Green Gym Day photo by Kathleen O'Reilly

I want to see every day be Green Gym Day!

The official Green Gym Day is just around the corner–the second Sunday of June. It’s easy enough to come up with ideas about what to do for any one day, whether you’re an adult or a child. But the official Green Gym Day is just the beginning, and I hope you’ll be inspired and motivated to make every day green gym day – and that means having a stash of ideas.

On our website for Green Gym Day, we say that “anything goes”–a walk or jog in the park on your own, with friends, family, or a group in your life, say, folks you know from work, or church, or a play group… you get the idea. Adding a bit of Nancercizing will definitely spice up a simple walk or jog, and is more fun with a buddy or two. You could also check on your Parks Department website to see what’s happening that day, and join in.

a park in the Netherlands

Children playing on a sculpture in a park in the Netherlands.

But if you prefer to “do-it-yourself,” here are some suggestions as to how to spend the day. I’ve written about this in a previous blog post too.

For example, here’s what I’ve arranged for Fort Tryon Park, in NYC, with the help of the NYC Parks Department and the Fort Tryon Park Trust:

• 9:15 a.m. – 9:45 a.m. Nancercize class with Nancy Bruning
• 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. Yoga class, on Abby’s Lawn with Jennifer Agert (bring a mat or towel)
• 11:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. Tai Chi, on Linden Terrace with Robert Martinez
• 12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. Zombie Tag on Cloister Lawn with Julia Attaway and helpers
• 11:00 a.m – 2:00 p.m. Ping pong, Free paddles and balls from Fort Tryon Park Trust on the Subway Terrace of the park.
• 2:00 p.m. – 2:45 p.m. Bring your own picnic.
• 3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Flamenco Dance performance and lesson, Linden Terrace.

In addition, the intern on the project, Ariel Hidalgo, will be leading a group run along the mighty Hudson River Greenway, up to Fort Tryon Park!

The list of outdoor activities is limitless. So are the games specifically geared towards kids—but we hope you realize that many of these games can be played in local parks by a group of fully-grown adults, too. We hope Green Gym Day brings out the kid in everyone!

Let Green Gym Day bring out the kid in you.

Let Green Gym Day bring out the kid in you.

Kate Hill, my UK Green Gym Day partner and founder of FunMeFit suggests these British-flavored Family-Friendly Fun Games.

• British Bulldog – A fun tag-like game usually played in a large group on a field. One person normally becomes the ‘Bulldog’ and the other players line up and try to run from one side of the playing area to the other without getting tagged.
• Tiggy Lamposts – This game is played outside in a defined space depending on the number of players. A tig-like game where one person is ‘on’ and has to chase everyone else around. Upon ‘tigging’ other players, those players stand still with their arms stretched and their legs wide (like a lamppost) open enough so that the other players can attempt to crawl underneath their legs freeing them.
• Hide and Seek – Two teams of as little as 1 player on each team. One team goes to hide somewhere and the other team tries to find them.
• Football/Soccer Kick-About/Kickball – Depending on number of players, you can either form two teams and create make-shift goal posts and play a game of almost normal football or you can stand in a circle and kick the ball to each other.
• Flashlight Tag – Similar to Hide and Seek but played in the dark with flashlights/torches!
• Capture the flag/40-40 Tag – Players are split into two teams. Both teams have a flag and a designated camp area and they have to try to protect their flag. Each team tries to capture the other teams flag by sneaking up to it as best they can!

The National Wildlife Federation. The National Wildlife Federation website has age-appropriate tips for babies from birth to 12 months, and points out that you can “Make time for short walks with your baby in a stroller or a carrier. Even ten minutes can be beneficial!”

Teampedia has a slew of activities, emphasizing team building.

Nancercizing spices up a walk in the park

Nancercizing spices up a walk in the park.

Wilderdom: a project in natural living & transformation
has a huge array of ideas on its web site.
Here are just a few to get you started:

Name Pantomime.

Each person chooses an action-word to go with their name (e.g., “Swimming Sam”), then shows the action to the group who repeat it. Whole-body way to introduce oneself & learn people’s names.

Stand on 1 Leg Competition.

Ask everyone to stand on one leg. This is an excellent assessment of ankle strength, balance, and psychological centredness. Ask who can be the last one left standing? Consider non-contact (more meditative) or contact versions (e.g., hopping warfare). Swap legs and try again.

Mirror Image

Involves people in pairs, with one person mirroring the actions of the other.

Games Kids Play, on the wilderdom web site, describes 400+ classic kids games. One of my favorite: In this game, one person plays the “stop light” and the rest try to touch him/her.

At the start, all the children form a line about 15 feet away from the stop light.

The stop light faces away from the line of kids and says “green light”. At this point the kids are allowed to move towards the stoplight.

At any point, the stop light may say “red light!” and turn around. If any of the kids are caught moving after this has occurred, they are out.

Play resumes when the stop light turns back around and says “green light”.

The stop light wins if all the kids are out before anyone is able to touch him/her.

Otherwise, the first player to touch the stop light wins the game and earns the right to be “stop light” for the next game.

Jump Rope Games include:

A my name is ALICE, my husband’s name is AL, we live in ALABAMA and we bring back APPLES.

B my name is BETTY, my husband’s name is BEN, we live in BERMUDA and we bring back BUGS.

C my name is CAROL, my husband’s name is CARL, we live in COLORADO and we bring back CRABS.

It just goes on like that through the alphabet.

If you’ve got a hankerin’ for Zombie Tag, here’s One Way to Play.
Pick a group of kids who start out as zombies. Pick a little under a quarter of the kids to start. These kids will be the zombies and they chase after the players “zombie-style.” staggering with their arms out in front of her and groaning like the undead. They have the power to zombify the other players by tagging them. The only rule is that zombies are only allowed to walk for most of the time. The other students are allowed to run to avoid them. The leader then periodically yells a word that signifies that the zombies may run, until they are told to stop and begin walking again. You could say something like “BRAINS” but “RUN” and “STOP” will work too. When a player is tagged, that kid is now a zombie. The game ends when everyone has become a zombie.

Tag. Here are the rules for a slew of tag games, including Freeze Tag, Tornado Tag, Hide and Seek Tag, and Time Warp Tag.

So, how will you be making every day Green Gym Day?

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