Entertaining kids can be a challenging task. We all know how that feels to have a handful of kids jumping off the walls, fighting, or just loudly playing inside. Thankfully the great outdoors is always there! Fun outdoor games can be a lifesaver in such situations. Whether it’s a summer gathering or a birthday party, these games not only keep your kids entertained but also help them burn energy and exercise. The best part is that you can enjoy them in just about any outdoor space. Outdoor games have been a great help on countless occasions!
Why Outdoor Games are Awesome:
They help kids burn energy: Outdoor games offer an excellent opportunity for children to be active and burn off excess energy. Running, jumping, and playing in an open space contribute to their physical well-being.
They help kids exercise: In today’s technology-driven world, it’s important to encourage children to engage in physical activities. Outdoor games provide a fun way for kids to exercise without even realizing it.
You can do it just about anywhere with some outdoor space: One of the biggest advantages of outdoor games is their flexibility. These games can be enjoyed in various outdoor settings such as backyards, parks, or even on the beach. We’ve played a lot of these outdoor games in our backyard, on the lawn of our church, and even while camping.
Components of a Fun Outdoor Game for Kids:
The best outdoor games should have the following:
Simple instructions: children should be able to understand and follow the game’s rules without much confusion.
Lots of movement: Every kid I know loves games that involve running, jumping, and physical movement. Active games keep them engaged and excited.
Ability to accommodate groups: Many outdoor games are designed for group play, allowing children to socialize and interact with their peers.
Can be kid-directed after learning the directions: Once the game’s instructions are clear, kids should be able to take the lead and play independently, fostering their independence and decision-making skills.
Doesn’t require lots of setup or take-down: I don’t know about your kids, but mine sometimes have limited patience, so it’s best to choose games that can be quickly set up and put away.
Fun Outdoor Games for Kids:
You have a group of kids just waiting for a fun outdoor game. The following games will help you get started!
Outdoor Games with No Extra Supplies Needed:
Red Light, Green Light: Have the kids line up in a straight line. They will move toward the designated “stop” line on the command “red light” and freeze when the leader says “green light.” The first person to cross the finish line wins!
Sardines: Similar to hide and seek, but once the seeker finds the hider, they join them in their hiding spot until only one player is left searching. This is one of my favorite games, because it feels a little more inclusive, and it makes me laugh to see all the kids scrunched together in one hiding spot.
Simon Says: The leader gives instructions starting with “Simon says,” and the kidsmust only follow the command if “Simon says” is mentioned. Have the kids take turns being “Simon”.
Floor is Lava: Navigate from one spot to another without touching the ground, pretending it’s made of lava. My kids play this a lot indoors, but we also love the challenge of doing it outside. You can choose a few “safe’ items like rocks or cement. You don’t technically need any extra supplies for this game, but we have this version of the game, and it does make things interesting.
Sharks and Minnows: Choose one player to be the shark. They then try to tag the minnows as they run from one side of the playing area to the other. This can also be played with basketballs or soccer balls. The minnows would just have to dribble as they run from one side to the other.
Nature Scavenger Hunt: Create a list of items found in nature, such as specific leaves, rocks, or flowers. Kids can search for these items in their surroundings and check them off the list. Grab our free list below or read more here.
Freeze Tag: One player is “it” and tries to tag the others. Once tagged, players must freeze in place until they are unfrozen by another player.
Duck Duck Goose: Have players sit in a circle. Choose one person to be “it”. That person walks around tapping others’ heads, saying “duck” until they say “goose” and the chosen goose chases them around the circle. The “goose” must run around the circle and sit in the empty spot before getting tagged by the person who is it. If they don’t, then they become it.
Red Rover: Divide out two teams and have them stand in lines facing each other. Each team will take a turn requesting a player from the other team to players try to run through their linked arms by saying, “Red Rover, Red Rover, send (name of child) over”. If the player running through the arms can’t break the link, they become part of that team.
What’s the Time, Mr. Wolf?: One player is designated as the wolf and stands with their back to the others. The players ask, “What’s the time, Mr. Wolf?” The wolf responds with a time (e.g., “It’s 3 o’clock”). Players take steps toward the wolf until the wolf unexpectedly turns around and chases them.
Outdoor Games that Need a Few Supplies:
Croquet: Set up a croquet course and have players take turns hitting their ball through the course with a mallet.
Spud: One player throws a ball in the air while others scatter. The thrower calls out a number, and the player closest to the ball becomes the thrower’s target.
Color Challenge: Assign colors to various objects in the playing area. Players have to touch the object corresponding to the color called out by the leader.
Bicycle Obstacle Course: Set up a course with cones and other obstacles for kids to navigate while riding their bikes.
Marbles: Take turns shooting marbles into a circle, trying to knock other marbles out of the ring. This was one of my mother’s favorite games growing up! She loved it.
Sidewalk Chalk: Let kids’ creativity shine by drawing colorful masterpieces on the pavement with sidewalk chalk. They can create hopscotch grids, draw imaginative scenes, or even play a game of tic-tac-toe. We have this massive package of sidewalk chalk, and it has lasted us for a really long time!
Four Square: Draw a large square divided into four smaller squares. Each player stands in one square and hits a ball to the other players’ squares, following specific rules.
Shooting Hoops: Set up a basketball hoop and challenge kids to test their shooting skills. They can compete individually or in teams. I love this, because it’s pretty easy to find a basketball hoop pretty much ANYWHERE. Easy!
Obstacle Course: Create an exciting obstacle course using various objects like hula hoops, cones, and ropes. Have the kids crawl under, jump over, and maneuver through the obstacles to complete the course.
Crayon Rubbings: Give kids sheets of paper and crayons, and encourage them to place the paper over different textured surfaces like tree bark or leaves and rub the crayon over it to reveal unique patterns.
Relay Race: Divide players into teams and set up a relay race where each member of the team completes a specific task before passing the baton to the next player.
Water Balloon Toss: On a hot summer day, a water balloon toss is a refreshing game. Players stand in pairs and toss a water balloon back and forth, taking a step back with each successful catch. I picked up a few of these reusable water balloons last year and my kids have loved them! None of them have broken yet, and I have a few kids who are hard on things!
Water Balloon Volleyball: Set up a volleyball net and use water balloons instead of a ball. The objective is to keep the balloon from hitting the ground over the net.
Kickball: Similar to baseball, but instead of a bat, players kick the ball and run the bases. It’s a fun game that combines soccer and baseball elements.
Horseshoes or Ring Toss: Set up a horseshoe pit or toss rings onto pegs to score points. It’s a classic game that can be enjoyed by all ages.
Night Games: Night games can be an exciting way for older kids and teens to get out some energy in the dark! Mandy from Simply Creative Journey has some fantastic ideas for Outdoor Night Games.
Capture the Flag: Divide players into two teams and designate “jails” and “flags.” The objective is to capture the opponent’s flag while protecting your own.
Balloon Stomp: Tie balloons to players’ ankles and they must pop each other’s balloons while protecting their own.
Badminton: Set up a badminton net and let kids enjoy a friendly game of badminton with lightweight rackets and a shuttlecock. This badminton net looks like it would be so easy to set up! Which is essential when you have bored kids.
Cornhole: Set up cornhole boards with holes and players take turns tossing bean bags to score points by getting them through the holes.
Tug of War: Divide players into two teams and have them pull on opposite ends of a rope, trying to tug it to their side.
Jump Rope: Grab a jump rope and have fun skipping, whether alone or with friends. Experiment with different jump rope rhymes and tricks.
Kick the Can: Similar to hide and seek, but players kick a can instead of tagging each other. The seeker tries to find and tag hiders while they try to kick the can before being caught.
500: Players take turns throwing a ball into the air and calling out a point value. Other players try to catch the ball, and the points are tallied to reach a total. of 500
Bocce Ball: Set up a bocce ball court and take turns trying to get your balls as close as possible to the target ball, called the pallino.
Crossnet: Set up a four-way volleyball net and play a fast-paced game where players try to hit the ball into their opponent’s section.
Zber: Walk the Zber poles around an outdoor space to make your course. Each pole has its own number from 1 to 5. Place them in numerical order. Get your group together and start Zbering! All ages can play. The objective of the game is to throw the Zber frisbee and hit the Zber ball on top of the pole. If you hit the ball directly or the pole and the ball falls, you score one point. This is a great game to play as a group!
Hopscotch: Draw a hopscotch grid on the ground and players take turns hopping through the numbered squares, avoiding stepping on the lines.
Bean Bag Ladder Toss: Set up a ladder with different point values for each rung and toss bean bags, trying to land them on the ladder for points.
Ladder Golf: Throw bolas (rope with balls on each end) at a ladder structure, aiming to wrap them around the rungs for points.
Human Piñata: Attach candies, money, or other prizes onto an old t-shirt. Assign one person to wear the shirt and have them run from the rest of the group. Those who are chasing try to pull off the prizes from the human pinata. Take turns so one person doesn’t get too worn out! We played this game at a family reunion and the kids LOVED it! Even my husband, who was the pinata, had fun!
Yard Jenga: Use large wooden blocks to build a tall tower. Players take turns removing blocks from the tower without causing it to collapse.
Fun outdoor games for kids are a fantastic way to keep them entertained, active, and engaged. These games provide numerous benefits, from burning energy to encouraging exercise and fostering social interaction. Whether it’s a classic game like Red Rover or a creative activity like sidewalk chalk art, there are endless possibilities for outdoor fun. So, the next time you’re looking for ways to entertain your kids, consider these exciting outdoor games that offer simplicity, movement, group participation, and minimal setup. Get outside, embrace the fresh air, and watch as your children create lasting memories through play.