Getting outside, even for a little bit, is so important. Did you know the latest pediatric study says kiddos should be outside at least three hours a day?
Most of the time, I like to let the kids structure their own outdoor agenda – but sometimes they need a little help coming up with fun outdoor games.
The kids and I did some brainstorming and came up with ideas for outdoor games for kids, regardless of the season. Most of these are free or cheap, can be done in your own back yard, and work for kids of all ages. Here are 53 entertaining and affordable outdoor games for kids for every season.
CLASSIC OUTDOOR GAMES FOR KIDS
Horseshoes – If you don’t have a horseshoe set, then put out laundry baskets and toss Tupperware lids!
Binoculars – Use them to look for birds, peek through the trees, or any explore a new park.
Hide and Seek – This game is a classic for a reason — it’s so fun!
Red Rover – This is a game that requires two opposing teams with linked hands, the famous chant “Red Rover, Red Rover send (name) on over!”, and possible injury. But it is fun! The object of the game is to get the most kids from the other team on your side. You’ll need a big open area to play this game, but it’ll be a hit…literally.
Red Light, Green Light – This one is always fun and great for a wide variety of ages.
Bubbles – Blow bubbles, and see how many you can pop.
Hop scotch – Bring out the sidewalk chalk! Have you ever built a spiral hopscotch?
Freeze tag – This old school classic is guaranteed to start the giggles. Tagged players have to freeze in place!
Hula Hoop – If your little one is not coordinated enough, use the hoop for jump-through games or with a bouncy ball.
Tic tac toe – Pull out the sidewalk chalk for an oversized outdoor version. Use different color bean bags to make it a reusable game.
Simon says – Simon says, “Do 10 jumping jacks!” After all that fun, maybe this will be a nap day?
Jump rope – Another classic game that never gets old. A tip for beginners: splurge on this toy. A flimsy, light weight rope is harder to learn on. We like a heavy weight rope purchased from Home Depot, with knots on the end.
Have a water balloon fight – During warm weather, why not have a parents vs. kids water balloon fight? Or if the temps are low enough, fill water balloons and let them sit out overnight (or in the freezer). Pop them the next day for a fun game of ice bowling.
DIY Slip n’ Slide – Get out your official Slip N’ Slide or grab some 3M plastic roll and place pool noodles on the edges to make the “sides” and ta-dah! A huge and awesome DIY Slip N’ Slide that will keep the kids busy for hours.
Duck, Duck, Splash – The Duck, Duck, Splash game is the same concept as Duck, Duck Goose, except you pour a cup of water over the person’s head instead of tapping them on the head and saying “Goose.” Soaking wet fun!
FUN WITH NATURE
Feed the birds – Fill the feeders, make and hang feeders, or throw popped corn out to the singers. We’ve got some fun, nature-based holiday projects (including two bird feeders) for you HERE.
Nature walk – Find a new path near you and see what you can collect in a brown bag. Display it on a table at home to remember your adventure.
Look for animal tracks – After a rain, head out into a muddy area to find some tracks – or make your own!
Treasure hunt – Evergreen trees, acorns, smooth rocks…name your treasure and go on a hunt to see how many collectibles players find.
Grow seeds – Everyone knows you plant beautiful flowers and edible plants in warm weather. Even in winter, you can do some planting. With a little shelter, greens and lettuce do well in Georgia’s winter. Cut a gallon milk jug in half. Fill the bottom with dirt (make drain holes,) and use the top like a green house. The kids can check them every day!
Plant pansies – Use an oversized pot to plant some garden color.
Botanical garden – Gardens bring their own special delight throughout the year. Find a botanical garden near you and spend the day exploring the beauty nearby.
Collect acorns – Can you find 10? 20? 100? Bring them in and use some glue to make an art project.
Hike – Hike a favorite trail and talk about why it’s your favorite.
Visit new state park – State parks are perfect for hiking, climbing, and preventing cabin-fever. Maybe visit the ones with waterfalls in the spring and summer, ones with beautiful leaves in the Fall, or stay in a yurt or cabin in the winter!
A-Z walk – An acorn, a bottle, a Christmas tree, a dog…take a neighborhood alphabet walk to see what you can find.
Magnifying glass – Time to pull out the looking glass and see what’s active in winter. Find any bugs? Get a great look at the tree bark or the winter seed pods.
Plant a tree – Replace the evergreen you chopped in winter with a new baby spruce or cedar. If the ground isn’t frozen, your tree should be just fine. If you’re worried about the cold weather, wrap your new tree in chicken wire and then fill the wire with crushed leaves as insulation.
FUN OUTDOOR GAMES FOR KIDS
Capture the flag – Remember how this game is played from summer camp? Gather the entire family together, pull the rules from your phone and let’s see who wins!
Obstacle course – Run around patio chairs, jump through hula hoops, weave through cones, do five jumping jacks…whatever it takes to get the kids moving in this old-school yard game! You can let the kids set this up too…less work for you!
Play ball – Baseball, basketball, football, bocce ball….it’s lots of fun. Who tosses the ball the farthest? Fastest? Most creatively?
Golf – No clubs? A stick and ball work well too. You can also pretend you’re playing ice hockey!
Catch – Big balls, small balls, over and under obstacles, with and without gloves, close together and far apart…there are too many ways to count – get creative when you catch the ball! Can you do it while holding hands? Just bouncing the ball back and forth can be fun!
Spray paint games – Pull out the spray paint and create your own lawn games. From tic-tac-toe to Twister to hop scotch.
Disc golf – Find a disc golf course near you, or use baskets and non-breakable containers around the yard to build your own. Buy discs here.
Frisbee Run – Who can throw it farthest? Between the trees? Catch it mid-air? Maybe you can throw it and the kids can catch it? Do you have a small one and a large one? Instant science experiment about velocity!
COOL WEATHER GAMES
S’mores – Build a small fire in the patio fire pit and make marshmallow treats. You can also do this over a grill or even in the microwave.
String popcorn – Pop some corn then string it (lots of short strings make you feel more successful). Decorate the outdoors with them, as a feast for the birds.
Hot cocoa or slushy drinks wagon rides – Take a neighborhood walk with a fun drink, blanket and the wagon. They can pull a favorite toy along (and you will probably end up pulling them home – but it is fun exercise)!
Watch your breath – A frosty morning? Try blowing your breath in the air. Who can make the biggest cloud?
OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES FOR KIDS ANYTIME
Stick fort – Sticks and twigs are usually easy to find. Look for the large ones and create a teepee or fort. If you can only find a few, supplement with an old sheet.
Take pictures outside – Give your kiddo the iPhone or a camera and let them take shots of things that interest them.
Go cardboard box sledding – We don’t need snow! Use a cardboard box to slide down your nearest hill. It’s a great way to get some sledding in during the summertime!
Walk the dog – Don’t have one? Borrow the neighbor’s.
Have a picnic – No matter the season, picnics are always in style. In the winter, bundle up with care, pack hot cocoa or a thermos of soup, and have a wintery picnic. In warmer months, cut up fruit, make some sandwiches and grab some juice.
Paint Rocks — Paint some rocks outside with colorful decorations or fun sayings, and then hide them outside for someone to find!
Photo scavenger hunt – Something red, something square, something growing, a mail-delivery device…have them use the camera to capture the moment.
Stick course for race cars – Collect sticks of all lengths, then connect them on the driveway to make a course for the hot wheels.
Trampoline – Jump jump jump the wiggles away!
Outdoor art – Find a special outdoor art installation. Whether it’s murals painted on the sides of buildings, or statues or monuments, there is sure to be something amazing to see nearby.
Start a compost pile – You don’t have to buy a fancy compost bin to start building better soil and recycling food waste. Dig a hole, or build walls with pine straw bales. Teach your kids about what goes into a compost bin, and about how to create green and brown layers.
Litter pick up – Get the wiggles out while making the earth more beautiful. Kids will love to put on plastic gloves. Give each kid a bag and a mission at the park – find the most trash, find the smallest piece of trash, the largest, a red piece, a blue. It becomes a scavenger hunt for the greater good.
Sing with the band – We love to play our instruments, but sometimes my inside musicians can create a bit of havoc. Time to take the band outside! Bring the instruments and march around the yard, creating a new song as you go.
Geocaching – I’ll be honest, we are addicted to this! It is a wonderful way to find new places and create new adventures. If you don’t have a GPS, many phones can fill the gap.
Color hunt – Pick a color aaaannnndd GO. Find as many things with that color as you can. Green and brown are easy ways to start.
Sock snowball fight – You can have a snowball fight without snow. Use balled-up socks. Man each child with about 10 pairs and a shield (cardboard sheets are great for this) and let the games begin.
EASY THINGS TO DO OUTSIDE (printable)
Downloadable Easy Things To Do Outside list to print at home or your local print shop. Perfect to keep in a binder, bring on your adventure or just put on the refrigerator!
(PS. A lot of this list is detailed in our article, 99 Insanely Fun Things To Do Outside (That Are Cheap and Easy).)
Format: PDF, US Letter Size, Portrait (8.5”x11”)
You will receive one PDF file. File will be emailed and available for download up to three times upon payment. No physical item will be shipped.
MORE FUN WITH KIDS:
- WINTER FUN: 51+ Super Fun Things To Do With Your Kids This Winter
- VOLUNTEER: 13+ Perfect Atlanta Volunteer Opportunities for Kids and Their Families
- SUMMER FUN: 67+ Kid-Friendly Things To Do In Atlanta This Summer
- FALL FUN: 43+ Freaking Fabulous Ways To Cozy Up To Fall In and Around Atlanta
- SPRING FUN: 13 Perfect Spring Break Ideas for Fun-Loving Families
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