Nowadays, it’s hard to convince kids to go outside and play. They all prefer to play indoors on their smartphones or their computers, which is quite sad if you think about it.
Kids shouldn’t sit around; they should run outside and play to their heart’s content. That’s why I’ve put together this list of my favorite childhood outdoor games.
You’ll find things to suit both the younger and the older kids, so take a good look, and give your children the best summer of their life.
1. Capture the Flag
If you’ve got a large group of kids, say at a birthday party or a family gathering, then “capture the flag” will be the absolute best way to keep them entertained throughout the day.
Basically, you divide the kids into two teams, each with its own flag and home base. Then, both teams will attempt to steal the flag from the other team’s territory and return it to their respective home bases. The winner will be the one with the two flags, so that means that each team must also work to protect its own flag.
The kids will have so much fun running and tapping out their opponents as they’re looking for the hidden flag. And, if you want to make this classic outdoor game even more upscale, try using water balloons as a way for the kids to take their opponents out of the game.
2. Jump Rope Games
There’s a reason why jump ropes never go out of style. Truly, you can play with a jump rope in so many ways, and I’ll show you just how many.
If you’ve got a group of kids, then they can play Double Dutch, where two players swing two ropes in opposite directions, and the other children jump between them.
Jump Rope Copycat
This is where one kid makes a jump in a specific way, another kid imitates that jump, then follows up with a new one, and then the next person keeps the pattern going.
Chinese Jump Rope
Here, the kids jump on and between a stretchy kind of rope, according to a little song having the instructions.
I could go on, but you get the idea. Get your kid a jump rope this summer, and he’ll have an absolute blast.
3. Red Light, Green Light
Another fun outdoor game that recently gained a boost in popularity is “Red Light, Green Light.” This is a fast-paced game that both older and younger kids will enjoy.
It works as such; one child is selected to be the “Traffic/Stop Light” and stands with his back to the others. All the other kids will stand at the start line and start moving towards the “Traffic Light” once he yells “Green Light.”
However, once he yells out “Red Light, “all the players must freeze in their place, even if they’re standing on one foot. If they’re caught moving, they have to go back to the start line. The first person to tag the “Traffic Light” will win and gets the chance to choose the next “Traffic Light.”
4. The Grass Is Lava
Remember “The Floor Is Lava”? Well, this is the outdoor version of it, and man, this is such a fun outdoor activity!!!
Just lay some blankets, towels, yoga mats, and other suitable items at the local park, set a start point and an endpoint, and watch the kids play for hours on end. And, if at any time the weather doesn’t allow for outdoor activities, the kids will have just as much fun playing indoors.
5. Hide-and-Seek Games
When people think of classic outdoor games for kids, hide-and-seek is probably the first thing that pops into their mind, and that’s for a reason.
You just can’t beat a good game of hide-and-seek, and playing it outdoors makes it even more awesome. So, here are a few hide-and-seek variants that will keep all your kids entertained.
With some flashlights and a little supervision from the parents, children will love playing hide-and-seek-in-the-dark. The dark will add an exciting element to this classic game, and the whole family will have so much fun playing it.
This is the reverse of the traditional game. Here, only one person hides, and the other players look for him. When the hidden player is discovered by someone, they must both keep hiding in the same place, and the last player to find the hidden group will be the loser.
Ghost in the Graveyard
In this version, the “ghost” hides while everyone else counts. The kids will then run through the backyard, trying to get to the designated home base before the ghost tags them and makes them a ghost. If all the kids avoid getting tagged, then the last person to safety will become the new ghost.
6. Scavenger Hunt
A Scavenger hunt is a great game to encourage independent outdoor play. On your part, all you need to do is hide some objects in your yard and give the kids a treasure map to follow. You can even make a list of things in nature for the kids to collect, like leaves or rocks, and it’ll be just as fun.
7. Ball Games
Got some balls lying around? Then, here’s a list of fun outdoor games you can play with balls at any time of the day.
Get five ping pong balls and number some cups from 1 to 5. Then, one ping pong ball after the other, the kids will try to land the balls into the cups. The higher the number, the bigger their score will be, and the child with the most points wins.
Dodgeball is one of the best when it comes to sporty outdoor games. Get a soft ball, like a soccer ball or a beach ball, then divide the kids into two teams and place them on opposite sides of the starting line.
Once the game starts, the kids will rush to grab the balls at the starting line, and then it’s a matter of eliminating the opposing team member by hitting him with the ball. The last kid standing will bring the victory to his team.
For Kickball, make a DIY baseball diamond in your own backyard and divide the kids into two teams, each with its own kicker. The pitcher will then roll the ball underhand, and the “batter” will try to kick it.
To play Horse, you’ll need to head to your local basketball court. If that’s not an option, a bucket or a hula hoop will work just fine.
The kids will then take turns tossing their balls into the hoop, and with each successful shot, they gain a letter from the word “Horse.” The first person to get all five letters will come out victorious.
8. Musical Chairs
Musical Chairs is one of those outdoor party games that are always popular with the kids.
Place some chairs in a circle, and the kids should outnumber the chairs by one. Then, play music, and the kids will start to move around the chairs. Once the music stops, the kids will sit down, and the one without the chair will be out. Keep playing till you have your winner.
If you want an easy outdoor game, then Hopscotch should be your go-to. Not only can it be played solo or in a group, but it’s also so simple to arrange.
Just get some sidewalk chalk and draw the Hopscotch grid. Then, toss a bean bag onto the grid. The square with the bean bag should be the one you avoid jumping on when making your way to the end and back.
10. Obstacle Course
Create obstacles and hurdles in your yard, then have your kids compete to see who can clear the course the fastest.
Use anything you have lying around, like chairs, hula hoops, boxes, or even some string. And if you really want to make it a fun game, fill an inflatable swimming pool with sand or mud and have the kids dig out a certain item so that the game ends.
11. Tug of War
Tug of War is another absolute favorite of the many backyard games I know. This game requires a long rope with a bandana tied to its middle, and the children play by standing on opposite sides and pulling the rope. The team that pulls the bandana, or the other team, over its line will become the winner.
12. Kick the Can
In Kick the Can, you need at least four children to make it really fun. Basically, it’s a battle between the child guarding the can and the others who are trying to kick it.
The guard tries to tag players before they reach the can, and if he succeeds in tagging all of them, he wins. Otherwise, the first person to kick the can will win the round.
Children should run and play in order to be happy and healthy. Whether they achieve that by going bike riding, playing a sport, or playing simple outdoor games for kids is up to them.
Therefore, I’ve made sure to list the best outdoor games I know, so have your kids try them out and see what becomes their favorite.