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Best Outdoor Playground Games For Kids

As technology advances, kids are not spending as much time as they should be outdoors. Nowadays, children are choosing tablets over teeter-totters. Outdoor activities allow for mental, physical, and social stimulation. Young children, can learn many skills from outdoor play during this crucial time of growth and development, including counting, discipline, and organization. Being outdoors can improve the moods of children, and game-playing can lead to an increase in confidence. Most notably, playing outdoor games will better the health and wellness of a child. Activities such as running, jumping, and skipping will build upon their endurance, strength, and balance. Socializing with peers is another added benefit of outdoor play. It can teach children important lessons about sharing, making friends, and teamwork.

  • Octopus Tag: In this game, there is only one tagger in the beginning, and they stand still in the middle of the play area. The rest of the children have to run across the play area while trying not to get tagged by the "octopus." If they're tagged, they have to stay standing in that exact spot and should now help the octopus tag the other children. If the last child standing can get through the octopus, they win.
  • Freeze Tag: A group of children is needed for this game. One person is "it" and is responsible for tagging or "freezing" everyone else. Tagging can be a slight tap, nothing too aggressive or physical. If the child is a runner and gets tagged, they have to freeze and cannot move. They should stop and stand with their legs wide apart; if a child who has not been tagged crawls between their legs, they can unfreeze.
  • Hide and Seek: One child is labeled the seeker, and their job is to find one or all of the hiders. The seeker counts to 20, and during this time, the rest of the group hides in a small area.
  • Parachute Games: For this game, a giant parachute is needed. There are a bunch of different activities children can do with their parachute. A decent-sized group is needed to play these games, which are great for practicing teamwork.
  • Four Square: The object of this game is to eliminate players in higher squares. It's played with a rubber ball, and you can create the four squares with chalk.
  • Duck, Duck, Goose: Children will sit or stand in a circle. The child who is "it" will walk around the circle patting the heads of the other children saying "duck" or "goose." When they tap someone on the head and yell "goose," that child needs to chase whoever is it and catch them before they steal their spot in the circle.
  • Capture the Flag: There are two teams for this game. In a defined area, each team hides their marker (flag). The object of this game is to retrieve the other team's marker without getting caught .
  • Mother May I? This staple among traditional children's games lets children practice their manners as well as move their bodies.
  • Spud: A standard soft ball is needed for this game. A group of children will be standing close together. Each of them have a number. Whoever is "it" throws the ball and yells out a number. The child whose number is called catches the ball and yells "spud." They can take four steps, and the other children will run as far away as they can. The child with the ball will then throw the ball (gently) at another player to knock them out.
  • Hopscotch: To create this game course, use chalk to draw out squares or use Hula Hoops. The object is to hop into each square or hoop. If there is one square/hoop, use one foot, and if there are two, use two feet. If needed, numbers can be added to keep score, but a lot of times, this game is just played for fun.
  • Obstacle Course: This game can be set up in many different ways. A group of children can use props and their playground to establish the course. Each child will run through the course trying to successfully complete it.
  • Jump-Rope: A rope is needed for this game. There are two children swinging the rope, one at each end. Once the rope is in the air, the child in the middle jumps up to hop over without touching it.
  • Red Rover: There are two groups of children facing each other in lines, holding hands. Once they decide who they want to send over, the children in one line call out the name of that person. If the child can run through and break the chain, they're sent back to their original team. If they don't break the chain, they join the other team's chain.
  • Kickball: Kickball is baseball's little brother. The child should be using their foot to kick the ball as far as possible. The object of the game is to get around all three bases without getting out.
  • Simon Says: This is a game of copy-cat, one person is the leader, or "Simon." They can yell out a list of things to do such as touch your toes, jump, or sit down. Whoever does not follow all of Simon's commands properly loses.
  • Cat's Cradle: Two children are needed for this game, which is great for practicing social skills. Using a long string, you create the "cradle," and lines and X's can be seen within this cradle. The object is for the other player to pick out all of the X's.
  • Musical Chairs: With a group of five or more children, gather some chairs but include one less chair than the amount of people you have. When the music starts playing, the children circle around the chairs. When the music stops, the idea is to hop into one of the open chairs before someone else does. The child left standing is out.
  • Freeze Dance: Similar to musical chairs, play music and have the children dance. Once the music stops, everyone should stop dancing and freeze. Anyone who is left still dancing or moving will be out.
  • Tug of War: A long rope and two teams are needed for this game. Make sure there is added supervision for safety purposes. Each team stands on different ends of the rope. Using a cone or other object, mark the spot in the middle between the two teams. The object is to pull the other team past the marker.
  • Red Light, Green Light: Children form a line away from the person designated as the stoplight. The child who's the stoplight faces away from the rest of the group and will say "green light," allowing the other kids to move toward them. At any time, the stop light can yell "red light," and all of the kids that are caught moving are out. The object of the game is for the stop light to get all of the other children out.

Find more about the author: Kim Hart