Are you looking for some exciting games for children? Look no further! This guide will share 35 of the most fun competition games for kids. These exciting games are ideal for children of all ages and are guaranteed to bring out their best as each child competes with other participants. I’ll also explain why competitive games are so beneficial for children. Let’s get started!
Why is it important for kids to play competitive games?
Here are just a few reasons why every child should take part in competitive games:
Active competition games help children develop their athletic skills
Kids put in more effort when playing competitively, which translates into faster athletic and academic improvement. Their skills will also improve even faster if they are playing against strong opponents.
Kids learn that competition can be fun
Playing competitive games teaches children that competition doesn’t always need to be serious and a lot of fun can be enjoyed. They also learn that they don’t need to be afraid of competition, which can improve how well they deal with challenges in their lives.
Competition helps children learn to deal with pressure
Competition games are a pressurised environment, where making a mistake can cost your team a goal or cause you to lose the game. Being in this environment helps children deal with other pressurised events like public speaking, taking tests, or performing on a stage.
Competition teaches children to try their best
Being in a competitive environment encourages children to try their hardest. The high level of effort they bring to competitive games will quickly impact how well they perform in the classroom and at home.
Competitive games teach children to handle defeat gracefully
Games are a great opportunity to teach kids how to be humble in victory and magnanimous in defeat. This is a valuable attribute that will help them throughout their lives.
Competition teaches kids the value of setting and reaching goals
Competitive sports environments are the perfect location for setting goals like winning a game or beating a personal record. When a child reaches these goals, they get to experience a feeling of satisfaction and happiness. Encouraging the use of goals also teaches kids about deadlines and the need for constant improvement.
Kid’s competitive games teach self-discipline and self-confidence
The first time that a child sets a goal that want to reach in a competitive game, they will realise that self-discipline is required to reach it. If they want to run a 100 metre race faster than their friend, they will discover that training is required to reach that goal – which requires discipline. As they train they will become more athletic and see their performance improve, they will also gain more confidence.
Competitive sports give kids something to do
If a child discovers they enjoy competitive games, they can participate in competitive sports like soccer, football, basketball, hockey and so on. Playing these sports will help a child make friends, explore the world, and improve their athletic ability.
Competition makes kids better at school
The skills that children learn in competitive games transfer into the classroom. Self-discipline, goal setting, perseverance, and a love of competition will help them get great grades.
Competition is fun!
Kid’s competitive games have a focus on fun. They provide a safe, secure, and enjoyable environment for children to learn about competition.
Fun Competition Games for Kids
The following list contains 35 fun competition games for kids. These games vary greatly in terms of their physical and intellectual requirements, so you will be able to find something suitable any child you are working with. All games have a focus on fun, so they are a great way to introduce children into competitive games.
#1 – Capture the flag
This classic game remains one of the most popular competitive games for kids. Playing capture the flag is simple. The objective is to steal the other team’s flag from their home base and make it back to your own base without being tagged.
To start the game, the players are divided into two teams with each team being given a territory and a home base that lies within that territory. Players can tag opponents when they enter their territory to steal the flag.
If a player gets tagged, they must go to jail, which is another location within the enemy’s territory. Players can be freed from jail by teammates who run to the enemy’s jail, tag their team mate, then run back into friendly territory. Only one person can be freed per jailbreak.
The wining team is the one that scores the most flags after a certain amount of time or is the first to reach a certain number of flag captures. This is fun game is great for improving the athleticism of children and teaching them the benefits of teamwork.
#2 – Group Rope Jump
Most people think of Jump Rope as an activity just played for fun, but it can easily be made into a competitive game. Jump Rope is a great game if you are interested in getting kids to collaborate and coordinate with each other. It also improves the athletic skills of both the rope handlers and the jumpers.
To play Group Jump Rope, you will need a long rope and at least 3 participants. Two people will hold an end of the rope each and begin looping it while another player starts jumping. The player who makes the highest total number of jumps is the winner. If the kids find jump a single rope too easy, you can use two jump ropes in a Double Dutch style. If you want to try Double Dutch, you will need longer skipping ropes like these high quality skipping ropes from Just Jump It.
#3 – Tag
Tag, also known as “tiggy” or “tig”, has been around for hundreds of years. It remains popular today because it is highly-addictive and a ton of fun! The rules are also easy to learn, which makes it suitable for children of all ages.
At the start of the game, one player is chosen to be “It”. That player will have to chase the other players to tag them with their hand. Once tagged, that player becomes the new “It” and must start chasing other players. The rule of no tag-backs is usually included, which means you cannot tag the person who just tagged you.
The game finishes when everyone is too exhausted to play anymore! This list includes a couple more variations of tag, which are even more fun than standard tag. There are many more variations on the Fun Tag Games For PE page.
#4 – Red Rover
Red Rover is a popular game that is useful for teaching young children the value of teamwork. To play Red Rover, participants are split into two groups with each group forming a line that faces the other team. The lines should be 20 feet apart and the children in each team should hold hands.
One team is chosen to start. They will look at the other team and choose a player they want to come across to their line. The team then calls out “Red Red Rover let Someone come over”, where “someone” is the name of a player on the other team. That player must then attempt to run through the line, breaking through the team’s held hands.
If the player successfully breaks through the enemy line, they choose a player to take back to their own team, where they rejoin the line. If the player does not successfully break the line, they must join the opponent’s team. This continues until one team only has a single player. That single player has to try to get through the line and if he or she fails, the game is over. Red Rover in action.
#5 – Treasure Hunts
Kids love treasure hunts! They enjoy the challenge of solving clues, searching for objects and eventually finding the treasure. Designing a treasure hunt is simple. First, decide on a location to have the treasure hunt. The best locations include your home, a local garden, your local neighbourhood, or a museum.
Next, write some clues on pieces of paper to direct children on where to search next. You can can secure these clues to objects using sticky tape or magnets. Make the clues require the use of logic or another form of problem-solving. For example, a good clue would be:
If I had three legs,
I wouldn’t be stable.
I’m where you eat breakfast,
I am a…
With the next clue being secured to your breakfast table. The first team to solve the clues will obtain the prize. Here are some great tips for creating an awesome treasure hunt.
If you want to take your treasure hunts to the next level, you could get the Treasure Hunt Game from Gotrovo. It features 100 reusable clue cards, a treasure map puzzle board and gold loot!
#6 – War Ball
This idea for this game comes courtesy of Party Games Pond. War Ball is a more chaotic and fun version of dodge ball. Start by dividing the participants into two separate teams. The teams will stand on opposite sides of a play area, which should be about the size of a basketball court.
Distribute some soft rubber balls between the two teams. When you shout “Start” the two teams will attempt to throw the balls at each other. When a player is hit, they are sent to the “prison camp” which is behind the opponent’s playing area.
The best part of this game is that prisoners can catch any balls that reach the prisoner area and throw them at their opponents. You end up with a crazy situation where a ball could come from either the prisoner area or the other side of the court! If a prisoner manages to land a shot, they are released from prison and the player they hit is sent to prison.
Balls that bounce and balls that are caught on the full don’t count. The game is over when all of the players from one team are in prison.
#7 – Zombie Tag
This is one of the best variations of tag. It is also included in our list of 16 Fun Tag Games For PE – so if you enjoy this one check the others out! At the start of Zombie Tag, one player from the group is declared a zombie. The zombie must attempt to tag the “Human” players in order to create more zombies. As the game continues, more and more players will turn into Zombies.
One major difference from traditional versions of tag is that the humans will be given soft throwable objects to defend themselves. This includes objects like soft rubber balls and plush toys. When they successfully throw one of these toys at a zombie, that zombie must freeze for 15 seconds. This gives the human a chance to get away. A round of Zombie Tag is finished when all players have been turned into zombies.
#8 – Balance Beam Challenge
This is a simple game perfect for young kids. It was shared by Family Fun Twin Cities. Start by securing segments of masking tape to the floor in a long line. Use different shapes including zig-zags and spirals.
One by one, have each child walk along the masking tape line like they are walking a balance beam. The fastest child to successfully navigate the balance beam without stepping off is the winner. You can also have the children walk the walk it backwards to make it even more challenging!
#9 – Balloon Wars
This game is a lot of fun and very easy to learn. Start by splitting the children into two teams of equal sizes. Blow up 4 to 6 balloons of two different colors, with each team being assigned a specific color.
The teams are also assigned a wall on one side of the room, which is their goal. The objective of the game is to hit your team’s balloons until it hits the opponent’s goal. When a team scores, they are awarded one point, with the first team to 20 points being declared the winner.
#10 – Connect 4 Shots
Board games are a wonderful way to introduce children to the idea of competing to win. If you are introducing a child to board games, Connect 4 is a great place to start because the rules are simple and it is a lot of fun.
Connect 4 Shots takes the idea of Connect 4 a step further. Kids have to throw colored balls at the Connect 4 grid, instead of sliding tokens into it. This adds another dimension to the game, with a child’s ability to bounce balls accurately helping to determine if they win the game. It’s a lot of fun!
#11 – Hide and Seek
Hide and Seek proves that competitive games can be a lot of fun. It’s a great game for improving the creativity of children as they look for clever new places to hide. Playing Hide and Seek is simple. One person is nominated as the seeker. They will close their eyes and count to 30 while the other players find places to hide. The seeker will then have to find the players that are hiding. The last player to be found is the winner.
The rules of hide and seek can also be changed to make the game more exciting. You can incorporate some of the elements of tag into the game, so a player who is found must try to make it to a home base without being tagged by the seeker.
#12 – Simon Says
This well-known competitive game is perfect for young kids. One great advantage of Simon Says is that it can be played anywhere – in the classroom, outside, in a car, or on a bus.
The game starts with one person being nominated as “Simon”. They will then give an instruction to the rest of the group, which starts with “Simon says…”. This might be something like “Simon says stick out your tongue”. However, if Simon says a request that does not start with “Simon says…”, anyone who performs that action is eliminated. The last person playing is declared the winner and they get to be Simon next round.
Simon Says is a great choice if you want to get children exercising more because you can use commands like “Simon says do 5 pushups”. Your kids will be exhausted before you know it!
#13 – Freeze Dance
Freeze Dance is a very fun game that is only slightly competitive. While it is best suited for young children, kids of any age can have fun playing Freeze Dance. Start by choosing someone to be in charge of the music. When they start the music off, everyone starts dancing. The more elaborate or crazy the dance moves are, the better. When the music stops, everyone who is dancing must stop. If you notice anyone still dancing, they are out for that round. The winner is the last person still dancing.
#14 – The Golfing Dead
Card games are an awesome way to introduce kids to competitive play that is intellectual instead of physical. In addition to classic card games like Eucher and Blackjack, there are also many creative card games using non-traditional decks like The Golfing Dead.
The Golfing Dead is fun game for for two to six players aged 7 and over. The objective of the game is to be the best player on the golf course while dealing with a zombie apocalypse! The game deck consists of action cards and stroke cards. The action cards include funny moves like bathing in zombie urine, which provides protection from the zombie horde for a round.
The stroke cards are numbered from -3 to +10 and represent how well you have played each hole. Each player receives 9 stroke cards, which are face down initially. Players can manipulate their stroke cards to reduce their total stroke count. It’s a hilarious game that can be quite competitive. Learn more about The Golfing Dead.
#15 – Phase 10 (Uno Games)
The objective of Phase 10, is to complete all 10 phases. If two or more players manage to complete 10 phases, the player with the lowest score is the winner.
The rules are fairly simple. At the start of the game, each player receives 10 cards. The deck is placed in the center of the table and the top card is flipped over so everyone can see what it is. Each player starts their turn by taking a card from the deck or the discard pile.
The player will then lay down cards in front of them or other players that match the 10 “phases”, which include tasks like playing 2 “sets” of 3 or a “run” of 6. A set is cards of the same number, while a run is cards in sequential order. Players can complete phases on their own cards or on the cards of other players. Once your round is over, one card is discarded. Checkout this video, which explains the rules in more detail.
#16 – Musical Chairs
Musical Chairs is a great way to introduce young kids to competition games. It simple to learn and the children will learn to associate competition with fun. The rules are simple.
Start by placing some chairs in a circle and have the children stand in a circle around them. Start playing some music and have the children dance around in a circle. When the music stops, they must all find a chair.
You can leave the same number of chairs as there are children for the first round or two, so the kids can have some fun. Then, gradually remove a chair at a time, so the children must scramble to find a chair to sit in. Gradually remove chairs until there are only two children and one chair left. The child to sit in that chair first is declared the winner.
#17 – The Sorting Game
Children who love to sort things and enjoy competing with others will like this game. The goal is simple – to sort a bowl of objects faster than the other teams. Start by dividing the children into groups of between 2 to 4 people. Give each group something that can be sorted into colors or types. For example, a bowl of coins or colored marbles. When you say “Go” each group will attempt to successfully sort the objects according to size, shape, color or value.
#18 – Monopoly Deal Card Game
Monopoly is one of the world’s most famous board games. It can be extremely competitive with players battling it out to control the monopoly board and negotiating clever deals with other players.
There is also a popular Monopoly card game available. It works in a similar way to the standard Monopoly boards game but has the added advantage of being ultra-portable. It’s a great game to take along with you on a car trip or holiday.
#19 – Dominoes
This classic game is perfect for both adults and kids. The great thing about dominoes is that there are many variations on how to play it, so you won’t get bored!
Start a game of basic dominoes by placing the dominoes face down and moving them around to scramble the tiles. In a two player game, each player will select 7 dominoes. If there are three or four players, each player will select 5 dominoes. Players will keep their dominoes hidden from other players.
The player with the highest double (the same number of both sides) will start the game by placing that tile on the table. Play then continues in a clockwise direction. Players must place a matching domino on any of the four exposed ends. So, if the first domino played is a double 3, the other players can place a domino with a three on it next that that domino. Only the “3” half of the domino can touch that domino. Tiles with doubles must be placed perpendicular to the current tile. The winner is the first player to reach 150 points.
#20 – Moon Cake
Moon Cake is a very old Chinese game that can be adapted to suit children of different ages. Start by drawing a large circle on a playground with a radius of about 8-10 feet. You could also use the centre circle on a basketball or netball court for smaller groups.
The circle is divided into segments with the number of segments being determined by the age of the children who are playing. If very young kids are playing, divide the circle into 4 quarters, which are marked 1, 2, 3, and 4. If older kids are involved, use up to 12 segments marked from 1 to 12. Alternately, you could use random numbers in the segments to make the game a little more interesting.
The children should be divided into several teams of at least 2 players each. Going in turns, one child from each team will stand them in the centre of the circle blindfolded. Turn the child around several times so they lose their sense of direction and ask them to take 4 steps in any direction. They will then take off the blindfold to see the number of the segment they are standing in.
Once every player has had a turn, all of the numbers they stood in are added up to determine the winning team for that round.
#21 – Soccer Tag
Soccer Tag is an action-packed game that combines elements of tag and soccer. It requires a soccer ball and an outdoor space to play. At the start of the game, two players are designated as “It” and receive a soccer ball each. They must kick their soccer balls at the legs of other players to also designate them as being “It”. Once there are multiple It players, they can pass the ball to each other in an attempt to confuse the other players and catch them out. The game is over when all players have been tagged with the last player to be tagged being the winner.
#22 – Indoor Obstacle Courses
Kids love running around obstacle courses! You can create an interesting obstacle course in your house by using pillows, boxes, sheets, ottomans, and other pieces of furniture. You can make the obstacle course more exciting by having participants perform challenges at certain points. This could be answering a tricky question or performing a physical activity like 10 pushups or 5 jumping jacks. The winner will be the child who completes the course in the shortest time.
#23 – Rock Paper Scissors
Kid’s competitive games don’t get much simpler than rock paper scissors! It’s a great game to teach kids as they can use it to have fun or settle disputes on the playground. You can make rock paper scissors more competitive by holding a rock paper scissors championship. Each child will play best-of-five rock paper scissors rounds against the other children to win a prize. If you children really enjoy rock paper scissors, you could buy them a rock paper scissors card game. Also, be sure to check out this fun variation of rock paper scissors.
#24 – Classic Board Games
There are dozens of classic old board games that are highly competitive yet fun. This include games like chutes and ladders, chess, checkers, scrabble, twister, pictionary, and kid’s trivial pursuit. Consider purchasing a few of these classic games to help your children learn how fun competition can be.
#25 – Ping Pong Ball Catch
This is a very simple game that can be a lot of fun for young kids. Start by splitting the children into teams of two. Each team will receive two plastic cups and a ping pong ball. Their objective is to throw the ball to one another and successfully catch it in their cups as many times as possible within 1 minute. The winner is the team that complete the most catches!
#26 – Crab Walk Races
The best competitive activities for kids are ones that combine a fun or unusual activity with a race. This includes games like the Crab Walk Race. Have the children simply perform a crab walk from one side of the room to the other (or to a finish line if outdoors). The first to reach the other side of the room wins. Other fun competitive races for kids include:
- Walking backwards races
- Skipping races
- Wheelbarrow races
- Sideways rolling races
- 3-legged races
- Potato sack races
- Hula hoop races
- Summersault races (rolling forward)
#27 – Indoor ten pin bowling
Ten pin bowling is a one of the most fun competition games for kids. You can play it at home by setting up plastic bottles in a hallway and using a ball of some kind to knock them over. Use these rules to keep score and determine the winner. If your kids really enjoy ten pin bowling, you could purchase them an indoor bowling set.
#28 – Indoor Croquet
Croquet is an incredibly fun activity that kids seem to love. If you live near a local croquet field, it can be a wonderful day out and give the kids a chance to meet some new people. If there isn’t one nearby, you can purchase a croquet set and play in your own home or in the classroom. The winner will be the child who completes the course using the least number of strokes.
#29 – Potato Drop
This is another silly racing game that will have children laughing their heads off as they struggle to the finish line. To play Potato Drop each child has to race to a finish line with a potato between their knees. The first player to the end wins. If you like silly race games, consider running an egg relay race as well.
#30 – Nerf Target Practice
Shooting at targets is very challenging and a great way to improve a child’s hand-eye coordination. Nerf Target Practice is one of the best competitive games for kids using target shooting. Simply set up a collection of empty soda bottles, plush toys, cardboard cutouts, paper towels (attached with tape), and other objects.
Each child then has 60 seconds to knock down as many targets as they can. The winner is the player to hit the most targets. This nerf gun is a great choice for this activity as it has a fairly high capacity and can shoot quickly.
#31 – Lego Color Hunt
This fun competitive activity for kids is inspired by What Moms Love. If there are four children playing, select 4 pieces of differently colored construction paper. Find 10 pieces of same colored lego for each piece of paper (10 pieces of blue lego for a blue piece of paper etc). The children will then be assigned a color each and must find the 10 pieces of lego that match that color. The winner is the first child to find all 10 pieces of lego and place them on their construction paper.
#32 – Mini Golf
Mini golf is great game because it can be enjoyed by children and adults alike. Either take your children to a local mini golf venue or organize a mini golf tournament at home. If you are playing with young children at home, this Indoor Golf Set is the perfect product for setting up your own mini golf course.
#33 – Tape Shape Games
There are dozens different kid’s competitive games involving placing tape on the ground. Some of the best games include:
- Long jump
Place strips of tape parallel to one another in a row. See which child can jump the furthest piece of tape.
- Get to the shape
This is a great variation on musical chairs. Place a variety of shapes in tape on the ground, including circles, waves, squares, and triangles. Play some music for the kids to dance to. When the music stops, shout out a shape and all of the kids must scramble to touch it. The last player to reach the shape is out (or they lose a point and eventually get eliminated).
- Hop challenge
Players must attempt to hop between a collection of tape strips to get to the other side of the room.
- Floor is lava
Players must attempt to walk and jump between tape strips to make it across the room.
- Car races
Create a race track using tape on the ground and have the kids push their vehicles around it for 10 laps. The winner is the first car to finish their 10 laps.
#34 – Balloon Volleyball
Set up a volleyball net in your back yard or inside the house and have the kids play volleyball with a balloon. This is a great way to teach the kids the rules of volleyball. You could also use balloons for other games including indoor soccer and hockey (using cardboard sticks).
#35 – Kickball
Kickball is another classic competitive kid’s game that is a ton of fun. One of the reasons for this game’s popularity is the simplicity of the rules and its similarity to baseball. Anyone can learn how to play kickball within a couple of minutes and start having fun.
Kickball should be played outside on a softball or baseball diamond that has 3 bases, a home plate, and a pitcher’s mound. However, you can play on any flat surface by using pieces of clothing or other markers for the bases and pitching mound.
Start by splitting the players into two teams with at least 5 players per team. Similar to baseball, one team will go into the field and the other will “bat”, or in this case – “kick”. The fielding team will assign three players to the bases and a pitcher to the pitching mound.
One of the players on the kicking team will stand on the home plate. The pitcher will roll the ball along the ground to the kicker who will attempt to kick it. If they successfully kick the ball, they must attempt to run to first base (or further if possible) before one of the fielders rolls the ball to the fielder there.
If the kicker misses the ball or kicks a foul, they get two more attempts, just like baseball. However, unlike baseball, foul balls are never counted as strikes and four are allowed before the player is called out.
Kickers cannot kick the ball until it begins to cross the home plate and if a fielder catches the ball, they are out. Another major difference to baseball is that there is no base steal, no lead-offs, and a runner’s foot must be on the base until the ball is kicked or they will be declared out. The game is scored like baseball with 6 innings, however, the scoring system can be altered to suit the number of players and their skill level. Read the official rules on this website.
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