Fun Outdoor Games for Kids
If you need ideas for some fun outdoor games for kids, look no further. Below you will find an extensive list that can be played in a variety of weather types. Outdoor winter games can be some of the most memorable for a child and summer games can be some of the most fun.
Warm weather or cold weather, you’ll want to get the children outside to play. In this category, you’ll find a nice variety of games for mixed age groups… Some old games and some new games –but you’ll certainly rate high when you introduce or facilitate the following fun!
1. TRADITIONAL TAG GAME…
It’s best played with lots of places to hide. The person who is the counter (or seeker) stands next to a designated tree and closes their eyes while counting to ______. The rest of the players run and hide. When the seeker is done counting, they call out “Ready or Not, Here I come!” and begin searching for everyone else. The goal for those hiding is to get back and touch the tree before being tagged. Those who are tagged before touching the tree are also “It” and join the seeker. The last one to reach the tree or be tagged is the seeker for the next game.
2. “T” TAG
This game is played like traditional tag.
The number of children playing, will determine the number of “ITS” you have–which would normally be from 1 to 3
Every ______ minutes, change your “It”.
When children get tagged, they must remain still and put their arms out in a “T” position.
They are released from this “frozen T” position when another child runs under their arms.
3. ELBOW TAG
Divide children into pairs leaving one child who is “It” and one child who will be the first to be chased.
Have each group of partners link elbows– and all of the pairs form a large circle, allowing 10 feet of space between each pair.
“It” runs after the other “not joined by the elbow” child inside the circle—–as in a traditional game of tag.
If the child being chased needs a break–he or she can run to a pair of children and link elbows with one of them.
The child in the pair who WAS NOT linked by the chased child —is now “It’s” new target and must break away quickly to avoid being tagged by “It.”
4. DEAD ANTS TAG GAME
A cooperative tag game…
One or two people volunteer to be ant-eaters, the rest start out as ants. By tagging them, ant-eaters attempt to stun all of the ants on the ant hill—while the ants struggle to avoid the ant-eaters —and rescue their friends.
- Start by creating a boundary for play (i.e., the ant hill).
Use landmarks such as trees or cones to create the ant-hill and have everyone step inside.
- The ant‘s must avoid the ant-eater and work together to save their ant friends who have been stunned.
- When an ant is tagged by the ant-eater, the individual sits on the ground and calls for help.
Stunned ants cannot move from the spot, but may wave their arms and legs to alert other ants to their situation.
- To make a rescue, four ants must surround a stunned ant—lock their arms in a circle—and escort the individual off the ant hill to a location just outside of the play area.
- When all four ants have locked into positions for a rescue, they cannot be targeted by the ant-eater.
- Once an ant has been rescued, he or she returns with the rescuers to the game.
- Play as many rounds as you wish, and switch ant-eaters frequently.
5. FOUR SQUARE
You need: A gym floor with 4 squares or PAVEMENT and CHALK..
1. Draw a 6- to 10-foot square on a paved surface.
2. Divide the larger square into four smaller squares, number the squares 1 to 4, and have each child stand in a block.
3. The player in square 4 serves the ball by bouncing it in his square and tapping the ball into another square.
4. The player in that space must tap the ball (after one bounce) into another kid’s area, and so on, until someone misses the ball, lets the ball bounce twice, or sends it out of the grid.
5. The player who misses the ball steps out and the remaining players rotate up through the numbered squares. If you are playing with more than four players, a new player enters the game at square 1.
The player who is out waits in line to re-enter the game once square 1 is open again. Whoever is now in square 4 serves the ball to resume play.
6. TUG OF WAR
Draw a line in the dirt or field and get a rope.
Number off the same amount on each side of the rope.
The first team that gets the other team across their side of the line wins. Caregivers and teachers–join in!!!
7. KICK THE CAN
Place a coffee can in a large open area to be home base.
“It” counts to 50 while the other kids hide.
When “It” SEES a child, he/she calls their name.
They both race to the can, and try to kick it first.
If “It” kicks the can, the hider is caught and placed in “prison” in a pre-selected area.
If the hider kicks the can, he/she and all players in prison are free, and “It” must count again
8. HULA HOOP FREEZE TAG
Scatter out several hula hoops around the play area.
Assign taggers to freeze the other players.
Students inside a hula hoop can not get frozen, but can only stay long enough to count to 10.
Only one child per hula hoop is allowed.
9. HOP SCOTCH
Equipment: Pavement, stones, chalk
Draw the layout with the chalk – From bottom to top—
3 single squares, 1 double square, 2 single squares, 1 double square, 1 single square.
Number the squares.
The two basic rules of hop scotch are:
1) One foot in each square only
2) Hop over the square with the rock in it.
Use a rock to throw into the first square.
Hop on one foot over the square with the rock in it.
Land with two feet on the double squares.
On the second turn, throw the rock into the second square, and so forth.
The tricky part is staying on one foot when the rock is in one of the side-by-side squares.
If you have a side walk–you can also play by marking two side walk squares with an “X” going from corner to corner in each square.
The part of the “X” portion closest to you (at the very bottom) would be #1…
#2 would be above that to the right
#3 is to the left of 2—and #4 goes in the top portion of the “X”
Mark the square above the same–with #5, 6, 7, and 8…Proceed to play as above.
10. PICK-POCKET TAG (Or Tail Tag)
Need Flags or a strip of cloth to be used as a tail.
Players have a tail inserted into his/her belt or pocket that is hanging at the back-side.
All players chase one another trying to collect tails, while protecting his/her own.
Players with the most tails collected in a specified time are the winners. (Game is good in the gym or outside)
11. PRISONER OF WAR
Children are divided into teams.
They each select one child from each team to be the prisoner of the other team and the two prisoners are placed in jail. This can be a designated area or a chalk box if playing outside.
The teams each line up and the object of the game is to free the prisoner from the other team.
The teams must get to the prison by going to the other team’s side to free the prisoner.
If tagged, that child then becomes a prisoner too and must go to jail.
If a child makes it to jail, however, he or she is safe as long as he is inside the prison.
The rescuer can only rescue one person at a time and can choose the right time to “break for it.”
12. CAPTURE THE FLAG
Need: Two flags (you can make flags with two sticks and bandanas) Divide the kids into two teams and decide on the teams’ territories. Be sure to specifically state the boundary lines of each team’s territory because once a player crosses that boundary line they are subject to being caught. Also, decide where each team’s jail will be located.
- For the first few minutes of the game, each team decides where to place its flag. It must be visible and it cannot be moved by its team. A 10-20 foot circle around the flag is a safety zone that cannot be entered by its team unless the opposing team enters the circle first.
- The object of the game is to grab the other team’s flag and carry it safely back to your team’s territory.
- Part of the team stays to guard their flag and part of the team goes on the capture mission in enemy territory.
- If a player sees an opposing team member enter his territory, he can catch him by tagging him long enough to say “Caught!” three times .
- When a player is caught, he must go to the jail area.
- The player stays in jail until one of his teammates sneaks in and tags him.
- Only one prisoner at a time can be freed.
When a player grabs the flag, he/she must make it all the way back to their home territory without being caught. If they do make it back, their team wins!
Adapted from about.com
13. SNAKES AND WORMS
(You can call this game anything you want. An idea is to use brown and green yarn and call it snakes and worms…)
- Cut two colors of yarn, each about 20 feet long. (If you have a large group playing at the same time–you may need 3 colors of yarn and cut the pieces longer)
- Next cut the long length into many pieces.
- Hide the pieces of yarn outside.
When time to play, carefully explain rules and regulations to children.
Form two teams with one or two kids on each side as captains.
They will tie each yarn piece that is brought to them, to the next yarn piece.
The team with the longest finished yarn string wins!
Idea: This game would also be good for a party–and adapted to the inside.
14. MOTHER MAY I?
All the children line up side by side except the player who is the caller. The caller stands at a distance from the lined up players.
He calls on each player in turn to take a number of steps toward him. The steps allowed are: baby steps, giant steps, and scissor steps (like forward jumping jacks.)
The player answers “Mother, may I?”
The mother answers “Yes, you may.”
The player takes the given number of steps toward the caller.
If the player forgets to ask permission after they get directions— and takes steps toward the caller— they are sent back to the starting line. The first player to reach the caller is the winner and new caller.
Idea: Change the name to the season: Teacher May I? Santa, Snowman, Cupid, Leprechaun, Bunny, etc.
15. STUCK IN THE MUD
A basic tag game.
If children are tagged, they must stand with their legs apart (stuck in
the mud) until someone crawls through and releases them.
16. COMMOM ‘TABLE GAMES’ ARE MORE FUN OUTSIDE!
Tic-tac-toe can be scratched in the dirt and is more enticing than on paper–Hangman, too. (or use chalk for pavement)
Sketch a checker board on the sidewalk and fabricate markers out of stones and acorns.
Or just spread a blanket on the grass for Monopoly or Candyland played in a whole new venue…
17. KEEP AWAY!
Also called ‘Pickle’ or ‘Monkey in the Middle‘…
Two or more players must pass a ball to one another, while a player in the middle attempts to intercept it.
The game could be considered a reverse form of dodgeball—instead of trying to hit people in the middle with the ball, players attempt to keep the ball away from them.
The basic game is played by drawing a circle on the ground about ten feet in diameter.
One person stands in the cener (the monkey, the piggy or the pickle) and the rest stand outside the circle.
A player outside the circle must then throw the ball through the circle to another person outside the circle with the goal being to prevent the person who is “it” from getting to the ball.
This continues until the person who is it catches the ball or gains possession due to a failed catch, etc.
Whoever threw the ball last then becomes it, and replaces the person in the middle.
Adapted from: wikipedia.org
18. LEFT OVER BALLOONS??? PLAY BALLOON BADMITTEN
An idea inspired by World Pre-School Mom is to use fly swatters (At Dollar Store about 2 for $1.00)…Children simply hit the balloon back and forth to each other!
Another great idea is to make paddles simply taping tongue depressor sticks to the back of paper plates. Use the paper plate ‘paddles’ to keep a blown up ballon up in the air–This game can be played in a gym or outdoors— played individually or in a group! It’s also a great way to repurpose paper plates and balloons! Images by KidActivities.net
Divide the group into groups of three or four; in each group, one person is designated the ‘Master’— the others are his ‘Robots’.
‘Robots’ keep moving only in a straight line (walking like robots, of course) until they encounter an obstacle (edge of the area, a tree, another robot, etc.) of any kind.
They then stop and start “beeping” an S.O.S. to their ‘master’ —who must come and start them moving again in another direction.
Perhaps a Master may want his robots to have a “unique” styled distress beep.
Periodically change the Masters in each group.
20. BASELESS BASEBALL
This is a game played much like pinball.
Players aim at targets & award hits (singles, doubles, triples, and home runs) for striking each one.
You need a rubber or tennis ball & targets.
- Players need to decide upon a throwing line & targets—-Rocks, boxes, toys, trees, piles of leaves, old sweatshirts, hula-hoops can be targets.
When decided–for safety reasons– mark off the playing field
- Make the scoring system equal to the task.
Each target is worth a certain kind of hit. Easy targets are singles, harder ones are doubles and so on.
- Players take turns throwing at the targets.
If the target is hit, the player’s team gets the corresponding award (points).
If the target is missed, the player’s team is given one out. When the thrower has 3 outs, the next thrower comes to “bat”.
- Play as many innings as you like, keeping score.
The player with the most hits (points) gets to pick the next targets.
This can also be scored as a TEAM EFFORT.
Source: Tonya at tennsaca.com
21. BODY PART FREEZE TAG
Body part freeze tag is just like regular freeze tag except once tagged, you are not completely frozen.
- Select one or two children to be “it.”
These children run around tagging other children.
- If a child is tagged on the arm, only the arm is frozen.
If tagged on the leg, only the leg is frozen, so the child must hop on one leg.
If both legs are tagged, the child can pull himself along the ground with arms (assuming they weren’t already tagged).
- The object is to completely freeze as many as possible.
- If you want, you can have others unfreeze body parts as well.
22. FIND YOUR FRIEND
For this kids’ outdoor game (it could also be played in a gym) make sure the land is flat and there are no trip hazards.
Blindfold all children, set them a distance apart from each other, spin them gently/slowly around, and then turn them loose.
They must find their friends, link arms, and then find the rest of their friends.
They will have a good time shuffling around and bumping into each other!
(Be sure an adult is present at all times)
23. DO YOU HAVE A SIDEWALK ON YOUR PROGRAM SITE? IF SO…
PLAY COIN HIT…
Need: Quarter, sidewalk with sections and Playground Ball
Players: Two players
- Each player stands behind a sidewalk section ‘facing each other’. They place a quarter standing upright in the sidewalk crack between them.
- The first player will stand behind the line of the next sidewalk section and try to hit the standing quarter by bouncing the ball at it. If they hit the quarter they get one point and if it is knocked out of the crack they get two points.
- The ball will bounce to the other player from across the crack. The second player will take a turn.
- The first person to get 21 points is the winner.
24. WHAT DO YOU THINK?
(Can be played outside or inside gym area)
This game is for 5 or more players and should be played outside or in an open area.
- To play, select four objects to be bases and give each base a name:
“Don’t like it,” “Love it,” “It’s OK,” “Never tried it.”
- Make signs for each base to make it easy to remember which is which!
- Pick someone to be “IT.” “IT” stands in the middle and the players stand on any base they want. “IT” calls out the name of a food.
- Players then have to run to the base that describes how they feel about that food. “IT” tries to tag a player before he or she reaches the base. The player who is tagged then becomes the new “It “
25. RED LIGHT– GREEN LIGHT
Select one child, or perhaps yourself, to start the game and be the “stoplight”.
All the children line up on the other side of gym or field.
The designated stoplight yells “Green light!” and the children lined up start running.
The first one to make it to the stoplight wins and is now the stoplight.
It gets tricky when the stoplight changes, though.
The stoplight should yell “Red light!” to get children to stop.
Any movement by a child means she is sent back to the beginning.
The stoplight can also call out “yellow light” which means the children can only walk very slowly. Variations to this game include yelling “red light” two times in a row, or adding body movements.
Say “green light” with your arms up one time and then say “red light,” but throw your arms up again to confuse runners into thinking your body language says “green light.”
26. RUNNING BASES … ALSO CALLED ‘PICKLE’ (A great game for building baseball skills)
Need a 2 Bases, at least 3 players and rubber ball or tennis ball…
There are several versions for playing this game. This one is the most basic.
1. Set up two bases on a play area about 20 to 50 feet apart.(The distance depends on the skill level of the players)
2. Two players are ‘fielders’. They each stand at a base and toss the ball to each other. All other players are ‘runners’. If there is more than one runner–they divide and go to the bases.
3.The object is for the runner(s) to move from base to base without being tagged as the fielders toss the ball back and forth. If a runner is touching a base, he or she is safe. If they make it to the next base without being tagged out they score a run. If they are tagged it’s an out.
4. A runner cannot hug a base. He/she must run at least every second time the ball is thrown. The fielder does not have to stay on the base to catch the ball. They may go after each runner.
5. The goal of the game is to touch the bases as many times as you can without being tagged out. The runner must keep track of how many times they touch the base before a fielder tags them out. When that runner gets out, they rotate positions so that the fielders can be the runner. After everyone has ran, they compare scores.(bases touched).
27. SUNNY DAY TAG
You will need a SUNNY DAY for this game.
“It” chases free players and when “it” steps on their shadow… the free player becomes “it.”
28. BLIND MAN BLUFF
This game does not really have an object, but it is fun.
One person puts on a blindfold while the others spin him around a few times.
The blindfolded person is led around the yard in winding circles, etc. — until they get to their destination point.
The blindfolded person then gets to guess where he is and then has his blindfold removed to reveal his location.
29. KILL THE COCKROACH
Divide the players into two teams. Line them up, one in front of the other and set an odd object in front of the first players in line. They must kick the object across the yard (or gym) and the across the finish line to win a point for their team. Kick things like a pillow, empty can, a sock, and so on.
30. This one is fun! RAINBOW TAG
Four or more players
Five tongue depressors, each one marked with a color of the rainbow
Water-based face paint crayons in the same rainbow colors
A pink or rainbow-colored article of clothing
HOW TO PLAY:
1. To prepare, hide each tongue depressor along with the matching color of face paint in a different place around the yard.
2. Next, choose someone to be Pinkie, the player who sneaks around trying to tag the other players and undo their progress. Give Pinkie something pink or rainbow-colored to wear.
3. To play, set everyone but Pinkie out in search of the sticks.
4. Each time a player finds one of the colored sticks he should:
- Not give away the location to others.
- Paint a stripe on his face.
- Leave the stick and paint in place.
- Bluffing is encouraged to keep the locations secret.
5. The catch: Pinkie will be lurking, trying to tag the players. Every time he/she does, she wipes off one of their stripes.
6. The first player to get one stripe in each color wins.
31. TRIGON (A game for three people)
1. In the modern version of ‘trigon’, three players stand at the outer points of a triangle, each side being about 20 feet long.
2. A baseball or softball is thrown by a player using the left hand to the player on his right. That player catches the ball with his right hand, and throws the ball to the third player with his left.
3. The third player repeats this, throwing to the first player, keeping the action going in a counter clockwise direction.
4. If a catchable ball is dropped, the thrower gets one point.
Variation: Any player can reverse the direction of play by batting the ball with either hand to either of the other two players.
A player can also hold the ball, stopping play, and fein throws to confuse opponents. A player may also place a second ball in play, which increases the difficulty of this game. The game is ended when a player reaches 21 points, at which time he/she is declared the winner.
32. TARGET THROWING
Paint a target on the sheet and tie or sew bells to it; hang the sheet in a safe place. Have children throw balls or safe beanbags at the target. Encourage children to make the bells ring. If there is a visually impaired child, have one child give verbal directions in throwing. Allow a child with poor motor control to get very close to the target.
→ DON’T FORGET GAMES OF…Croquet, Sidewark Art Contest, Lawn Darts, Shuffle Board, Volley Ball, Horse Shoes, Paddle Ball, Badminton…etc.
33. SHARKS AND MINNOWS (From the Ocean Theme)
This tag game can be played in an open field or a gym.
One child starts out as the shark and all others are minnows. (If the group is large start out with two sharks)
Minnows stand in a straight line at one side of the field/gym–facing the shark that is in the center of the play area.
The shark shouts, “Minnows swim to me!”
All the minnows run to the other side of the field. If they reach the other side they are safe.
If they are tagged they also become a “shark” or “sea weed”. The game continues with the leader shark saying, “Minnows swim to me” and the minnows try to get to the other side…
There are two versions to the game at this point…
#1.Method: Once tagged the minnows (who are now sharks) also help run and tag the remaining players. The lead shark is always the caller.
The last ‘safe minnow’ becomes the new leader shark.
#2.Method: Once tagged the minnows sit down and become sea weed. The sea weed reaches out as the minnow run/swim by and if tagged–also sit and become sea weed.
The last untagged minnow is the new shark.
THREE GAMES TO PLAY IN THE SAND (Also, check out the Sand Theme!)
34. NUMBERS IN THE SAND
Required: Sand Play area, Numbered tags and prizes
Players: Small to medium groups. Play this game at a sandy area like a volleyball court or large sandbox. The object of the game is to hide small tags or slips of paper that have been labeled, in the sand. There are two options for labeling the slips of paper.
- One would be using a point system by labeling the tags 2 points, 5 points, and/or 10 points.
- Bury the tags with the higher points deeper in the sand, so that it takes a little bit more effort to find them.
A point system would work better for a small group. For each player you should make and bury about 5-8 tags.
The other option rather than the point system for labeling tags is winning a prize.
- Purchase various prizes for the group to win from small items like candy pieces, bags of chips and cracker snacks, to large items that might have even been donated. Have each number on the tags represent a different prize.
By Bob Brickner at funattic.com
35. SIFTING FOR GOLD
Have children pretend to be gold miners.
Paint very small rocks, gold.
Hide them in the sand.
Give your children small sifters to sift through the sand looking for gold.
36. DINOSAUR BONES
What child wouldn’t like searching for dinosaur bones.
Save old chicken bones.
Clean in hot soapy water.
Hide the bones in the sand.
Give children small brushes to brush through the sand searching for bones.
TIP: WHEN YOU GO OUTSIDE—Always put some CHALK IN YOUR POCKET!!!
1. Have child lay on cement. Outline the body shape in an ACTION pose…fill in the body with realistic clothing and details.
2. Playing a game with boundaries? Pull out the chalk to mark them on the concrete.
3. Mark off broad jumps and leaps!
4. Outline shoes. Who has the largest or smallest foot?
6. A group mural
Consider having a JUMP-ROPE MARATHON (DAY OR WEEK…) Keep track of numbers of jumps reached—and the kids try to beat their own highest number by the end of the day or week…
Some other categories on this site may also work for you! Just click and you’re there!
- School-Age Gym Games
- Outside Water
- Races, Relays, Balloons & Beanbags
- Parachute Games
- Jump Rope
- Games for two or more (small groups)
- Low Energy, Table or Circle Games
- Fall Games and Activities
- What Am I Riddles and Answers
- Charades Ideas
Also check out the VARIOUS HOLIDAY, SEASONAL AND THEME CATEGORIES …They ALLhave games in them!