I spent a lot of time outside when I was little. There was nothing that I looked forward to more than running the streets with my peers. Kids today seem to look forward to screen-time more than anything else, so how can you get those kids outside and moving? With classic outdoor games! They are slowly becoming a lost art, but I refuse to let them fall into obscurity! Exercise is important for everyone!
These are the 15 best low-tech or no-tech outdoor games for kids to play. They can teach just as much as any video game with the added bonus of some exercise! We could all use more of that. Even seemingly simple games can get the blood pumping if you give yourself over to the experience. Get out there and play with the kids! Nothing gets them more amped up than playing with the adults.
Hide and Seek
The seeker covers their eyes and counts to a chosen number while the hiders run and hide. A landmark is picked as 'safe' and if a hider makes it to the safe spot they've essentially won. Anyone who's caught is the next seeker. This is some fantastic cardio, and a game that kids excel at it. They're great hiders!
We all know tag but these variations can give that tired old game some new life. Tag a player's shadow on a sunny day, or with a flashlight beam in the evening! If you're running around at night it would be wise to pick up a few pairs of reflective neon shoelaces to keep all the players safe.
Capture the Flag
This is the pinnacle of outdoor games as far as I'm concerned. Two items are designated as flags, members are separated into teams. The two teams will then try to steal the opposing flag and bring it to their base. Caught players end up in 'jail' but they can be freed by brave souls from your team.
Red Light, Green Light
A stop and go 'race' of sorts. Players will struggle to reach the finish line when the traffic light says 'green light', but stop dead in their tracks when the traffic light says 'red light'. If you catch anyone moving at a red light, they're out of the game until the next round.
Mother, May I?
Players take turns asking to move forward in different ways. 'Mother, may I take two big leaps forward?' and the 'mother' will then confirm or deny the request. If the requester doesn't address mother correctly they are denied automatically.
A square that is divided into four parts? Check. A bouncy red kickball? Check. Then you're ready for four square! Bounce the ball in the other player's square before they catch it. You might wanna spice things up with additional rules. It's not the most intriguing game in my opinion.
Draw a series of squares on the ground. Make it as simple or intricate as you please and proceed to hop in each box on one leg while maintaining your balance. If you care to take it up a notch, throw a stone into a box and that means the players need to skip over it when jumping.
The thing I like about jump rope is that it can be as easy or difficult as the person turning the rope chooses to make it. You can take it slow but when it seems like the jumper has gotten their bearings you can go as quickly as they can manage. The skill ceiling of jump rope is sky high!
Bring enough chairs for everybody except one. Play some music or sing a song and when you stop the players will snag a seat. The one without a seat is eliminated. Another chair is removed along with another player in the next round. The tension between the two last players staring at that single chair is palpable!
Bring Me, Bring Me
This is one of my favorites! With a large group just say "Bring me a blue pen". The kids go scrambling in search of the pen. You can ask for absolutely anything so why not grant some wishes? A group of kids scrambling to grab their parent's credit card and bring it to you? Delightful.
A game that teaches children to listen and serves as an endless fountain of humor? Telephone is a great game. The most children involved the better. They can whisper a secret phrase to each other all the way down the line, or they can create a physical motion to imitate. Repeats aren't allowed. Memorize it the first time around! At the end of the line the phrase or motion is announced, and everyone is shocked at how botched it has become.
The last game we'll touch on is in a similar vein to telephone. 'Simon says touch your nose' means everyone touches their nose but 'touch your nose' shouldn't get a response. It's always fun to fake out kids or ask them to do difficult things like patting your head and rubbing your belly simultaneously. Get as convoluted as you want! If you offer a prize to the winner, you'll be amazed how well those kids can listen!
Staying healthy and having fun with your children is one of the best win/win situations that you can be in. Pull out some of these games and impress those kids with the bottomless ideas for outdoor play that seem to materialize out of nowhere. If you're having trouble finding a group of kids our blog on making friends might help! Find a game they haven't heard of and offer them a new experience! It will be memorable and I guarantee that they'll ask to play it again.
Outdoor games are amazing! You can get the kids outside and moving and you can get yourself out there as well. Just make sure that when you come back inside that your house doesn't end up smelling like stinky sweaty feet! A quick shot with Silly Feet's grape deodorizer shoe powder does wonders to clear the air!