Outdoor games for kids
While most of the games on this site can be complicated, or involve game pieces, we’ve decided to add a section of very basic games for kids. These games can be a great way to keep children entertained while you play an intense game of Ladder Golf!
We’ve given a few ideas to get you started, and we’ll be adding more all the time. If you have a great game that your kids enjoy, or that you played as a child, let us know!
Multiple Players, divided into two lines
Players on each line hold hands and fac the other line. The two lines should be some distance apart for running back and forth. The first line chooses a runner from the other line to call, saying “Red Rover, Red Rover, Send [person’s name] right over.” That child runs to the other line, trying to break through the hands of two players. If the runner breaks through, he chooses someone from that line and takes them back to his line. If he doesn’t break through, he joins that line. The game ends when all children are in one line.
CAPTURE THE FLAG
Multiple Players, divided into two teams.
Split the teams into 2 areas, like a back and front yard. Each team has an amount of time to hide their flag in their area, or part of the yard.
Once both team flags are hidden, they call out that they are read. Then, the players try to get the other teams flag. Players who get caught or tagged by the opponent in their territory have to go to jail, and can only be freed by a teammate grabing them when the other team isn’t looking.
The first team to capture the flag wins! Most of the time, the team must grab the flag and bring it back to their own side.
Balloon War – Form a few groups. Give each group 5 balloons. Each team chooses someone to guard their balloons. Two or more people get to be the “snatcher”. The remaining people in the teams form forts and guard the balloons . The “Snatchers” try to snatch ballons from the other snatchers and forts. The people that are the must protect their balloons. After a set amount of time the team with the most balloons from other teams is the winner.
Hide and Seek
The game starts with all players in a central location. The Seeker, or Seekers, count aloud or wait a set amount of time. While the Seeker waits, the other players hide. Once the Seeker reaches the set amount of time, they yell “Ready or not, here I come!”. The Seeker then begins a search for the hiding players.
When all players have been found or caught, the next game’s Seeker is usually the first player to be found or tagged attempting to reach home base safely. Alternatively, the players can agree that the last person to be discovered or tagged will become the next Seeker.
Players may move to other hiding spots while the seeker isn’t looking. Those who can remain hidden the longest are considered the best players.
Hide and Seek / Tag – Instead of the Seeker simply spotting players, he or she will have to tag them instead to get them out. Hiders can make a dash for ‘Home Base’, which is usually where whoever is It counts off. Touching Base makes them safe.
Sardines – Only one person hides and the others must then find the person that’s hiding and hide with them. The last person to find the group that’s hiding is the loser. You should always count to about 30 for people to hide.
Man Hunt – Divide everyone in 2 teams. One team Seeks, and the other Hides. The Seeking team must find and capture all the members of the Hiding team and secure them in one place so that they are all in the same place. When the game is over, teams switch sides.
Chain Hide and Seek – The Hiders must join hands with the Seeker when they are found. The Hider then goes along to find the others. Each Hider joins the chain as they are found.
Chase & Hide – a combo of hide & seek & tag: hide, if you get found you can run if you don’t get tagged 1st, and hide again!
Flashlight Hide and Seek – The Seeker holds a flashlight and counts to 50. The Seeker looks for the Hidden players with the flashlight turned off. The Seeker finds the hidden players by shining the flashlight on them. That person now takes the flashlight and goes to find the other hiders. This can go on for a while without having to recount and rehide.
Multiple Players, divided into 2 teams
The object of the game is to eliminate each member of the opposing team by hitting an opponent with a thrown ball, catching a ball thrown by an opponent while it is still in the air, hitting a ball held in an opposing player’s hand with a thrown ball, causing him to drop it, and by forcing an opposing player to dodge out of bounds.
After a player is eliminated, he may re-enter the match if another player on his team catches an opponent’s thrown ball. Players must re-enter the game in the order in which they were eliminated.
Frisbee War – This game can be played indoors or outdoors. Determine a boundary in which all players should stay. Two or three frisbees are used for throwing. Anyone can throw a frisbee to anyone else. If a player catches the frisbee, the thrower is out and the catcher can throw it again to someone else. You play until only one person remains.
Tag is a playground game that usually involves two or more players attempting to “tag” other players by touching them with an object, usually their hands.
Pick Pocket Tag – Put a strip of cloth in each player’s back pocket. Have the players try to grab each other’s strips without having their own strip taken. The player with the most cloth strips wins the game.
Freeze Tag – When players are tagged, they are “frozen” in place. They cannot move and must stand with their feet apart. The only way they can become unfrozen is if a person crawls under their legs. Game continues until all the players are frozen. Then the last person to be frozen is “it” for the next game and the game continues….
Drag the Body
Multiple Players, divided into teams
Give each team a blanket. Have one player from each team lie down on the blanket. The teams must drag the body on the blanket from one end of the yard to the other. Whoever crosses the finish line first, wins.
2 equal teams
Define a playing area at least 40 ft x 40 ft for a 6 person team. Larger for more people.
Establish two goal areas. The object of the game is to drag or carry members of the other team through your goal. Once they’re though the goals, they’re out. Winning team is the one with players still left on the field.
Games from Our Visitors
40 Mile Run
On our block we played “40 Mile Run”. You had several players, one person was selected as “it”. Similar to hide and seek whoever was it would hide eyes and count off to some number while everyone else ran. We also had boundaries, usually 1 square block. Hiding like you would during hide and seek was discouraged. Once the person that counted was finished, off they would go. If they found someone and tagged them, that person was also it now and both would look for other players. The “it” team would grow as the game progressed until everyone was caught.
This is a great game that becomes a challenge for even the most athletic of players when they are running from 15-20 kids at the end of the game. From Jason K.
Kick the Can
As kids we used to play kick the can. This game was played at night, and was the neighborhood favorite. Take a good sized empty can, a #10 is good. Set it upside down under a street or yard light. One person is it. One of the other kids will kick the can as hard as they can. While the person that is it, runs and fetches the can, brings it back to where it started out, and sets it back down, all the other children run and hide. After the seeker gets the can, brings it back and set it down, they go and seek the other players. As the players are found they race each other back to the can. If the seeker gets back first they run to the can and shout jump over the can for (player name). Than that person has to stay there by the can. If the hider reaches the can first they kick the can again and run off and hide again while the seeker again gets the can and starts all over again. If while the seeker is off looking for other players, a player can sneak in and kick the can again setting anyone free that was caught and waiting by the can. This continues until all players are caught. From Vicki R.
Do you have a game that you think should be included here? Let us know!
Thanks to everyone who has contributed!!