Keep your kids occupied, entertained, and exercised with these fun outdoor games!
There are so many good benefits to all of the outdoor games below. They’re fun, they promote physical exercise, they get your kids thinking and working in a group, and most of them require little to no equipment!
Needless to say, your kids will be smiling and sleeping well at the end of the day after playing any one of these outside games!
1. Hide and Seek
Hide and seek is a classic!! Never gets old. For the best games, you’ll want at least 3 players, but it can work with two if needed. You’ll also need to pick a good play area (for example, your backyard), so everyone knows where and where not to hide.
To play, pick one person to be the seeker, and the other players will hide. Have the seeker count down from 60 to give players a chance to hide, and then search! The first player found is the next seeker. Super simple and so much fun.
Tag is another classic and it’s perfect for outside play. All you need are 2 or more players and a place to play. One person starts as “it” and has to tag another player to pass it on.
If you have more than two players, you can do rounds of tag. When one person is tagged, they’re out for the round.
Some variations: Water tag (with a water gun or sprayer), team tag, hide and seek tag, and more.
3. Jump Rope
Whether you’re on your own or you have a group, there are a lot of different games you can play with jump ropes. Try seeing who can go the fastest, do double dutch if you have a double dutch rope, or try one of these other jump rope games.
What’s really awesome about jumping rope is not only is it fun, but it’s also a great exercise and coordination builder!
4. Duck, Duck, Goose
Duck, Duck, Goose is great if you have a lot of players as it really adds to the fun.
To play, have everyone sit in a circle, and then choose one person to be “it”. That person then goes around the circle, tapping everyone on the head while saying “duck, duck, duck,” until choosing a “goose.” The goose must then chase the “it” around the circle, while they run in an attempt to sit in the goose’s empty spot without getting tagged. If they make it, the goose is the new “it”. If they get tagged, they remain it.
5. Pool Noodle Obstacle Course
Yes! You can create your very own mini obstacle course in your backyard with just pool noodles and tape. This one is great for physical exercise and coordination, and it’s fun! It’s awesome to see the ideas kids have for their very own courses too.
Want to see more ideas like this? Check out all our pool noodle game ideas!
6. Cops and Robbers
Cops and robbers is sort of like a twist on team tag. To play, gather the kids outside and split them into two groups: the cops and the robbers. Then, pick an item for the cops to defend, and decide on a “jail” area (like around a tree).
To win the game, the robbers must steal the item from the cops without getting tagged. If they get tagged, they get sent to jail. Once every robber is in jail, the cops win.
Find game variations here.
7. Kick the Can
Kick the can is an oldie but goodie! It’s a bit of a spin-off of cops and robbers and tag.
To start, gather at least 3 players and a can, and declare one player as “it.” Place the can in an open area, and decide on a “jail” area (like a porch).
Now, just like tag, whoever is ‘it’ counts to a certain number while the other players hide. The ‘it’ player must find and tag the other players, sending them to jail, without letting anyone kick the can. If the can is kicked, the jailed players are freed. Once everyone is jailed, the first person who was tagged becomes the new ‘it’.
There are a few variations to this game, so check those out here.
8. Hill Rolling
This is about as simple as it gets when it comes to outdoor games, but that doesn’t mean it’s not fun! All you have to do is find a big hill and roll down it! If you want to make it more like a game, try to race your friends down the hill.
9. Scavenger Hunt
Here’s a good group game you can play outside. As a parent, you can hide clues and a secret treasure around the backyard, and then have the kids solve the clues to find the treasure.
10. Tug of War
You’ll need at least two players for this and a good tug of war rope. This one is definitely a test of strength though, so try to make the match-ups fair!
For example, if you have a lot of young kids and a couple of older kids, put them against each other to see who will win!
This game is best played on a playground with a jungle gym, and it’s a lot of fun. You’ll ideally want at least 3 players to play.
To start, choose one player to be “it.” They’ll stay on the ground off the jungle gym and keep their eyes closed. They then must walk around (being careful not to run into anything), and try to listen to the players on the jungle gym to tag them. If they hear a player on the ground and shout “grounders!” whoever was off the jungle gym is automatically ‘it’.
Badminton is fun because it can be played with just two players, and you don’t even really need a net. You can just hit the birdy between each other to go for long rallies.
If you don’t already have the supplies, you can find really affordable badminton sets on Amazon.
13. Hop Scotch
Hopscotch is another schoolyard classic! If you want to play it on your street, try using our ice chalk to draw your own court.
Once you have the court drawn, you can either just hop the squares for fun (staying on one foot in single squares), or you can play the more advanced game:
- First, give the starting player a marker, like a stone, coin, or beanbag
- The player then must throw the marker into the first hopscotch square
- Skipping the square with the marker, the player hops to the second square and all the way to the end
- At the end, the player turns around and hops back, picking up the marker along the way
- The next player does the same thing until everyone has gone
- When the first player goes again, they must throw the marker into the 2nd square, and so on.
If a player either throws the marker into the wrong square, touches a line, or loses their balance, they are out of the game. Last player in wins!
14. Rock Skipping
If you live near a body of water with rocks around it, skipping rocks is one of the most fun ways to pass time. And finding that perfect skipping rock along the way is an amazing feeling!
To make it fun between multiple people, see who can get the most skips. Or, see who can skip their rock the furthest.
15. Simon Says
Simon Says is one of the most popular outdoor games for kids as it requires zero equipment and can technically be played with as little as two people. It’s more fun with a big group though!
To play, one person starts as Simon and yells out commands to the other players. Any commands starting with “Simon says…” must be followed, or you’re out. And if a player follows a command that didn’t start with “Simon says” they’re also out.
16. Blow Bubbles
Blowing bubbles on its own isn’t really a game, but there are ways to make it one! Try blowing a bunch of bubbles and seeing who can pop the most! Or, try blowing a bubble and catching it in your hand without it popping.
17. Silent Ball
If you’re a parent who’s craving a bit of silence, set your kids up with a game of silent ball! All you need to start is a ball and at least two players.
Here’s how the game works: Players must pass the ball around without making noise. If a player drops the ball, makes a bad pass, or makes noise, they’re out. Last player standing wins!
18. Marco Polo
Marco polo is normally played in a pool but it can be played on land too. Both versions are fun!
To start, one player is “it” and blindfolded (or just closes their eyes), while the other players scatter around the playing field. Whenever the ‘it’ person shouts “Marco!” the other players must respond with “Polo!”. Whoever gets tagged first is the next to be ‘it’.
19. Jump the Sprinkler
This is another simple one and a great way to cool down in the summer. All you need is any kind of moving sprinkler! Set it up in the yard and get the kids to try and jump over it without getting wet.
20. Piggy in the Middle
You’ll need at least 3 players for this one and some sort of passable object (a football, soccer ball, frisbee, etc.). With one “piggy” in the middle, the other players must try to pass the object without it being intercepted. If the piggy intercepts the object, the person who passed it is the new piggy in the middle.
21. Touch Football
If you have at least four kids you can form a fun game of touch football! Split the players into teams and set up a mini playing field in your backyard, or at a park. If a player running with the ball is tagged with both hands, that counts as a tackle.
Just passing around a frisbee in the backyard or on an open field can provide hours of fun. But, if you want to make things more interesting, try frisbee golf. Set up a marker object and see who can get the frisbee closest!
Something as simple as passing a baseball between two people is another fun way to spend some time outside. To turn it into a game, keep score by giving points for every ball caught. Try to catch as many in a row as you can!
If you have a soccer ball there are plenty of different games you can play. With a big group of kids, try something simple like passing the ball around in a circle.
If you’re on your own, you can practice juggling the ball. Go for a record or for certain goals like bouncing it 10 times in a row on one foot.
25. Outdoor Games with a Basketball
There are a ton of different games you can play with a basketball and a single net, here are a couple of favorites:
This one is a lot of fun. You’ll need a net, two balls, and at least two players. To start, form a line in front of the net. When the first player takes their shot, the next player in line moves up and shoots right after.
If the first player gets their shot in, they either pass it to the next in line or go back in line and take their next shot. If the player behind scores a basket before the first player, the first player is out. Go until one player remains.
H-O-R-S-E is simple and really fun because every game is different. All you need is one ball and at least two players.
To start, one player calls out a shot they want to make (for example, a hook shot from a certain position). If they make the shot, the other player has to make the same shot. If they miss, they gain a letter H. First player to spell HORSE loses.
The fun part of this is you can get as creative as you want with your shots. Bounce the ball off the ground, shoot it backward, do a no-jump shot, have fun with it!
Dodgeball may not seem very doable at home, but you can buy awesome foam ball sets on Amazon to get started. It’s a great backyard game too!
Telephone is a funny one that can be played outside or inside. It’s best with a big group though!
To play, have everyone sit in a circle and choose a starting player. That player whispers their chosen phrase (anything they want) to the player beside them, and so on and so on. At the end, the last player reveals the phrase, and most of the time it’s much different than the starting phrase!
This game will definitely have you laughing and it’s a good one for communication and socializing.
28. Capture the Flag
If you have a big space to work with (like a forest) and a lot of kids to participate, capture the flag is an awesome choice. You don’t necessarily need actual flags either, you can use any household objects as the team flags.
Once you’ve separated into teams and determined the flag objects, have one player from each team hide the flag on their half of the playing field. Once that’s done, you can start the game. Players must capture the enemy flag without being tagged on enemy territory. If they’re tagged, they get sent back home.
Limbo is another classic and a perfect outdoor game for kids. All you need is a limbo setup (you can find some cheap ones on Amazon) and a group of flexible kids! Put some music on and have fun with it.
30. Water Pass
I’ve seen videos of this game floating around on social media and it looks hilarious. Perfect for outdoors too.
All you need to play are cups (party cups work great)! Give every player their own cup, line them up (front to back), and fill the player at the start of the lines cup with water. That player must then lift the cup of water over their head, and pour the water into the cup of the player behind them.
If you want to see how long you can keep the water going, have the players at the front of the line move to the back once they’ve poured their water.
Remember that all of the games above and the rules involved with them are not set in stone. To make things more interesting and to flex your creative muscles, try to come up with your own rules and variations of your own! As a parent, you may be surprised at the ideas kids will come up with as they brainstorm in a group.
Know of any other fun outdoor games for kids? What are your kids’ favorite games to play outside? Let us know!
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