It’s summer time! During the summer, we try to take full advantage of the good weather around here by heading outside for about 20 minutes each night with the kids. Next week, we’re going to give the Bunch of Balloons a try (stay tuned for a report!), but for this week, we’ll be playing some simple low-prep outdoor games with the kids. Here’s a few games we’re considering:
This game is best played with 3-4 players and uses a rectangle about 3 x 7 feet drawn onto the pavement and divided into squares as shown below.
The first player throws a stone onto any square and hops on one foot through the numbers (in order) until he retrieves his stone and hops back to the beginning of the course (still on one foot). If the trip is successful, he initials the square and may now use this square as a rest stop, putting both feet down. However, all other players must jump over it. The player with the most initialed squares at the end of the game is the winner.
Scatter gold plastic coins or gold painted rocks (count before you scatter) throughout an open field. On the count of three, have the kids run to find the treasure. The top 3 hunters get to hide the next round of coins.
Begin by marking a start and finish line using ropes or cones. Divide kids into even teams, keeping about 5 or 6 kids on each team. Kids must cross across the playing field using two pieces of newspaper (or cardboard). They cannot step on the grass, but rather must put a piece of newspaper in front of them, step on it, and then put the next piece in front of them to step on onto it. Once they are on the second piece, they turn to retrieve the first piece and put it in front to continue on the journey. Once the first player crosses the finish line, the second player may begin with their own set of papers or cardboard. The first team to have everyone cross the finish line wins. Another variation (for the older kids perhaps), is to cross as a team. Check out this post for full instructions.
In this game, each runner on the team must traverse the course in a different way, according to a card they draw. Make up cards ahead of time (or you could make a giant die to serve the same purpose), indicating ways to move such as skipping, walking, marching, going backwards, moon-walking, hopping, crawling, etc.
Set up a starting line and a finish line with cones or ropes and place some obstacles for each team (try to keep the course identical). Split kids up into two teams. Each player takes a turn going through the obstacle course in their assigned method. The first team to have everyone go through the course wins.
Set up a starting line and finish line and have kids race from one side to the other with fun methods such as standing back to back with elbow locked or by completing the race leapfrog style.
Pick and Cup
This is a simple passing race that is perfect for any age, even preschoolers. Players are divided into two equal teams. The members of each team sit side by side in a line on the ground facing the opposite team. A pile of ten or so small objects is placed beside the first player in each line (coins, candy, buttons, beans, marbles, etc). Each team needs identical objects. All players need a small cup (dixie cups will work). When everything is ready, the leader shouts “Go” and the line leader picks up an object, puts it in their cup and then transfers it to the next player by dumping it into their cup. This continues down the line until the last play dumps the object back onto the ground or into a bucket. When the first object reaches the end of the line, the first player can send the second object down. The first team to pass all the objects down the line is the winner.
These games were found in the book Great Big Book of Children’s Games: Over 450 Indoor & Outdoor Games for Kids, Ages 3-14. Some rules were adapted to fit our group. Find even more games with this PDF from the Scouts organization.