10 Great Outdoor Games for Kids

1. Shadow Tiggy or Tag
Played outdoors on a sunny day. In this version of Tag, you tag the shadow of the person, rather than touching the person themselves. It is more difficult when it is near noon, as the shadow will be much smaller.

2. Character Tag
This is a version of Freeze tag. The person who frees the ‘tag-ee’ calls out the name of a character (book/TV/movie) before the person can be ‘unfrozen’. Each name can only be used once in the game.

3. Spud
Every player is given a number and crowds around the person who is 'it' for that round. The person who is 'it' then tosses a ball straight up and the other players run away. As the ball reaches the top of its toss, 'it' calls out the number of one of the other players and then runs away also. The player whose number was called must run back and catch the ball (or chase it if it is bouncing around). Once that person has the ball, they yell, “Spud!” Then everyone else must freeze. The person with the ball must try to hit one of the players with the ball. Whoever is hit with the ball is now 'it'. If they miss, the person who threw the ball is 'it' for the next round.

4. Red Rover
Divide everyone into two teams, each forming a long line, holding hands, facing the other team. The two teams should be around 20 or so feet apart. The teams take turn calling out, “Red Rover, Red Rover, let <insert child’s name> come over!” That child leaves their team’s line, runs as fast as they can toward the other line, and tries to break through the held hands. If they break through, they get to take someone back to their team. If they don’t, they join the new team. When a team has only one person left, that person tries to break through the other team's line. If they do not, then their team loses. If they do, they gain a player and play continues.

5. Freeze Dance
Choose one person to be in charge of the music. When the music starts, everyone else dances, the crazier the better. When the music stops, the dancers must freeze in their position. Anyone caught moving after that is out. Play continues until there is one person left, the winner.

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6. Duck, Duck, Splash
Played like 'Duck, Duck, Goose'. In this version however, instead of walking around the circle tapping each person, the person who is 'in' carries a cup of water. When the tagger reaches a person they want to be 'in', they shout 'Splash' and tip the water on the person's head. They chase the person around and the game continues as with 'Duck, Duck Goose'.

7. Balloon ankle taps
Start by having everyone blow up their balloons and attaching pre-cut string to the balloon and then tying it to their ankles. They can not shorten the string or tie it higher than their ankle. They will tie one balloon to each ankle. You can colour code balloons for team play, or have an 'all-out' game.
Individuals will then try to pop balloons using only their feet to do so when you start the game. If a balloon becomes detached, the person who had it is still in the game until the balloon is popped.
As the game goes on, shrink the space smaller and smaller. The last person with a balloon intact is the winner.

8. Balloon Head Relay
Organize players so that they’re in pairs and each team receives a partially inflated balloon. When the game starts, teams must race to a finish line carrying a balloon between their heads, remember don’t use your hands.

9. Spider web
A team game which requires everyone to help one another. Set up a rope 'spider-web' woven between 2 trees or poles. You can make it as intricate as you like. The team must have everyone pass from one side of the spider web to the other through the holes in the web without touching the rope on the way. It may need team work lifting one another up. Traditionally the rule has been that each hole can only be used once.

10. T-shirt Tic Tac Toe
Lay 9 hoops on the ground or make a 3 by 3 square grid with chalk/tape.
Use 2 different coloured cloths, one colour for each team- T-shirts are good as they can be dropped without rolling around.
Have kids get in to 2 even teams some distance away (10m or so).The first 3 players in each team have the cloths. One player sprints to the grid with their cloth and drops it in a square/hoop and sprints back. A player from the other team sprints to the grid and drops their cloth in a different square/hoop. As in Tic Tac Toe, players try to make 3 in a row of their colour and block the opposing team. Players can move their own team's cloth to a different square or hoop to make a move. Play continues, rotating through the team until one team has placed the same coloured cloths 3 in a row (horizontally, vertically, diagonally).

Cherise Pendergrast
Auckland
A mum of 3 awesome boys, I was an Occupational Therapist, now training as a Nutritionist. I write content from a parent and health professional's perspective to encourage, enable, empower and inspire.