Kick the Can – Backyard Version

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Recently, my mom told my kids about playing “Kick the Can” as a child – how the neighborhood kids gathered at dusk in the street. One child guarded a coffee can while the others hid in the shadows, waiting for a chance to kick the can.

But playing in the street now days is more like the Hunger Games than a special childhood summer memory. So, my husband, Jeff, modified Kick the Can for the backyard during the day. We think you’ll want to play it, too.

NEW Kick the Can

1. One person guards the can — we put it in a hula hoop to mark the territory.

2. The other players try to kick the can out of the hula hoop area.

3. If the guarder tags you, you are it – you must guard the can.

4. If you kick the can without getting tagged, you win that round. Pat yourself on the back.

It’s just a great way to move, laugh, and spend time with dad. Plus, movement matters for the brain!

Do you play outside family games? Any favorites?

How about a Backyard Obstacle Course?

Download a free printable of active summer activities for kids.

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  1. My Dad always mentioned playing kick the can as a kid but never really explained how to play. This sounds like so much fun. My nephews come visit a lot and this would be a great game to teach them and my girls the next time they are over. I can’t wait to try it. Thank you for explaining it.

  2. I played so many backyard games as a kid, this being one of them! I find that kids don’t really know very many games anymore and it is so cool you are writing about them, and keeping the traditions ALIVE! Also I remember S.P.U.D. that was my all time favorite!

  3. I always wondered how Kick the Can worked. I read about it from those old fashioned books but we never played this as kids.

    We are playing this game at home: soccer tennis. There are two versions. My version as the mommy wearing sandals is I guard the tiny soccer net using an old kid tennis racquet while my kids try to score on me. If they use a volleyball, it’s softer so easier for the tennis racquet holder to defend against. It’s fun.

    They also play soccer tennis at soccer camp. Set up a tennis net or use a volleyball net but tennis height high. Use your soccer skills to kick the ball over the net. One bounce per side. You can use your feet, legs, chest, head (anything that goes in soccer but no hands or arms). You can also play without a net if you make a chalk line like for a 2 square court.