18 fun outdoor games for children

4 photos of kids playing outdoor games

There are many ways to get your children involved in outdoor games. In this blog, I’ll share some of our favourite outdoor games for children that might just spark ideas for you and the kids! Outdoor games are a great way to enjoy time outside with your kids. They’re always great outdoor activities for children. They’re also good exercise, develop creativity and help kids learn healthy habits like taking turns, co-ordinating and sharing. Plus they can be lots of fun!

2 photos of kids playing outdoors and text that reads 19 outdoor games for kids

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18 fun outdoor games for kids of all ages

When playing these outdoor games with kids, parents can encourage things like cooperation and problem-solving skills in their children all while having so much fun they won’t even know they’re learning! Check out our top picks for outdoor games for children below.

1. Tag

The game of tag is a simple outdoor game that always has the potential to be fun for kids of all ages. Simply choose the first person to be “it”, their job is to touch another person and shout “Tag, you’re it!”. The tagged person then takes on the role of “it” and play continues. There is no set end to the game or winner but kids seem to love it all the same.

2. Freeze tag

Freeze tag is different to traditional tag, when you are “it” you need to catch one of the players and freeze them. That player will not be able to move or touch you until they are freed again. The other players melt frozen kids by tagging any part of their bodies or giving them high-fives, they also need to avoid being tagged too. As you can tell this is a game best played with at least 3 players.

3. Capture the flag

Capture the tag is a team game so start by dividing in to 2 or 4 teams depending on how large your group is. You will need a flag per team for this game. Divide the playing area into equal-sized territories, one for each team. You can use chalk or other means to mark boundaries but make sure everyone understands where each teams territory is. Place a flag in each territory, it must be at least partially visible.

The first team to capture the flag of the other team wins. You need to both get the flag, and bring it back while evading your opponent’s attempts at tagging you by being on their territory which sends you to “jail”.

4. Tug of war

This is a really simple game. It’s a game of strength and team work. Simply you need a rope and two teams to line up, one on either side of the long rope and pull. The team that pulls the other team over to their side wins.

Children playing tug of war

5. Football

All you need is a ball and you are ready for a kick about. Most kids enjoy a kick about and it is great excersie too. You could of course, play a full game of football too which is a great excersise, team building and strategic too.

6. Hide and seek

Hide and seek is a timeless game that never gets old. The rules are simple: one person counts while other players hide. Once the person has finished counting to the predefined number they set off to find the hidden players.

7. Follow The Leader

Follow the leader is a great game for teaching listening skills, co-ordination and turn taking. One person is “the leader” and they do something, like walking or running. The next player copies them.

8. Simon says

Simon Says is a game where one player, the leader, gives instructions to the others on what movements to make or actions to take. The other players have to do what the leader says only if he/she says “Simon says”. They have to remain still if they don’t hear “Simon says” before the instruction.

9. Frisbee tossing

A game of frisbee is a great way to have fun with friends or family outside. A frisbee is one of our favourite camping toys for kids as it takes up so little space and is always enjoyed by my kids.

Frisbee Toss is a outdoor game that you can play with family or friends. You take turns throwing the frisbee to each other and catching it, then throwing it again.

10. Hopscotch

Hopscotch is played on a sidewalk, pavement or driveway with a simple chalk board drawn with chalk. Players take turns placing their feet on one of the squares that are drawn out in chalk and then hopping through the spaces to the finish line where they get a new turn.

child playing hopscotch

11. Water balloon wars

In a water balloon war, you have to throw balloons at the other side. It’s a great game to play on a hot day.

12. Create an obstacle course

An outdoor obstacle course is a great outdoor game for children of all ages. You can set one up for one child or lots of children. Older children can even design the obstacle course themselves. When completing the obstacle course, they get to work on their coordination, balance and agility through challenging outdoor stations.

One outdoor obstacle course may include cones to run around, balls to throw in to hoops, something to balance on and tunnels to crawl through.

13. Create your own summer olympics

You could have a whole day or even week of different events for your kids in your own back yard. Ideas for events include who can keep a hula hoop up the longest, relay races, a 100 meter dash (don’t worry too much about how accurate the 100 meters is), sack races and egg & spoon races.

14. What time is mr wolf?

The game what time is it, Mr. Wolf? is an outdoor game for children and can be played by any number of players. The goal of the game is to last in the game as long as possible without being caught. The player who has not been caught is “Mr. Wolf” next round.

Mr. Wolf stands with their back towards the other children, who then ask in unison “What time is it Mr. Wolf?” The wolf answers a random hour of day such as 9 o’clock and the other children take 9 steps closer to him. The game continues like this until he shouts ‘Supper Time!’

When supper time arrives, Mr.Wolf turns around chases the children. If he is able to tag them before they reach home, they become another wolf while everyone else lines up to play again! The last person not tagged wins by becoming king/queen of wolves next round.

15. Duck, duck, goose

Duck, duck, goose is a popular outdoor game for children. All the players, except for one sit in a circle. This one child then walks around the circle tapping each child on the head saying “duck” until they decide to say “goose”. This child must then get up and run around the circle after the first child trying to tag it. If the original child gets back to the gooses seat without being tagged, the goose becomes it and the game continues.

16. Scavenger hunt

Scavenger hunts are outdoor games that require kids to find items and return them to the designated location. The hunt can be done individually or as a team. Hidden objects can be anything from toys to specific flowers! You could even use a printable scavenger hunt such as my free printable beach scavenger hunt.

17. Limbo

Limbo is a game that children enjoy playing. The objective of the game is to get under the limbo stick without touching it. Each round the limbo stick gets lower and lower. The person who doesn’t touch the stick wins.

18. Dodge ball

Dodge ball is a fun outdoor game for children. It is played with at least two teams, each with at least four players and an outdoor ball, in which the object is to score points by throwing the ball so that it hits the opposing team’s members. There are three ways of throwing the ball – underhand, overhand, and sidearm. In this outdoor game for children, players must try not to let other player catches their ball or they will lose a point.

I hope these outdoor game suggestions inspire some fun for your family this summer! I’d love to hear your favourite outdoor games for children in the comment, especially if I’ve missed a really good one.

More ideas for things to do outside with kids

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