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15 Cool Outdoor Games – Active & Healthy Families

Back when we were kids we played outside all the time with other kids in the neighbourhood, we rode our bikes everywhere and we played in all conditions - the heat, the cold and the rain. We played before and after school, we had cool playgrounds in the school yard and we never ever went to our bedroom. Today kids spend only spend around ½ hr outside and some kids don't go outside at all and most kids love to spend time in their bedroom in front of a screen.

Below are some games that we enjoyed as kids outside so turn off the WiFi, turn off the TV and get your kids outdoors.

These games are also for your Child's outdoor party and most of them are for free with no equipment required unlike the part places they have now. All you need is a bit of inspiration and commitment to get your kids outside!

Hide and Seek

Everyone has played this one. Most parents have played with their kids, since hiding and finding is a common interest of small children. Count to twenty and start finding. Sometimes there is a home base that you can run to and tag, becoming “safe,” sometimes you just wait to be found. The general idea is that one person is “it,” that person closes his or her eyes and counts to a certain number without looking and then he or she tries to find the others.
Number of Players: Ideally at least three.
Equipment: None.

 

Kick the Can

This game is a variation of tag and hide & seek. One person or a team of people are designated as “it” and a can is placed in the middle of the playing area. The other people run off and hide while the “it” covers his or her eyes and counts to a certain number. “It” then tries to find everyone. If a person is tagged by “it”, they go into a holding pen for captured players. If one of the un-captured players manages to kick the can, the captured players are released. The game is over once all the non-“it” players are in the holding pen.
Number of Players: Ideally at least three.
Equipment: A metal can.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Traffic Police

This game works best on a street with little to no traffic, or in a large paved area of some kind. You need bikes, wagons, pedestrians, scooters or whatever is available. One person directs traffic to make sure kids don’t run into each other. It is more fun than it sounds, and helps kids learn about waiting to cross the street and about traffic safety.
Number of Players: A small group.
Equipment: Bikes, wagons, scooters, anything on wheels.

Hand Ball

This ball game is played on a square court further divided into four smaller squares, numbered one through four. One player stands in each of the squares, with the highest ranked player in number one, lowest in number four. You bounce the ball among the players, bouncing once in the other person’s square before that person catches it. When I played this as a kid, we had countless additional rules to choose from. The person in square one got to choose the rules. Anyone who violates the rules will have to move down in the ranking, or be eliminated with another player rotating in to square four.
Number of Players: Four, unless you take turns.
Equipment: A four square court or sidewalk chalk, a playground ball.

 

 

 

 

Hopscotch

Use some sidewalk chalk and make a hopscotch grid. Number the squares from one to nine. Pick a rock that is good for tossing. Small ones can bounce too much, and larger ones are hard to throw. Start by tossing the rock onto Square 1. Hop over the rock and hop with a single foot or both feet (to follow the hopscotch pattern) all the way to the end. Turn around and come back, stopping on Square 2. Balancing on one foot, pick up the rock in Square 1 and hop over Square 1 to the start. Continue this pattern with Square 2. And so on. If you toss your rock and miss the correct square, your turn is over. This game can be played with any number of people, but only one person can go at a time.
Number of Players: One at a time.
Equipment: Hopscotch grid, rock or beanbag.

 

Jump-Rope and Double Dutch

One of the biggest ways I spent my recess time was jumping rope... It was fun to jump by myself, but it was even more fun to have a long rope and jump with a couple of friends. That’s where jump-rope rhymes come in. They turn a simple exercise into a fun game, to compete against yourself and others. Then there’s double Dutch.

Number of Players: One for single jumping, three with a longer rope or for double Dutch.
Equipment: One or two jump-ropes.

 

 

 

 

 

Elastics

This game requires three people, or just one or two people with really good chairs. It is easily done inside, assuming a sturdy floor. This game resembles regular jump rope in that you jump. A lot. But you jump in a pattern. Two people (or chairs) put their feet inside the rope and stretch them out, standing far enough apart for the third person to jump between them. The third person, or jumper, faces one of the people holding the rope and jumps in a pattern of left, right, inside, outside and on the ropes. What pattern you use is up to you, but all the players should use the same one. The game is started with the rope around the ankles. Once the jumper does the jump correctly, the rope is moved up to the calves. Then to the knees, then the thighs. Usually it doesn’t get any farther than that. Once you miss, it is someone else’s turn.
Number of Players: Preferably three, but it can be done with one or two.
Equipment: A stretchy-type rope or 5 to 6 meters of rubber bands tied together in a circle.

 

Simon Says

This game can be played anywhere, even in a car or other small space. One person is Simon and starts by saying, “Simon says, ‘[insert action here]’. ” Everyone must then do the action. However, if Simon makes an action request without saying, “Simon says” to begin the request, anyone who does that action is out. The last person still playing in the end will be Simon for the next round.
Number of Players: A small group.
Equipment: None.

 

 

 

 

Tag

It seems that everyone knows how to play tag, but just in case it wasn’t in your childhood game playing repertoire, here is how you play. A group of kids decides who will start out as being “it.” That person chases the other people around, trying to tag one of them with their hand. The newly tagged person is now “it.” There is often the rule of “no tag-backs” where you can’t tag the person who just tagged you. The game ends when everyone is tired of playing.
Number of Players: Any size group.
Equipment: None.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Marco Polo

This variation of tag is played in a swimming pool. Whoever is “it” closes their eyes and yells “Marco!” The other players then yell “Polo!” The “it” person has to tag one of the others, and then that person is “it.” Be sure to play in a pool that is not too deep for any of the players.
Number of Players: A small group.
Equipment: A swimming pool.

 

 

 

 

 

Spud

This outdoor game is a lot of fun. Every player gets a number and crowds around the person who is “it” for that round. “It” then tosses the 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 after 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. If they do, that new person gets a letter (first S, then P, then U, then D) and is now “it.” If they miss, the person who threw the ball is “it” for the next round.
Number of Players: A small group.
Equipment: Playground ball.

 

 

 

 

Cat’s Cradle

This incredibly portable game can be played anywhere. If you are playing alone, you can make various string shapes on your own hands. With two people, you can play a bit of a game, transferring the shapes back and forth and creating new ones. Learn from someone if you can, but otherwise there are some good books on the subject. Make your own string, or buy a book on how to do it, which often comes with a string!
Number of Players: One or two.
Equipment: A string, approximately 36 inches long, tied in a circle (length varies, so find one that works for you!).

 

 

 

 

 

Hand-Clap Games

The first hand-clap game most people have played is Pat-a-Cake with their parents. Songs and patterns get much more complicated from there. Usually there are two people involved, doing a series of clap patterns on their own and each other’s hands while singing or chanting a rhythmic song. There are many rhymes listed online, but if you can learn from someone else or see it in a video, that is best, so that you can get the notes of the song and the rhythm of the clapping. From “Miss Mary Mack” to “Miss Susie” to “Say, Say, My Playmate,” there are countless hand clap games to learn.
Number of Players: Usually two, but creativity can allow for a third or fourth person.
Equipment: None.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Musical Chairs

In a circle, arrange chairs facing outward to total one fewer than the number of players. An additional player needs to be in charge of the music. When the music starts, the players walk around the chairs. When the music stops, players sit down in the nearest chair as soon as they can. The one player who does not have a chair is out. One of the chairs is then removed, and the game continues in this manner. The player that sits in the final chair is the winner. This game is traditionally played inside, but it can also be played outside with outdoor furniture and a portable music player.
Number of Players: A small group.
Equipment: Music player or person making music chairs.

 

 

 

 

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.
Number of Players: Any number.
Equipment: Music player or person making music

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