Active games for kids to play outside
No complicated or expensive equipment is required for these children’s outdoor games. Kids are encouraged to use their creativity and imaginations to create obstacle courses, play simplified versions of popular sports, and keep active with other games.
Some games work with one or two players while for others the more the merrier.
DIY Backyard Obstacle Course
Look around the backyard for objects that can become part of an obstacle course.
- Leap from one hula hoop to the next.
- Set out the garden hose and hop back and forth over its squiggling form.
- Crawl under lawn chairs.
- Run around a tree.
- Kick a soccer ball through a maze of toys.
Decide on an order to travel through and then take turns going through the course. Kids can time themselves and try to shave seconds off the time it takes them to go through the entire obstacle course. When it gets easy then change the challenges.
Backyard Bowling Activity for Kids
Create bowling pins by filling six empty two-liter plastic soda bottles half full of water. Twist on the bottle cap.
Arrange in three rows – one bottle, two bottles, three bottles. Roll a softball or similar size firm ball toward the pins.
The player who takes the fewest rolls to knock down all of the pins wins the round.
Volleyball for One
Set up a net or rope so the player can easily get underneath by ducking under the rope.
The player tosses the ball from one side of the net to the other side.
For an additional challenge, the player can use their right hand to catch and toss the ball when they are on one side of the net and their left hand when they are on the other side of the net.
Target Practice Games
Fill an empty dish soap bottle with water and twist on the cap. Set up empty cans as targets.
Take ten to fifteen steps back from the targets. Aim the bottle at a target and squeeze the bottle so the water knocks over the can.
Pick targets around the yard (nothing that can be damaged if a flying disk hits it).
Decide on the order that the targets must be hit.
Each player tracks how many throws it takes to hit each target. Throw the disk from the spot where it lands.
Try playing Frisbee versions of soccer, basketball, or football; just decide on the rules with the other players.
Tag, Races, and Relay Games for Kids
Ankle Races – Players bend from the waist and grab their ankles with their hands. They race to the finish line in this position. If they fall over or drop their grip then they go back to the starting line and begin again.
Jump Rope Relay – Divide the group into two teams. Each team gets a jump rope. Determine the boundaries for the game. Each team divides itself in half so some players are at either boundary. The starting players jump rope from one boundary to the next and hand the jump rope to another player who jumps back. Players move back and forth until all players have had a turn. The team that uses all of its players first wins.
Air Tag – In this running and tagging game, players are safe only when their feet aren’t touching the ground; they can stand on a rock, their hands, or cling onto a tree.
Kids can stay active for a while with this variety of games that can be played around the yard with a few pieces of equipment that they can probably find around their house or yard.