25 best outdoor games to keep kids entertained all summer long (2023)

Outdoor games provide children with valuable learning experiences, social interaction, exercise, and oh, lots of fun!

Our editors and experts carefully select each product we feature. We may earn a commission from your purchases.

Kids aren't meant to be indoors 24/7, and they naturally thrive when they play outside, says Meghan Fitzgerald, a former school principal and co-founder of Tinkergarten, a company that creates outdoor toys for children. Even the simplest outdoor play teaches kids skills in a fun and hands-on way that no other device can—especially not a screen. Kids just think they're playing and having fun together, but in doing so they're also learning scientific principles, having valuable social interactions, exercising and reducing stress, Fitzgerald explains. And while the pandemic lasts, playing outside is safer for everyone.

The dilemma? How to get your kids away from YouTube and video games and into nature. If you are lookinggames in the yard. We'll cover you. These outdoor games for kids are simple, affordable, easily adaptable to all ages, and can be done in groups of two to 100 kids.

Classic outdoor games for kids

They are classics for a reason! These games, which have been around for decades, require little to no equipment, are easy to pick up, and, as you probably remember from your childhood, are tons of fun. Take a trip down memory lane and pass the good times on to the next generation with these oldies but goodies.

Capture the flag

Teamwork is key in this classic outdoor game for kids. Start with at least six players and split into two teams. Mark a specific playing area and create a home base with a 'flag' for each team. In "Go", each team tries to run into enemy territory, steal the flag and return safely to their side. However, if you've been tagged by an opposing teammate, you're frozen and unable to help your team. Keep the space small for younger children, but for older children you can add obstacles and hiding places or play in the dark. You can try this tooglow in the dark versionfor particularly cool effects.

25 best outdoor games to keep kids entertained all summer long (1)Westend61/Getty Images

ghost in the cemetery

Gather at least five children and designate a home base as a safe location. Choose one person to be the ghost. The ghost hides while the others stay at the base and count to 30. Then the children spread out looking for the ghost. If someone finds him, he will shout "ghost in the graveyard!" and everyone will try to run back to base before the ghost marks them. When the ghost marks someone, that person becomes the new ghost. If the ghost doesn't tag anyone, the last child to return to base will be the ghost.


This simple outdoor game for kids is like reverse hide and seek. Start with a group of four or more children and choose one child as 'it'. All the children count to 30 while the child who is "it" finds a hiding place. Then the children spread out and look for the hidden child. When they find it, they hide quietly with the other children until all the children have hidden in the same place or as close as possible without being seen. Whoever finds the spot last becomes "he" in the next round.

25 best outdoor games to keep kids entertained all summer long (2)Thomas M. Scheer/Getty Images

Kick the can

Choose an open area, preferably paved, like a road, and place an empty can in the center. Gather at least four children and select one of them as "Guardian" or "It". The guard counts to 30 while the other children hide. The aim of the hidden children is to kick the can without being spotted by the guard. The goal of the keeper is to protect the box and prevent it from being kicked by marking any child running towards it. Once the child is tagged, it will stay where it is. The kid who kicks the box wins, or the goalkeeper if he marks all the other players. Looking for cheaper activities?

hospital day

Regular tag is fun, but these rule changes can take it to the next level. Choose someone who is "it". This child chases the other children and tries to mark them. Once a child is tagged, they must cover the spot they were tagged with with their hand to continue playing. At the second sign, they cover the spot with their other hand and continue playing. If they get tagged a third time, they will have to go to the "Hospital" where they will be out for the rest of the game. The child who is "it" wins when all other players are in the hospital. The first child in the hospital is next.

25 best outdoor games to keep kids entertained all summer long (3)John M Lund Photography Inc/Getty Images

Rotate the Rover

Divide at least 10 children into two groups. Place each group at separate ends of an open area, e.g. B. a field or a large garden. Each group forms a line and holds hands. One line starts the game by shouting "Red Rover, Red Rover, send X over", where X is the name of a child on the other team. This child then runs across the playing field and tries to break the line at any point. If the child fails, it joins the lineage of that group. If they succeed, they choose a player to return to their original team. Play until all the children are in a row.

Red light, green light

Gather a group of at least five children and choose one to be the lantern. Place the lantern at one end of an open space and the rest of the children at the other end. The traffic light starts with the back to the team. When the kid shouts "Green light", the team runs towards them. At any time, the traffic light can be turned towards the group and shout "Red light", and everyone must stop running. If a kid keeps running a red light, he's out. The traffic light keeps saying "red light" or "green light" until it is signaled by another child, who then becomes the next traffic light.

mother can i

Start with a group of at least five children and choose one to be the "mother". Place the group of children at one end of the open space and place the "mother" at the other end, facing the group. The children in the group take turns asking: "Mother, can I...?" Fill in the blank with a migration request. They might ask things like, "Can I do three hops forward on one leg?" or "Can I do a cartwheel?" or "Can I take two steps back?" The mother then says "Yes" or "No." The first child to arrive and successfully mark the mother is the next mother. This game is also a good way to teach some of themWays to teach your children.

Copy with rope

There are many rope games, but a popular version is to copy the other players. Start this outdoor game with at least two kids, each with their own jump rope and put them in a circle. A child first does a trick – for example, jumping over the rope with one foot. Then the next child performs the first trick and adds one of their own, such as the circle jump. The third child must perform both tricks in turn and add one of their choice. Continue in a circle with each child adding a trick. If a child does not take turns in the correct order, they are out. Continue until only one child remains. ThisJumping sailsthey come in a pack of four with cute animal handles.


chalkit's a wonderful medium for creativity, and while kids love to draw with it, there are also many ways to use it for interactive play. A fun way is to play Story. Choose a large sidewalk or street and give a child some chalk. Ask them to do the introduction to a story as they read it. For example: "Once upon a time there was a puppy..." and draw a puppy. The next child takes the chalk and completes the picture story: "... who got lost in a forest." Each child continues, adding to the picture and the story, making a fantastic story along the way.

25 best outdoor games to keep kids entertained all summer long (4)mixetto/Getty Images


Hopscotch is another classic chalk game. Have the child or children draw a hop board on a flat, paved surface. The table should consist of connected basic shapes whose numbers indicate the order in which they should be jumped over. You may need to help children who are younger or who have never seen a hop board before. Once finished, each child chooses a toy piece (usually a small rock or wood shavings). They take turns throwing it in a field. When the token lands on the field, they jump across the board, but miss where their token is. The first child to complete the entire board wins.


Jacks is a great game when it's hot or the kids are tired from running around. Best played with one to four kids, but you can add more kids if you buy more than onejack set. Sit the children in a circle on a flat, paved surface. The first child throws the crickets into the middle, then picks up the tight ball, bounces it, and makes a jump catch before the ball falls back to the ground, catching it after the second bounce. The child returns the jack and passes the ball to the next player, who repeats the action. Each round, one jack is added to the number you must grab before the ball bounces until the entire stack of jacks is removed at the same time. If a kid misses, he's out. Last child wins. You can also play this song indoors with them when the weather is not goodStrategy board games.

sharks and wasps

This classic playground is best for large groups of kids - the more kids, the better! Identify one child as "Shark" and the rest as "Minnows". The shark stands in the middle of an open space and the minnows line up at one end, looking at the shark. When the shark says, "Fish, fish, come out and play," the minnows walk slowly across the field. When the shark yells, "Shark attack!" All the minnows try to run to the other end of the court. The shark chases the minnows and tags as many as he can. Every tagged player is now a shark. Repeat the round until all players are sharks.


School children will enjoy this classic outdoor game that looks like a card but is played on playground equipment. Start with at least four kids and designate one as "it." The child who is "it" starts on the ground and counts to 10 while the other children climb on the playground equipment. "It" then tries to tag another player. When they are "on" the ground they can keep their eyes open, but when they are climbing the device they must close their eyes. If "it" thinks another player is down, it can shout "Groundies!" and that player becomes "it". A child can also become "this" if it has been tagged by the current child that is "this".

25 best outdoor games to keep kids entertained all summer long (5)Viara Mileva/Getty Images

Sports outdoor games for children

Children are often involved in formal sports teams or clubs from an early age, but sometimes they just want to get out there and throw, kick or hit a ball without worrying about getting a penalty or letting their team down. These sports are fun in any environment and you can complete the theme with themsports jokesYour little athletes will love it.


As tennis's younger and cooler cousin, this racquet sport is also more kid-friendly. The game is played with sturdy rackets and a small plastic ball that looks like a wiffle ball. Children can play in groups of two or individually. Whoever scores 11 points first with a lead of at least two points wins. TheOfficial Pickleball RulesIt might be a little difficult for younger kids, but they will enjoy just bouncing the ball back and forth over the net. Get the whole family to play with himParent-Child Pickleball Starter Set.


The break is calling! grab oneRubber playground balland go to a baseball diamond (or place four diamond-shaped bases in open space). Gather at least 10 children and divide them into two groups. The rules are similar to baseball, but the pitcher rolls the ball to the player, who then kicks the ball and (hopefully) around the bases. Set an equal number of participants and the winning team will be the one who ends up scoring the most runs.

25 best outdoor games to keep kids entertained all summer long (6)RealPeopleGroup/Getty Images


Scoring a ball is a favorite pastime for many children and soccer makes this childhood love one of the biggest sports in the world. TheOfficial Football RulesSet up all the details, but if you're playing for fun, you can keep it simple. Divide a group of at least eight children into two groups. give them onefootballand tell them to shoot it into their opponent's goal - no hands allowed! The team with the most goals at the end wins. It is, by the wayWhy do Americans say football instead of soccer.


American football is a popular sport with children, but an official youth football game requires a lot of equipment, safety equipment and rules, as well as a special field. Fortunately, you don't need any of these to play a fun garden game with your kids. Divide a group of at least eight children into two groups. Set up a field with a goal line at each end and challenge the children to throw or carry the fieldfootballalong the line. To avoid injury, stick to touching rather than grabbing.


Hitting a ball with a racket requires a bit more coordination than other sports, but it's the challenge that makes it fun for kids. The list of official Little League rules is long. So if you're just playing for fun on a summer night, it's okay to play by the "house rules" (whatever you decide!). Go to the local stadium and divide at least ten children into two teams. Take turns hitting and throwing. Hit the ball, round the bases, hit the home run and score a point for the team! Older kids may already have their own gear, but younger kids can use it to get startedAll in One SetThis includes a bat, ball and glove.

25 best outdoor games to keep kids entertained all summer long (7)Kevin Dodge/Getty Images


Nothing but clean! The only thing kids love more than kicking a ball into a hole is throwing a ball into a hole - the beginning of basketball in a nutshell! Go to a local basketball court, bring a ball and divide at least ten kids into two teams. Give everyone a basket and challenge them to pass, throw or jumpBallof teammates working together to score baskets. If you have a child with summerBirthday, Sports equipment is easygift for boysor girl, and you can use it immediately.

Outdoor party games for kids

These lawn toys are perfect forsummer holiday parties, birthday or just a relaxed Saturday afternoon. Play right next to the kids or sit back, relax and watch the kids have fun from the sidelines.

25 best outdoor games to keep kids entertained all summer long (8)Cavan Images/Getty Images


A fun outdoor game for kids and adults alike, this old-fashioned bean toss game is easily adjusted to suit different skill levels by moving the targets closer or further away. It can also be played alone or with others. Start by placing two cornboards the desired distance apart. Children play individually and when it's their turn they can drop three bean bags on the board and aim for the hole. Each bag in the hole is worth one point. It is very easy to make your own cornhole game or you can get oneOriginal set, which comes with boards, beans and official rules.

ring toss

Keep it simple by setting up wooden poles and letting the kids throw plastic rings at them, or up the ante with another creative version of this game. Useinflatable poolRings and let the kids throw them at people. You can also change the difficulty level by using different objects for the rings, e.g. B. Plastic bracelets, hula hoops, rope rings or pool diving rings. Or laugh with himInflatable flamingo hat and rings.

Massive Jenga

Jenga, the classic block-stacking game, is always a hit, but it's even more fun when you play the giant version outside. Take 56 rectangular blocks of the same size and place them in a sturdy tower. Gather 1 to 10 children and have them take turns removing a block and placing it on top. The goal is not to hit the tower. You can make your own wooden blocks orbuy them as a setwith carrying case and rules.

ladder ball

Ladderball looks simple - you throw two golf balls attached to a rope down the rung of a ladder - but it's harder than it looks. Form the children into teams or let them play alone. Each rung of the ladder brings different points. The person or team with the most points wins. TheRallye- und Roar-Setit has three different game options and is therefore suitable for both beginners and experts.

25 best outdoor games to keep kids entertained all summer long (9)Alistair Berg/Getty Images

treasure hunt

Make a list of items you can find around your home or neighborhood - some are easy to find, some are a little more difficult. Gather two or more children and give each a list. The first child to collect all the items on the list is the winner. If you have a large group, divide the children into groups, with one list per group. Lists can be tailored to a theme, for example birthdays or something similarJuly 4th, and you can even buy some ready-madeScavenger Hunt cardsto make things easier. For summer and beyond, you should also stock up on theseclassic board games.

Then look at themThe best children's poolsThis will keep the kids cool this summer.


Zuzana Janekova/EyeEm/Getty Images The hardest puzzles you can buy
diego_cervo/Getty Images The best board games for two
via Amazon.com (4)Card games to play with friends

Popular videos

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Msgr. Refugio Daniel

Last Updated: 10/03/2023

Views: 6084

Rating: 4.3 / 5 (74 voted)

Reviews: 81% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Msgr. Refugio Daniel

Birthday: 1999-09-15

Address: 8416 Beatty Center, Derekfort, VA 72092-0500

Phone: +6838967160603

Job: Mining Executive

Hobby: Woodworking, Knitting, Fishing, Coffee roasting, Kayaking, Horseback riding, Kite flying

Introduction: My name is Msgr. Refugio Daniel, I am a fine, precious, encouraging, calm, glamorous, vivacious, friendly person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.