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Fun Outdoor Games for Kids

The Bumper Guide of Fun Outdoor Games for Kids

If you are looking to entertain the kids and get them outside in the yard or garden for some fresh air, this resource is full of fun outdoor games for kids which can help keep boredom at bay – with many activities props made from everyday household items. Some great ideas if you are camping with kids too!.

Whether you have an only child or a 5- a-side team, a small outdoor space or plenty, a toddler or a tween, there are lots of fun outdoor ideas for a variety of circumstances included to help keep your kids busy and active; leaving you to get on with working from home, have a cuppa, or the option to join in yourself! If you have younger children or toddlers, there is a dedicated section for them too!

sidewalk chalk game for kids

Outdoor games for one child or more

If your child needs some inspiration and some fun outdoor games to play alone at home, this list of solitary outdoor games for kids has you covered.

dinosaur dig Fun Outdoor Games for Kids
Let their imaginations run wild with a pretend dinosaur dig.

Dig for Dinosaurs

Every time we have seen a kids digging site or mini archaeology dig, my kids have been so engrossed with this fun outdoor activity and played until we needed to drag them away. So how about making your own? Bury any toy or try these toy dinosaur fossils and bones and let your kids dig them out. You can use them in the sand pit or even in a plant pot if you have limited outdoor space. If you don’t have a sand pit, use an old dish tub or use a small paddling pool and try this fun activity with some play sand.

Ice Play

Add some small toys to a balloon or old food tub, or even an ice cube tray, fill with water and freeze overnight. You can add food colour to make the activity even more fun for toddlers or preschoolers as they dig their toys out. This also makes a great addition to your collection of outdoor gross motor activities for preschoolers.

outdoor scavenger hunt for kids
Download a ready made treasure hunt here

Scavenger Hunts

An outdoor scavenger hunt is easy to make or download this ready made treasure hunt one which has another scavenger hunt idea included which can be adapted for indoor use too. Alternatively this Nature Go Find It game, makes a great, quick and easy option. Whether you have one child or three, this fun game can still be played. For younger children, you can either read the clues out, or adapt them by adding picture clues.

Science Experiments

Now’s the time to add a mento to a bottle of cola and watch it fizz, and a zillion other fun science experiments. I used the Usborne Science Activity book when I was teaching at a primary school for some fun and easy ideas with household items. Alternatively, you can buy kits with all the bits needed. We’ve opted for the Galt Body Lab and Galt Science Lab plus slime kits!

Backyard Outdoor Assault course /Obstacle course

All those delivery boxes can now be used for fun as well as other household items.

  • Crawl a set distance or under/through a cardboard box bridge/tunnel. You can also use chairs and add some coloured streamers made out of crepe paper, to make it even more fun.
  • Zig zag along a skipping rope line
  • Leap over flower pots
  • Use a pan and throw a bean bag or soft toy into it.
  • Bricks for a balance beam
  • Designate an area to do a quick task (like jump 3 times, spin around, dress in certain items, or something else).
  • Have them carry something from beginning to end to complete the course.
hopscotch is a fun traditional game

Hopscotch

Set up and equipment: See if you can beat yourself in this traditional game. Use some outdoor chalk or sidewalk Chalk and make a hopscotch grid and then number the squares from one to nine. Try not to set up to close to windows in case of any erratic throws! Then choose a stone or use a beanbag.

Rules:

  • Start by tossing the rock onto square 1.
  • Hop over the rock and hop with a single foot or both feet (to follow the hopscotch pattern) all the way to the end.
  • Turn around and come back, stopping on Square 2.
  • Balancing on one foot, pick up the rock in Square 1 and hop over Square 1 to the start.
  • Continue this pattern with Square 2. And so on.
  • If you toss your rock and miss the correct square, your turn is over. This game can be played with any number of people, but only one person can go at a time.
  • For indoor use you can get indoor hopscotch mats or foam pieces and use a soft bean bag instead of a rock.

Outdoor cinema

Create an outdoor cinema with a sheet on a wall or fence and a projector. Use it to watch fun films under the stars or to help with home school with educational films and TV shows in a different environment. Alternatively, use an old cot or crib side to make a smaller den and kids can cuddle up with their blanket in a cosy homemade tent!

Chalk Art

Get some giant pavement/sidewalk Chalk (sometimes known as playground chalk) and let your child’s creative talents take over.

water play is a great outdoor game for kids

Water Play

Other ideas for simple outdoor games for kids, has to involve water. Grab a bucket or large bowl, add some water toys or fishing toys and the kids can make as much mess as they like! Mine can do this for a while. Add some washing up liquid and the toys get a clean too! Other outdoor water games for kids could include water balloons for a game of catch or to practise throwing skills!

Sprinkler fun

Kids love this simple outdoor activity. If you don’t have one, they are easy to make by duct-taping a plastic bottle to the hose and punching holes in it.

children gardening

Gardening

Springtime is ideal for this fun outdoor activity, but most kids will be happy anytime of the year planting and weed pulling and watering the garden. My girls adore the My Fairy Garden sets so they can role play at the same time. You can also make or buy little insect kits like this cute insect house.

Bury Treasure

Give the kids some ‘treasure’ to bury in the garden or a flower pot if you have limited space and get them to design a treasure map leading to the loot. Ask them to think about a starting place and how many footsteps away and other visual clues etc.

Home made bowling set

Bowling is one of the easiest outdoor games for children. While plastic bowling sets are reasonably priced, this game can be easily made with a ball and 10 plastic bottles from home. Save these from your recycling or alternatively use cans.

Jacks game

Jacks

Set up and equipment: You need a flat and firm surface (but it can be played inside or outdoors), a set of jacks and a bouncy ball.

Rules:

  • Scatter the jacks randomly on the playing surface.
  • Throw the ball and allow it to bounce once, and catch it before the second bounce.
  • Before the second bounce, try and scoop up the jacks and the ball with one hand.
  • The number of jacks to be picked up goes in order. First you pick up one (“onesies”), then two (“twosies”), then three and so on.
  • Video instructions are below.

Bubbles

Always popular! From the simple tub of bubbles to the battery operated bubble machine.

Take the wrapper off first to make it easier for leaf rubbings.

Crayon Rubbings

Take the wrapper off first so the child can rub it lengthwise, then take a sheet of paper, set it on a surface with an interesting texture like a leaf, and rub the crayon over the paper.

Forest Art

Collect twigs, leaves, grass, flowers and make a collage or picture. Don’t forget some craft glue.

Bug inspector

Print out a bug checklist and then pick up a rock, log, brick etc and ask your child to find and identify some bugs. They can then jot down how many legs they have and draw a picture etc. Another option is to use the old school i-SPY books.

Outdoor Activities for Toddlers

The following outdoor games for toddlers are a mix of messy play ideas which you probably like the idea of but couldn’t bear the mess and other outdoor gross motor activities for preschoolers.

Outdoor Water Play For Toddlers & Preschoolers

Toddlers and preschoolers seem to have a fascination with water! And whilst the weather is good, save on mess and take the games outside. Some of the best outdoor games for toddlers are really simple and easy to set up with items you are likely to have at home.

Citrus Fruit Water Play

Toddler enjoy putting things in their mouth, so how about combining this sensory activity with trying new flavours. All you need is a clean bowl and some cut up slices of fruit. e.g lemon, lime, orange, grapefruit. Little ones can splash around and taste with this game.

Rescue Trapped Jelly Animals

This game takes a bit of preparation by putting some clean animal toys ( arge enough not to choke on!) and setting them in some jelly overnight. The next day, your toddler can ‘rescue’ them and nibble at the jelly stuck on their fingers. Finish off this outdoor activity by popping all of the animals into a bowl of water and watch them float and get cleaned at the same time – Plus sticky fingers have a good clean too!

Cornflour and Water Sensory Game

An oldie but a goldie. Just add water to some cornflour in a plastic bowl. Add some scoops or spoons and even some food colouring to this tactile activity. The mixture is sticky to touch but easy to pour.

Splash in Muddy Puddles

Do as Peppa Pig does, and make some muddy puddles! It often is the really simple things when it comes to outdoor water games for kids.

More Fun Outdoor Games for Kids (For 3 or more players)

These games are for larger families, or if you have relatives staying with you that can join in too! Many suggestions are suitable outdoor games for preschoolers but there are a few that older kids will find fun too!

Doggy, Doggy, Where’s Your Bone

In this traditional childhood game, the child who is the Doggy turns around while someone steals his “bone”. You can make a quick pretend bone out of a piece of cardboard or use any object and place it under a chair or behind the Doggy.

While the dog is facing the opposite way, with his or her eyes closed (blindfold is optional), someone quietly steals the bone and hides it by putting it behind their back on sitting on it. Then everyone chants, “Doggydoggywhere’s your bone? When the Doggy turns around, he/she has to guess who stole the bone amongst all the giggly, guilty faces.

Piggy in the Middle

The object of the game is for the players to keep the player in the middle from getting the ball. They have to keep tossing it to each other while the player in the middle attempts to catch the ball. Once he/she catches a ball, the throwing player is in the middle. With younger kids, you could take turns and put a time limit on the time in the middle.

Mother May I or What’s the Time Mr Wolf?

These two classic outdoor games for kids are very similar. In Mother May I, the “Mother” stands with her back turned and grants or denies requests to move forward per individual player. For example, one might ask, “Mother/Father, may I take five steps forward?” The mother/father either replies “Yes, you may” or “No, you may not do that. Whoever gets to ‘Mother’ first wins, and then becomes ‘Mother”.

Similarly, in the indoor or outdoor family game, ‘What’s the time Mr Wolf, the children move closer towards the Wolf, but the Wolf will say the time or the amount of steps all the children can take after they ask “What’s the Time Mr Wolf?” Two O’clock means every child takes two steps forward.

Once the Wolf senses the children are near, he/she replies “Dinner Time” to their question and turns around and catches a child, who then becomes the Wolf.

Here’s one you can download to use. Click image to Print

Trampoline Twister

If you are looking for indoor or outdoor game ideas, how about Twister? If you don’t have the traditional Twister game, make you own DIY version. Get your child to paint some coloured circles, put them inside a clear plastic document holder and stick to a trampoline or to the ground. Make a spinning wheel with cardboard and a paper fastener and off you go.

Outdoor Chalk Games Ideas

Chalk is always a popular outdoor games for kids to do – whatever their age. Get some giant pavement/sidewalk Chalk (sometimes known as playground chalk) and let your kids draw around each other and label body parts or design outfits. They can even design a chalk maze for each other. Have kids design their own web of squiggly lines, circles, and other lines with chalk to design a maze through which others can walk, run, cycle, or scooter. Other outdoor yard games for kids with chalk include:

  • Pictionary with chalk
  • Trace your shadow
  • Avoid the Shark – With different colours of chalk, draw “beaches” various distances apart. Use blue chalk to draw water and shark fins between the beaches and have kids jump from beach to beach to avoid the “sharks” in the “water.”
  • Chalk Bullseye – Like an outside target, use various colours of chalk and draw circles with a bullseye in the middle. You can write point values by each circle for extra maths practise or simply use markers to see who can throw an item closest to the bullseye. You can use plain stones fro markers or get the kids to paint the stones first with nail varnish or acrylic paint.

Nature Outdoor Games for Kids

Watch Butterflies hatch

Buy a butterfly garden and watch the caterpillars grow and feed before they change into butterflies. Educational too and fits well with The Very Hungry Caterpillar book too.

Forest Art

There are so many easy outdoor games for kids involving nature. Collect twigs, leaves, grass, flowers and make a collage or picture. Don’t forget some craft glue. Build a nest or home for a bird or animal, make a number line out of twigs, leaves and moss you can find.

Go on a nature hunt

…or outdoor scavenger hunt and tick off the signs of autumn, spring, summer, winter. Click on the image below to print and use these checklists.

Bug inspector

Print out a bug checklist and then pick up a rock, log, brick etc and ask your child to find and identify some bugs. They can then jot down how many legs they have and draw a picture etc. Another option is to use the old school i-SPY books.

Study the Ecosystem Under A Stepping Stone

Pick up a rock, a log or anything that has been in the same space for a while and see what is living underneath. Kids can make a list, tick off a checklist or draw what they see.

Great resources

Some great resources for other activities and fun outdoor games for kids is the highly recommended Five Minute Mum book which is jam packed with easy, fun ideas for entertaining kids and best of all they 5 minutes to set up & 5 minutes to tidy up!

A  pinterest pin resource full of fun outdoor games for kids. Whether you have an only child, a small outdoor space or more, there are lots of fun ideas to keep them busy.
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