounds. Don't worry about buying a set at the store; with a bit of cardboard and a handful of pennies, you can easily create a set of your own. So whip up a batch of lemonade, put on the sunscreen, and get pitching!
What You Do:
- Help your child cut two 4" squares out of the cardboard.
- Tape one cardboard square to the bottom of each paper towel tube. These will be your horseshoe stakes.
- Now create the horseshoes. Ask your child to draw a thick U-shaped horseshoe on the cardboard with the pencil. Make sure each leg of the horseshoe is slightly wider than a penny and the space in the middle is wide enough to fit around the paper towel tube. Cut it out.
- Use the first horseshoe as a template to make the rest of the horseshoes. Trace the horseshoe onto the cardboard and cut it out. Make at least 8 horseshoes.
- Once all the horseshoes are cut out, give them a little weight by taping a line of pennies, spaced 1-2" apart from each other, onto each one.
- Now set up the game. Find a large, flat area to use as your playing field. Horseshoes is traditionally played outdoors, but you can play inside, too.
- Arrange the stakes on the playing field, leaving at least eight to ten steps between each one.
- Start the game! Ask your child to stand next to one of the stakes while you position yourself next to the other. Keep four horseshoes, and give him the other four.
- Have him go first. Encourage him to toss his horseshoes and try to get them to hook around the far stake. He earns one point for every horseshoe he gets on the stake.
- Once he tosses all his horseshoes, it's your turn. Toss your horseshoes at the stake next to your child and add up your points.
- Play several rounds and then total your points to see who wins!
Did You Know? According to the National Horseshoe Pitchers Association (NHPA) website, horseshoe pitching is one of the few sports that has a national champion for men, women, boys, and girls. An estimated 15 million enthusiasts enjoy pitching horseshoes in the United States and Canada, in tournaments, leagues, recreation areas, and backyards.