Here are some fun games and activities that can be played outside with a group of children of any age.
Variations on Tag
The game of tag has so many variations they could fill an entire book. Here are a few ideas to get the children started. Shadow Tag is a variation where the person who is it must tag the others’ shadows with their feet. This one requires a sunny day. Freeze Tag has each person who is tagged stop where they are and stand completely still until they are released by another player. One fun variation of this theme is Toilet Bowl Tag, where the children hold their arms out straight when they have been tagged and another person must ‘flush’ them to release them.
Flashlight Tag is fun to play, but of course requires darkness that might scare younger children. A final variation on tag does not require only one person to be it. Everyone has a strip of cloth or ribbon hanging from his or her pocket or around his or her waist similar to flag football. Everyone tries to grab each other’s flag without losing their own. The person with the most flags at the end wins. Once the kids start to play, they may come up with their own variations. Lucas plays this at sport and they call it ‘cat and mouse’, they absolutely love it!
Hide and Seek
This is another favourite that can actually be played inside or outside. Rules may vary but in general one person hides their eyes and counts to 10 or 20. Once they have finished counting they must find the other players who have hidden themselves nearby. It is a good idea to agree on the area where they can hide before the game begins.
To make it harder, the seeker must not only find the other players, but also tag them before they make it back to a designated home base. The first one tagged is the seeker for the next round. Another variation requires the players who are found to then help locate the other players still hiding. This is another game where children can make up their own rules once they understand the basic concept.
Chalk Games and Activities
Many kids enjoy decorating sidewalks and driveways with chalk during the summer months. There are also several games that can be played once the ‘board’ has been drawn with chalk. The most common is foursquare. Kids draw a large square and divide it into four smaller squares. They bounce a ball back and forth, allowing the ball to bounce once before catching it. Additional rules can be added as the children think of them.
Hopscotch is another game that can be drawn with chalk. If the children are looking for something more challenging, they can draw a large grid that is 10 squares long and 10 squares wide. Each child holds a piece of chalk and chooses one square to stand in. Each player takes turns moving to a new square. They must cross out the square they move from. When they move again they cannot move into a square that has been crossed out or that someone is standing in. The game continues until no one can move.
Blowing bubbles can be a lot of fun whether you make your own bubble solution or purchase pre-made from a store. There is even coloured bubble solution available now. There are a wide variety of bubble toys on the market or you can make your own with a stick and some string. To make your own giant bubbles, tie one end of a long string to a stick. Tie the other end of the string in the middle of the long stick. Dip the string and stick into the bubble solution and wave the bubble wand slowly to create a giant bubble.
There are as many different kinds of ball games as there are types of balls. Not all balls require playing sports, though. A game of horse can be played with a basketball while a football can be used to play kickball. Baseballs and footballs can be used just to play catch. Encourage the children to make up their own games using different balls together. I used to love playing kerby!
Let’s Get Wet
Children and water usually involve a lot of giggling and fun. Kiddie’s pools, sprinklers and water hoses can all be used to create some fun. If you have a sprinkler, it is fun for the kids to run through it on a hot day. You can modify this activity by playing a game where the children stand in a circle around the sprinkler. They take turns trying to touch the sprinkler without getting wet. You are standing next to the on/off dial and randomly turn it on so they don’t know when they will get sprayed.
Spring and summer are filled with sunshine and outdoor fun for many children. This is the time of year when they don’t have to use their ‘inside voice’ because they can get outside to run. These are only a few ideas to get them started on their adventure. What are your favourite Spring games?x