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Summer may still be a few months away but now is the time to plan fun outdoor games to help keep the neighborhood kids entertained all season long. It doesn’t matter if you live in the country with acres between your neighbors or on the popular cul-de-sac in your neighborhood, kids will love these outdoor games! Don’t worry, parents are allowed to play too…sometimes!
Old-School Outdoor Games
Stop for just a moment and think back to your own childhood during the summer months. Were you encouraged to spend your days outside testing your creative limits by making up your own outdoor games or maybe who could run the fastest across the yard? Duck, Duck, Goose might have been played in your front yard along with a game of Freeze Tag if you had the whole kid crew over. Well, it’s time to introduce the neighborhood kids to all those fun old-school outdoor games!
What’s best about these outdoor games is that nothing is required to have on hand, just kids willing to play!
- Freeze Tag
- Simon Says
- Red Light, Green Light
- Duck, Duck, Goose
Outdoor Games Made Simple
With a few toys on hand, you can add to your list go-to outdoor games. If your goal is to have something a little more low-key yet still challenging for the kids, purchase a set of Jacks and watch your kid’s reflexes get better over time. Hula Hoops can be used as intended but get the kids to think outside the box. The Hoops could be rings to bounce a bean bag into at different distances or getting those hips moving!
By planning now, you can be ready for a game of Pyramid Ball Toss. Save your empty cans and give them a good cleaning. If you want to get your kids involved, have them paint the cans to add a colorful touch. Once you have your cans ready to go, teach the kids how to stack them into a pyramid shape. All you need now is a toss line and a ball or bean bag. Have the kids take turns trying to knock down all the cans.
Also, don’t forget about the endless outdoor games kids can create with just a tennis ball or kickball! Bean bags are also a great investment that can be used for multiple types of tossing games.
Get Your Outdoor Game Ideas Organized
To help keep the game ideas organized and prevent the endless questions of “what should we play,” write each game out on a notecard or post-it and cover it with packing tape to help it survive the summer. You can choose to fold the cards and have a child pick from the bag of options or just lay them face down and pick one at random. Having some ideas ready to go, will help the kids get the outdoor games started!
To help ensure different games are played, don’t forget to set the timer and just call “switch” for the next kid to pick a game. Timers can also help with water breaks during those hot days while kids are playing outdoor games.
Another great item to have on hand is a bucket filled with sidewalk chalk! Place your sidewalk caulk in either a plastic bucket or a plastic container with a lid. Brainstorm some fun activities the kids could do to create outdoor games. Once your list is created, just tape the list on the top or side of your sidewalk chalk container. Keeping a list of ideas to get the kids going, can help their creativity bloom!
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Design a fun & colorful hopscotch! It doesn’t always have to be numbers in the blocks but maybe a direction to do a silly thing like jump backward or turn around three times before moving on.
- You or the kids can trace an outline of themselves and decorate their outfits or see who can create the craziest hair. If the sun is out, stand up different toys and trace their shadows. By the end, you could end up with a zoo of animals along your driveway!
- Chalk can also be used to create other games. For example, draw bull-eyes on your driveway for kids to then toss a bean bag towards.
- If your child is just learning their letters and numbers, you can also write out the letters or numbers in a crazy pattern and have your child and others race to find the one called out.
When in doubt, let the driveway be the kid’s canvas! You might find yourself surprised at their hidden drawing talent!
Who doesn’t love balloons! Not to mention, you can purchase a large bag for just a few dollars and bring hours of entertainment in outdoor games. Balloon games may require more supervision from an adult which means, you can join in on the fun! Outdoor games with balloons can be played with large or small groups too which makes them a great option for all different sizes of gatherings.
Here are some entertaining balloon outdoor games:
- Short and Sweet…simply keep the balloon up in the air and don’t let it touch the ground! If you have a larger group of kids, you can always break into smaller teams. Then blow up two different colors and the kids can tap their team balloon back and forth without letting it fall.
- Ready to be silly in this outdoor game? Try a Waddle Race! Simply mark the beginning and finish line for your race. Next, take a balloon and place it between your knees. Now, waddle yourself down to the finish line without dropping or popping your balloon!
- Balloon on the Spoon has a nice rhyme and is guaranteed to get the kids to slow down! Again, have your starting mark and finish line for this outdoor game ready to go. Place a smaller-filled balloon on each spoon and have the kids race to the end!
- Again, simple can also be just as fun. Have two kids face each other to create a balloon “tennis court” environment. The kids can use their hands to hit the balloon back and forth or you can make your own tennis rackets out of painter’s sticks and paper plates.
No matter which outdoor games with balloons you choose, laughter is bound to be heard…and maybe a few pops! Keep your balloon games organized by writing down different game options on a notecard and placing the outdoor game ideas in the bag with balloons. Kids can quickly start having fun without you having to remind them what to do!
Who doesn’t love listening to their favorite songs while enjoying the sunshine? Turn your love of music into opportunities for outdoor games. Each kid can take a turn picking out their favorite song. They can sing at the top of their lungs or show off some crazy dance moves.
You can also modify musical chairs to a game of musical freeze. When the music stops, everyone must freeze! Wobble because you had to freeze standing on one foot, you’re on the sidelines cheering the remaining kids on. Start planning your kid-approved musical playlist so you’ll be ready to go when dance parties turn into outdoor games!
Let the Water Games Begin
The most squeals found in outdoor games can be heard when the water starts spraying! Although there might not be any set game rules in play, activities like water balloon fights are a fun way to get all the kids involved!
Many of the games that you planned for already, can be used in water games as well with a slight twist. Instead of racing with balloons between your knees, grab a bucket of water and race to see who can keep the most in their bucket. You can also do a balloon toss into Hula Hoops or between kids until…SPLASH! If your neighborhood crew is younger, you can always have them paint fun designs or try writing their name with water on your driveway before it fades away.
For kids, any reason to get soaking wet on a hot summer day equals hours of fun! A small kiddie pool can become a great fishing pond with some rings floating. A sprinkler set up for kids to simply jump through can add lots of fun to summer days. Better yet, you grab the water hose and have some fun watching the kids scatter while waiting for the blast of cold water!
Read More: 10 Backyard Water Activities on a Budget
Sometimes a little extra creativity can make a typical indoor activity extra special. Think about the neighborhood kids bringing their lovies for a snack-styled picnic in your yard when you are in need of calmer outdoor time. Then again, on those perfect weather days, go all out with your creativity in making outdoor games memorable!
Obstacle courses can be a great option for outdoor games! You can use pool noodles for kids to crawl through or empty buckets set up for kids to zig and zag through. Some rope turned into a spiderweb can create something challenging for kids to crawl through. Better yet, if you still have your sidewalk chalk, add your hopscotch to your course.
When looking for a creative way to get the neighborhood kids working together or even if it’s just you and your little one, create a scavenger hunt you’ll all enjoy. Take the time to either list or even paste pictures of items kids will need to find. Make your own twist on scavenger hunts! Items could be all yellow or a collection of items kids then use to make an animal out of with what they found. Twigs and leaves with a few acorns can make a great owl.
Do you remember hiding easter eggs for your kids to find? Why not paint some brightly colored rocks to turn into more outdoor game time for the kids? Use your colorful rock collection to hide around your yard for some fun rock hunting. Creative spins on outdoor games can make memorable moments for all involved, kids and parents alike!
Read More: Host the Perfect Summer Picnic
Country Living Outdoor Games
Living in the country, surrounded by plenty of land or woods to explore, can create the ultimate space for outdoor games. It can also create a great space to hang and hammock and catch up with friends. Not all outdoor games have to be large scale but then again, when you have space, go big!
Before kicking off the fun with your outdoor games and keeping the kids coming back, make getting together a little easier and safer. Spend a day creating hiking paths through the woods or mowing a path through the open field. Kids can then get creative with their own hiking markers to make the path extra special. While there is work to be done, you can always turn any time you all spend outside into outdoor games by going on Bug Hunts, seeing how many different bugs the kids can find.
If you happen to have a larger group of kids and maybe some parents too, plan the ultimate game day of Capture the Flag. Be sure to set clear space boundaries so no one wanders off too far in their hopes of capturing the flag. You can include a potluck cookout to end the day with your neighbors along with the best bonfire! Don’t forget to have all the ingredients for everyone to make the gooey smores!
Entertaining Country-Style Activities
Not all outdoor games have to be big productions with lots of kids, especially when open space, trees, and nature can offer many forms of entertainment. Check out these fun activities!
- What kid is not drawn to playing with sticks! Use that interest to build a fort or lean-to with limbs they find in the woods. Forts can be as simple as leaning the limbs against a low branch to create a lean-to all the way to an A-frame style fort. If the plan is for the fort to be a great meeting place all summer long, determine which type of structure the kids could handle building on their own. For example, an A-frame fort requires a long branch braced in the crook of a strong limb on a tree and the other end resting on the ground. Next, the kids would angle limbs along the main branch creating the roof.
- No matter what type of shelter the kids want to build, it may be best to help with the prep work. Help them find a flat area, usually close to the edge of the woodline and away from water. Be sure to clear away any leaves or those pesky thorn bushes too. There’s no doubt forts take some planning and hard work along the way. They do create a fun place for kids to invent their own outdoor games all summer long or meet to discuss the next day’s plans!
- Star-Gazing Night! Spend a little time researching the constellations in your area to look for in the night sky. You can even get the kids to draw out their constellations to use as a reference for later that night. Take your comfy old blankets and make a perfect star-gazing spot in your yard. Living in an open space reduces light pollution so it appears your stars may twinkle a little brighter.
- As you are waiting for the sun to set and night stars appear, let your kids burn the last of their energy chasing fireflies. Fireflies or also known as lighting bugs, flicker in the dimming light and seem to slowly float through the night sky. Kids can gently try to catch a few too and watch the critters crawl along their hand!
- After a good rain, the key ingredient to your kid’s next outdoor games will be ready to go…MUD! Yep, let your kids play with the mud by setting up a Country Mud Kitchen! Pass along a few of your old pie pans or muffin tins for your kids to use outside. Maybe you have a few kitchen spoons you plan on replacing that can be donated to the new kitchen as well. The rest of the supplies come from Mother Nature. Let your kids become the creative chefs they are by making a mud pie decorated with the petals of flowers or rocks as the cherry on top! You may be pleasantly surprised to see how beautiful they can make their mud pie!
There are so many different outdoor games and activities for kids to enjoy all summer long no matter where they live! Even the favorite old-school games can be intertwined with water games to keep things interesting on those extra hot days. Let the kids’ imaginations run wild to see what outdoor games they can invent on their own too! No matter what outdoor games the kids all decide to play this summer, good times and memories will be had by all!
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