Encouraging children to spend more time outside is a great way to keep them both active and entertained. What better way to encourage this positive behaviour than to learn some new outdoor games?
The games in this article have easy-to-follow rules that even young children can understand. If parents can take a few minutes to explain the rules of these games to their children, then their children are sure to have hours of fun playing these ten outside games. Some of these games are familiar or take add a twist to common outside games.
Without further ado, keep reading to learn some great new outside games that children of all ages can enjoy.
- These games can be played even in small yards.
- Even little kids can enjoy these games.
- Older kids can help with the game prep or play too.
Table of Contents
- Scavenger Hunt
- Crack the Ice
- Hide and Seek with Toys
- Hopscotch Obstacle Course
- Land Marco Polo
- Blind Man’s Bluff
- Silent Ball
- Nature Store
Scavenger hunt games are great for kids of all ages but work best for kids who know how to read. There are two general ways to play this. Parents (or older kids) can either hide objects around the yard for kids to find or they can write up a list of objects commonly found outside naturally (flowers, rocks, leaves, etc.).
To play this game, each child is given a list of the objects they need to find, along with a bag to store the objects in. The first player to find all of the objects on the list wins!
The list can be as long or as short as the list-maker wants. This is a great game to get kids to explore the backyard and to simply keep them busy.
Crack the Ice
Crack the Ice is a game that involves a little prep. To play, parents first need to find some waterproof toys. Put the toys in a container and fill that container with water. Tupperware works best for this. Next, freeze the container. Once the water is totally frozen, it’s time to play.
Dump the ice block out of the container onto the ground. The goal of this game is for the child to break the ice to get the toy out. The kid might do this by using rocks or trying to melt the ice.
No matter how the child goes about this challenge, it is a fun way to get them thinking!
Hide and Seek with Toys
Waiting around for someone to find you can be boring, so why not mix it up? Playing hide and seek with toys is a great way to change up the game. The best part is that this game can be played both inside and outside.
To play, pick out a designated (preferably waterproof) toy to hide. One person hides the toy. Once the toy is hidden, the children need to find it. Whoever finds the toy gets to hide it next. This pattern can be repeated as often as the kids want, so the game can last minutes or hours!
Hopscotch Obstacle Course
Who knew hopscotch could be exciting? One way to make this game tricky is, instead of making a normal hopscotch pattern, get wild with it! Make the squares further apart so you need to jump from one to another. Draw sharks or monsters to avoid stepping on. Make up your own rules (only jump on one foot, skip, etc.) to make the game even more challenging and fun.
This game is best played on a sidewalk or an empty street. If playing on the street, it’s best that kids are supervised while playing.
Land Marco Polo
Marco Polo is usually played in a pool. However, not everyone has a pool. Luckily, it can just as easily be played on land!
To play Marco Polo on land, have the searcher either cover their eyes or wear a blindfold. The other players can call out the classic “Marco” and “Polo” or you can use another phrase. The person with the blindfold needs to try to find someone using their sense of hearing alone. Whoever is found first is the next one who has to wear the blindfold.
Blind Man’s Bluff
Blind Man’s Bluff is similar to Marco Polo, with a few exceptions. Again, someone is blindfolded, and the goal of the game is to find someone. However, with this game, the other players need to stand around the “blind man” in a circle. One designated person goes in the circle with the blind man and needs to avoid getting caught.
To make this game easier, make the circle of people smaller. This leaves less space for the “blind man” and the other person. To make the game harder, make the circle bigger.
The game ends when someone gets caught. Then a new person can volunteer to try to avoid being caught by the new “blind man.”
The Graveyard game isn’t nearly as spooky as it sounds. To play, one person is the watcher and the rest of the players are in the graveyard. The people in the graveyard needs to play dead. This means no moving or talking! The person watching the graveyard needs to watch out for this! If someone moves or makes a sound, then they’re out! The last person who doesn’t move or talk gets to watch over the graveyard next!
The most common way to play this is to have the people in the graveyard lay down flat on their backs. However, it could also be played with players standing or sitting.
Silent Ball takes the basic game of catch and adds some more rules to make the game a little more challenging.
For this game, the players spread out. This can be in a circle-shape or any other pattern. Like catch, the players throw the ball to one another. However, if you miss catching the ball OR make a sound, you’re out! Players who are out need to sit down and wait for the game to be over. The last one standing wins!
Shark is a fun playground game but it can be played anywhere that has playground equipment, a trampoline, or even a picnic table. The playground equipment or other object will act as a boat. Most of the players need to stay on the boat to stay safe from the shark.
One player acts as the shark. The shark needs to try to touch one of the players on the boat. This can be done simply by tapping them. Once someone is touched, they need to leave the boat and they act as a shark too! The last one on the boat wins and gets to become the shark first for the next round.
One laid-back game to play is Nature Store. In this game, various plants or rocks are used as money to “buy” things. The things in the store can be toys or snacks already in the house or they can be whatever else the child or parent decides would be fun.
To play, a certain store object needs to have a set value. For example, a cookie might cost twenty leaves or five flowers. The kid then needs to search the yard for these objects to shop from the nature store.
Not only is this game fun but it also can be used to teach young children about counting and math without needing to use actual money.
Hopefully, you’ve had fun reading this article and will have even more fun playing these games with your children. What game will you try first?