Cool games to play outside

Table of Contents

When I was a kid, we played outside with the other kids in the neighborhood with most of our free time. We also made the most of recess at school. We kept ourselves quite occupied without any of today’s modern technologies. Listed below are some no-tech games that you may have enjoyed as a kid. I sure did. Some can be done indoors. Some can be done by yourself or with just one friend. But most of them are best when done outside with a group of people. Also, most of these games can be changed or improved by making up your own rules. Use your imagination!

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. I’ve heard of all kinds of variations on this game. Sometimes you count to twenty, sometimes ten, sometimes one hundred. 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.

Capture the Flag

This game is most fun when played with a large group. Split the group into two teams, each team having a flag or other marker at the team’s base. The object of the game is to run into the other team’s territory, capture their flag and make it safely back to your own territory. You can tag “enemy” players in your territory, sending them to your jail. They can be sprung from jail by a member of their own team running into your territory, tagging them and running back, with one freed person allowed per jail break. It is sometimes played that all the people in jail could hold hands and make a chain back toward their own territory, making it easier for members of their team to tag them. We also played a similar game called Steal the Sticks. It had almost the same rules, but several sticks were used instead of one flag. Number of Players: A large group. Equipment: Two flags or other markers.

Parachute

Fun for kids of all ages, this game involves a large round parachute, preferably with handles, with people holding the parachute all around the edges. It helps if someone is in charge telling people what to do. Players can just ruffle the parachute up and down a little bit, they can go all the way up and all the way down, or all the way up and then run underneath, sitting on the edge of the parachute, which can create a bubble of air with everyone inside. Players can also place light objects such as wiffle balls or beanbags on top of the parachute, and make them jump by ruffling the parachute. Also, one person can sit in the middle of the parachute and everyone ruffles it near the ground. If there is a smooth floor and a light child, the child can sit in the middle on top of the parachute and everyone else can walk partway around still holding the parachute edge. Then everyone pulls backward, spinning the child. There are countless variations. Number of Players: Depends on the size of the parachute, but usually eight to ten. Equipment: A play parachute. These aren’t as hard to find as you would think. Try here and here.

Traffic Cop

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.

Four Square

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. If it’s raining or dark or too cold, you can get indoor hopscotch mats or foam pieces, or just find a pattern on the floor to follow, perhaps using a beanbag instead of a rock. 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 as a young girl was jumping rope. I got quite good at it for my age, both in speed and in skill. 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. I was always in awe of the older girls who could do double dutch. The first time I tried it, I got tripped up almost immediately. However, once you understand how to do it, it isn’t as hard as it looks. Number of Players: One for single jumping, three with a longer rope or for double dutch. Equipment: One or two jump-ropes.

Chinese Jump-Rope

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.

Jacks

This game can be played on any flat surface, indoors or out. The player scatters the jacks on the playing surface, often by just tossing them out of one hand, as if rolling dice. The ball is then tossed up, is allowed to bounce once, and is caught before the second bounce. The player tries to scoop up jacks and catch the ball with one hand before the ball’s second bounce. The number of jacks to be picked up goes in order. First you pick up one (“onesies”), then two (“twosies”), then three and so on. There are many variations to the rules of this game including things like “pigs in the pen” and “double bounces.” Jacks is one game I wish I had played as a girl, but it was much more common when my mom was a child. Number of Players: Any, taking turns. Equipment: A set of jacks and a small rubber ball.

Marbles

The general rules specify that you draw a circle in the sand or on the sidewalk, and then take turns trying to knock each other’s marbles out of the circle with your one large marble. As with the other games, there are countless variations. I haven’t played this game at length, though, because I always seem to hurt myself flicking the large marble into the ring! You can also use a marble mat which contains different point zones. Number of Players: At least two. Equipment: Chalk, large and small marbles.

Red Light, Green Light

With enough room, this game can easily be played inside. One person is the traffic light at one end, and the other players are at the other end. When the traffic light faces the group, he or she says, “Red light!” and everyone must freeze. The traffic light then turns his or her back and says, “Green light!” while the group tries to get as close to the traffic light as possible. The traffic light turns around quickly, again saying, “Red light!”, and if anyone is spotted moving, they have to go back to the starting place. The first person to tag the traffic light wins and gets to be the next traffic light. Number of Players: A small group. Equipment: None.

Mother, May I

This game is set up in the same way as Red Light Green Light. One person in the group asks the person in the front, “Mother, may I take steps forward?” The person at the front then says, “Yes, you may.” or “No, you may not.” You can vary your requests by including options such as taking baby steps, spinning steps, leaps or whatever strikes your fancy. Again, the first person to tag the person in the front wins and is the next person in the front. Number of Players: A small group. Equipment: None.

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, ”. ” 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.

Shadow Tag

In this fun version of Tag, you tag each other’s shadow with your feet instead of tagging their body. Thus, it must be played on a sunny day. The closer to noon, the greater the difficulty. Number of Players: A small group. Equipment: None.

Freeze Tag

This is a variation of Tag where if the person who is “it” tags you, you have to freeze where you are. Another participant can tag you to unfreeze you. Number of Players: A small group. Equipment: None.

TV Tag

A variation of Freeze Tag where the person unfreezing the frozen player has to call out a TV show title. That show then can’t be used again during that game. Number of Players: A small 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.

Blind Man’s Bluff

A favorite game in Tudor and Victorian England, this game is yet another variation on tag. The person who is “it” wears a blindfold and tries to tag the other players. Be sure to play this in an area safe from obstructions and other hazards. Number of Players: A small group. Equipment: A blindfold.

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 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 only has one person left, that person tries to break through the other team. If they do not, then their team loses. If they do, they gain a player and play continues. Number of Players: Any decent size group. Equipment: None.

Heads Up, Seven Up

Dating back to at least the 1950s, this game is one we played in elementary school. In my experience, it was usually done in the classroom with everyone at their desk. To start the game, seven players go to the front and the teacher says, “Heads down, thumbs up!” Everyone still at their desk puts their head down, extends an arm and stucks their thumb up. The seven kids that were at the front go around and each press one person’s thumb down. Then they all go back to the front of the room and the teacher says, “Heads up, seven up!” The players at the desks raise their heads and the seven whose thumbs were pressed down stand up. Each in turn names the person they think pressed down their thumb. If they are correct, they change places with the presser. Then the game can start again. Number of Players: Minimum of 14. Equipment: Desks at which to sit.

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.

Button, Button, Who’s Got the Button?

Played inside or outside, the group sits or stands in a circle and holds their hands together in front of them. One person takes the button and goes around the circle, pretending to put the button in someone else’s hands. They actually deposit the button in one person’s hands, but then continue the rest of the way around the circle, pretending to put it in everyone else’s hands. Then going around the circle, each player tries to guess who has the button now. Before each person’s guess, the group asks together, “Button, button, who’s got the button?” Then the player can state their guess. Once the player with the button is finally guessed, that person distributes the button during the next round. Because a button is used in this game, be sure that all the kids playing are old enough so as to not choke on the button. In another version of this game (and the one that I am more familiar with), one child stands in the middle of the circle, and the button gets passed around the backs of the rest of the group. Those without the button pretend to pass it. When the passing stops, the player in the middle has to guess as to who actually has the button. Number of Players: Any size group. Equipment: A button.

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.

Crack the Whip

Though often played on ice while wearing skates in the winter, this game is much safer, though possibly less fun, when played on grass. All the players hold hands in a line. The person at one end of the line skates or runs around, changing directions quickly. The tail of the “whip” of players tends to get moved around with a lot more force than players closer to the front. The longer the tail, the harder it is to hold on. If the players at the end fall off the end of the tail, they can attempt to get back on, perhaps in a position closer to the front. Number of Players: A small group. 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.

Telephone

This game is one in which most people end up laughing quite a bit, so if you’re in the mood for silliness, give it a go. Players sit in a circle. One person thinks up a sentence or phrase and whispers it to the next person. That person repeats it to the person on their other side. This continues around the circle. When it finally reaches the last person, that person says the sentence out loud. Hilarity ensues. The ending sentence is usually quite changed from the beginning sentence, since errors tend to compound as they go around the circle. Number of Players: A small group. Equipment: None.

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. You can find more activities in The Dangerous Book for Boys and The Daring Book for Girls, as well as some jump rope and hand clap rhymes.

Note: This post is sponsored by CLIF Kid, all opinions are 100% my own!

Maxwell loves to be outside! In fact, “ou-side” was one of his first words. So, when CLIF kid asked me to host a play day at the park for kids, I was absolutely on board! I chose a shady park with a large cement slab so that we could have swings, slides, and creative play time outside. CLIF Kids is all about reclaiming play, and getting kids to Come Out to Play! So, I put together 10 fun games to play outside with kids of all ages. Best part? You don’t need a lot of extra stuff for any of these outdoor games for kids.

10 Fun Games to Play Outside

1. Nature scavenger hunt

I simply set this chalk board up at the entrance to the playground so kids could see it and go on a hunt as soon as they arrived. I had multiple kids bring me their heart shaped rocks. I love that this game can be structured or open ended for kids to complete on their own time. The nature scavenger hunt could easily be a team game with prizes given away to the team who finds the goods the fastest. (Photograph by Sarah Siller)

2. The Shape Game

This game works really well with the 2-4 crowd. It’s also perfect for teaching toddlers their shapes. Best part? All you need is chalk and a cement slab to play!

3. Bean bag tic tac toe

I drew a simple tic tac toe on the ground with a piece of chalk and left bean bags near by. The kids (and adults) knew what to do right away!

4. Side walk obstacle course

I doodled a simple obstacle course on the sidewalk that led to the park. It was fun to see kids and parents skipping, hopping, and twirling into the park! Again, this could be more structured or even have 2 set up next to each other and make it a race!

5. Sidewalk ABC’s

This is probably my outdoor game for kids! Although it is not exactly a game, and more of an outdoor activity. All you need is a sidewalk and chalk. Then divide the sidewalk into 26 segments and write one letter of the alphabet in each square. Encourage kids to draw pictures of things that start with the letter in the square. For example, B is for ball, bat, and balloon! C is for cow, cat, and CLIF bar!

6. Hula hoops

Kids (and adults) of all ages love hula hoops! You can roll them, use them as a jump rope or even use hula hoops as stencils for chalk drawings!

7. Jump ropes

Jump rope can be used as props for chalk drawings, and of course for jumping rope! Maxwell is a pro jump roper!

8. Constellation rocks

I printed off these 3 constellation sheets for free, stuck them in page protectors and laid them on the ground next to chalk! Check out the awesome constellations that were made with playground rocks and chalk! Can you guess which one this is?

9. Shadow tracing

This one works best with 2 people, one as the shadow model and one as the artist!

10. Sorting by color

This is a fun game for kids of all ages to do together! You can use whatever toys you have on hand along with items from nature to fill the chalk colored circles! Think: flowers, leaves, rocks, and even the chalk itself!

Outdoor Games for Kids (Ages 4+)

These are classic outdoor game to play with any large group of kids!

11. Four Square

This is a classic game that everyone knows how to play! Use chalk to make a fancy court, and grab a playground ball. Just in case, here are the official rules of four square.

12. Red Light, Green Light

One person plays the stop light and all of the other players are on the start line. The stop light turns their back and the players run until the stop light turns back around and yells red light. The stop light gets to determine if anyone is still moving and those players have to back to start. The first player to reach the stop light wins the games and gets to be the next stop light.

13. Mother May I

One player is the mother and the other kids are the children. The mother lines up at one end of the room and the children at the opposite end. The mother starts the game by requesting a child to move in a certain way. The child must ask, “Mother May I?” after the moves have been said. If the child forgets to say, “Mother May I?” the child has to go back to the starting point. The goal of the mother is to bring everyone to the finish line as equally as possible. Here are some example moves that the mother might say:

  • Take x# steps forward
  • Take 1 big leap forward
  • Take x# sideways steps
  • Hop forward like a frog x# of times
  • Take 1 cartwheel
  • Walk on your hands until you fall over
  • Take 10 baby steps forward
  • Take x# of long jumps forward

14. Red Rover, Red Rover

To organize a good game of Red Rover you will need at least 20 kids. Have the kids number off and make 2 lines of 10 kids each. The lines should be about 30 feet apart and the kids will hold hands or link arms. Team 1 starts the game by calling out, “Red Rover, Red Rover let (player from opposing team) come over!” The goal is for the player that was called over to run across and break the link of the other team. If the link is broken, that team member gets to pick one person to bring back with them to their team. If the link is not broken, the child joins that team.

15. Simon Says

One player is Simon and all of the other players stand in front of Simon. Simon tells players to do various moves, but the players should only obey commands that begin with, “Simon Says”. For example, if Simon says, “Simon says clap your hands.” Players must clap their hands.

What is a play day without food! After all, kids need to feed their adventures with some healthy snacks! I love that CLIF kid snacks have no high fructose corn syrup, synthetic preservatives or artificial flavors. High five to that. Oh and Maxwell approves, I think he ate at least 4 CLIF kid bars that morning. “Bars” are always a winner in our house.

Playing outside was a huge part of my childhood, and I’m pretty excited that Maxwell is an outdoor lover too! How often does your family play outside? Have you ever tried CLIF kid snacks? Check out my co-host, Heidi with Free Fun in Austin’s, post with more cute pictures and lots more information about one of our favorite Austin parks, Patterson Park!

15 Classic Yard Games for Kids

It’s time to drop your iPhone, drag the kids away from the tablets, and send them out the back door to play enough of the old-school yard games listed below to make them break a sweat and earn that popsicle. You can either join in or finally attempt the near-impossible moves on that PiYo DVD in peace. Keep reading to get started.

photo: Craig via Flickr

1. Kickball
This classic outdoor game requires a group, so it’s a perfect option for a block party. It’s also a great way to get neighborhood kids together on an open weekend day. All you need is a rubber kickball, four bases, an infield, an outfield and a pitching plate. Not surprisingly, the rules are very similar to the game of baseball, and Kids Sports Activities has play-by-play information.

2. Freeze Tag
Best played with a large group, one play is “IT,” and, like regular tag, they race around trying to touch other players. When she does catch someone, that player has to freeze in his spot. Each player can only be unfrozen if someone else touches him. The first person to move after being frozen is now “IT!”

3. Hide and Seek
Let your kids entertain themselves with endless rounds of what might be the most classic game of all time.

4. Blind Man’s Bluff
This classic game is like the thinking man’s tag or a slow-mo version of it anyway. And it’s the perfect pace for grandparents to get in on the fun. All you need is a blindfold and a few players to start. Put the blindfold on the Seeker; then spin her around a few times while the other players scatter. Now it’s time to seek. Using her keen other senses, the Skeeker tries to tag the scattered players who are rooted in place. Sure, they can duck and dodge her outstretched arms, but they can’t move their feet. It’s a giggle-worthy game everyone can play!

5. Capture the Flag
This game requires a few players, so it’s a great one for family reunions, neighborhood gatherings or vacations with friends. Each team attempts to capture the other team’s flag, which is located at the other end of the playing field, at “home base.” Players can tag members of the other team when on their side, sending them jail. Get your teammates out of jail by crossing into enemy territory and tagging each one. First team to capture the flag wins!

6. Red Rover
This one is a recess staple. Two groups of kids interlace their arms in two rows facing each other—the rows spaced a distance apart. One group of children calls, “Red Rover, Red Rover, send (child’s name) on over.” The child who has been called runs toward the opposite line and tries to break through. If he/she is able to break it, he/she takes a kid from the broken line back to his/her original line. If the child doesn’t break through, he/she joins the opposing line.

7. Sly Fox
Fun fact: in France, this game is called, “One, Two, Three, Piano!” To play, the child chosen to be the “fox” faces away from the other children, standing by a wall or an imaginary line. The other children must stand in a line at a distance. When the fox isn’t looking, the other children must run or walk to get closer to the fox. If the fox turns around, however, the other children must freeze. If the fox sees someone moving, that child must go back to his/her starting place. The first child who tags the fox without being seen moving wins that round and becomes the fox for the next round!

photo: Ginny Figlar via Flickr

8. Hopscotch
Using chalk (or paint, if you’re at home and want a permanent fixture on your driveway!), draw a hopscotch design on asphalt or concrete (see here for an example). The first child takes a turn throwing a small stone or similar object (i.e. a bean bag, shell, small toy) onto the first square. (The child loses his/her turn if the stone lands on a line or outside the square, and passes the stone to the next child in line.) The child hops on one foot into the first empty square (i.e. skipping square one) and every subsequent square, jumping with both feet at the pairs (4-5 and 7-8). When the child reaches square 10, he/she hops with both feet, turns around, and heads back to the beginning. When he/she reaches the marked square, the child picks up the stone while still standing on one foot and completes the course. If the child completes the whole course without falling or missing a square, he/she throws the stone to the subsequent square (i.e. square two) on his/her next turn. The first child to get all the way to square ten wins!

9. Simon Says
Give your bossiest cherub a permissible outlet! One child is designated “Simon” and stands in front of the rest of the group of children. Simon then issues commands to the players, i.e. “Simon says pat your belly three times with your left hand.” The children must only follow commands preceded by the phrase, “Simon says.” If Simon simply says, “Touch your nose,” any players who follow the command are out of the game. The objective is to stay in the game as long as possible.

10. Mother May I
One child is chosen to be the “mother” or “father” or “captain.” The other children stand in a line at a distance. Each child takes a turn asking the mother if they may make a certain movement, always preceding their request with, “Mother may I …” (i.e. “Mother may I take five bunny hops?”). If the child forgets to say, “Mother may I …” before the request, he/she must return to the starting line. The mother either says, “Yes, you may,” or “No, you may not, but you may … instead.” The first person to reach the mother wins and becomes the mother in the next round.

11. Duck, Duck, Goose
You may have played this game at every birthday party until you became “too cool” in, say, second grade. Start by designating one child “it.” The rest of the children sit in a circle on the ground. The standing child walks around the circle, tapping each child (gently!) on the head saying “Duck!” each time until he/she decides to tap someone and say “Goose!” That child leaps up to chase the “it” child around the circle, attempting to tag the “it” child before he/she reaches the Goose’s seat again. If the “it” child sits in the Goose’s spot before being tagged, the Goose now becomes “it.”

photo: David Salafia via Flickr

12. Jump Rope Rhymes
There are too many songs to count: Bubble Gum, Cinderella Dressed in Yella, Down in the Valley, Grace Dressed in Lace. And these energy-burners boast an assortment of educational perks: coordination, memory, balance, and teamwork, to name a few!

13. Hand Clap Games
Like jump rope rhymes, there are too many to count: Miss Mary Mack, Down Down Baby, Miss Susie, Lemonade Crunchy Ice, even Patty Cake—who knew these throwbacks to your childhood were great for bilateral coordination, memory, and cognitive skill building?

14. Red Light, Green Light
One child is designated the “stop light” and stands at a distance from the other children, who are in a line. When the stoplight says, “Green light!” everyone moves toward the stoplight. All children must immediately stop when the stoplight says, “Red light!” (or the child must return to the starting point). Start a new round when one child reaches the stoplight.

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15. Four Square
You might remember this game leading to some heated playground competition. To play, draw a large square divided into four quadrants, with one child standing in each square. Additional children wait their turn in line. The head place is designated, “King.” The King makes rules the others must follow throughout the game (there are countless variations—check this list out for ideas). Each player in the square must hit the ball once, based on the “rules” of the King. Once a player makes a mistake, he/she leaves the quadrant is sent to the back of the line and another player comes into the first quadrant. The goal is to reach the King quadrant and take everyone’s recess snacks. Just kidding.

—Katie Brown

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Feature photo: Robert Collins via Unsplash

30 Unorganized Sports You Should Teach Your Kid This Summer

Organized sports are great, but they’ve got some strikes against them, notably rules, equipment, and did we mention rules? Sometimes you need an outdoor game you can just play without much effort that invites a little bit of reckless chaos that doesn’t come with kids’ games filled with rules and regulations. Making a truly iconic outside game for kids to play that is low on organization can be a surprisingly tricky task, as the best require almost zero planning, minimal organization, and no safety equipment while still being a blast for your kids. Though honestly, even the worst outside games, refined over the years while being passed down from one lightly bruised generation to the next, are still pretty great.

To qualify for this ranking, games had to be simple enough that they could be explained to a 5-year-old in the space of two minutes yet have a sophisticated enough structure that winner and loser can be clearly delineated. Do the rules change? Sure. Are there myriad versions of these fun games for kids? Absolutely. We haven’t even begun to crack the rich tradition of regional games. Does that matter? Absolutely not, because these outdoor games for kids are awesome, simple, fun, and easy to organize — though that might not be the right word.

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With that in mind, here are our 30 favorite unorganized sports that you should probably teach your kid as summer rapidly approaches. From Kick the Can to Duck Duck Goose to plain old Tag, all of these activities have two very important things in common: They are light on rules and heavy on fun. Let the games begin…

30. Johnny on the Pony

How to Play It: One team crouches in a line, with their arms locked around each other’s waists. Essentially forming a wall. The other team jumps on top of the line with the intent of staying on. If everyone makes it to the top, they win if they can shout “Johnny on a pony!” three times before the bottom team can shake them off.

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What Makes It Great: This game is pure madness in the best way possible. Also, good practice for future rugby players.

29. Marco Polo

How to Play It: Everyone has to be in the pool. One person closes their eyes and counts to 10. That person then says, “Marco.” Everyone must reply “Polo.” “It” person has to try to catch one of the swimmers. No getting out of the pool, cheaters.

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What Makes It Great: Exceedingly simple to organize — and, as it’s all about stealth; kids tend to stay pretty quiet.

28. Kick the Can

How to Play It: One person is charged with protecting a can (or whatever) while other participants attempt to run up and knock it over. The catch? The kickers hide and join the protectors’ team if tagged. The rules can lead to an impasse, but when they don’t it’s a blast.

What Makes It Great: You get to briefly live the life of a hobo during the great depression.

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27. Steal the Bacon

How to Play It: Teams are divided evenly and each person is designated a number. Each team stands on opposite sides with a shoe sitting in the middle (doesn’t have to be a shoe, just something easy to hold). When a number is called, the designated players from each team run for the coveted item and try to get it back to their side. If you succeed, you get a point.

What Makes It Great: Direct competition; plus, the designated caller can set up quality rivalries.

26. Freeze Tag

How to Play It: If the “it” person tags you, you are frozen. You can only be unfrozen if a fellow non “it” player tags you. If everyone is frozen, the “it” person wins.

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What Makes It Great: It’s tag, but encourages teamwork.

25. Arm Wrestling

How to Play It: Two participants put their elbows on a steady surface and grip each other’s hands. Whoever can get the other person’s hand to touch the surface wins. No use of second hand and no lifting elbow off the surface.

What Makes It Great: The ultimate one-on-one battle of strength and endurance. There’s no way to gracefully lose an arm wrestling match.

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24. Sardines

How to Play It: Sardines is the opposite of hide-and-seek. One person is designated to hide while the others count. If you find the hidden person, you join them. Last person to find them loses.

What Makes It Great: One of the few reverse games that actually works.

23. Stand-Off

How to Play It: Two people stand directly in front of each other. They hold out their hands, and try to push each other over while keeping their own feet planted. Whoever moves their feet first loses. In some cases, players can’t push anything other than their opponent’s hands, but that’s optional.

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What Makes It Great: You get to push other people over.

22. Duck, Duck, Goose

How to Play It: Everyone sits in a circle. One person is the tagger. They walk around the circle, touching each person’s head and either saying “duck” or “goose.” If they say “duck,” things continue as is. If they say “goose” the person tagged must try to catch the tagger before they can get back to their spot. If the tagger gets caught, they have to sit in the mushpot (the middle of the circle).

What Makes It Great: It’s one of the original “in class” games, which means everyone probably knows how to play it. Plus, everyone thinks of ducks and geese, which is pretty fun.

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21. Monkey in the Middle

How to Play It: You try to keep the ball away from one person while throwing it back and forth with your partner. If the person does get the ball, whoever threw it is now the monkey in the middle. No points, no winning, just keeping away.

What Makes It Great: It almost always begins spontaneously and one person naturally ends up ostracized. But it builds character.

20. Silent Ball

How to Play It: A group tosses a ball around. If you drop it, you’re out. If you make a bad pass, you’re out. If you make a noise, you’re out. Last person in wins.

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What Makes It Great: Simple, but entertaining. Also gets kids to learn how to shut the hell up for a few minutes.

19. Dibble

How to Play It: Players stand at the edge of a pool with their backs turned to the water. One player places a whiffle ball, frisbee, popsicle stick, or some other buoyant objects at the bottom of the pool and then exits the pool. As soon as that player exits the pool, the other players try to spot and capture the ball. Whoever does, wins.

What Makes It Great: The thrill of the hunt. The surprisingly long waiting period. The slight risk of injury.

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18. Three Flies Up

How to Play It: There is one thrower; everyone else is a catcher. The thrower stands about 50 feet away from the catchers and then tosses the ball up in the air towards the catchers. If you catch the ball, you get a point. First person to three points becomes the thrower.

What Makes It Great: It’s catch with higher stakes. Plus it’s fun to make a smug catcher miss throws when they have two points.

17. Colors

How to Play It: One person is chosen to be “it.” They get out of the pool. Everyone else secretly decides their color. Once everyone has decided, the “it” person turns their back to the water and starts naming colors. If your color is called, you have to get to the other side of the pool without being tagged. If the “it” person turns around and no one is swimming, they have to take a step away from the pool. Whoever is tagged is now the “it” person.

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What Makes It Great: Unorganized pool games that don’t rhyme with like Flarco Folo are hard to find. This one not only does that, but is normally good for a few hours of in-water play before kids get bored.

16. Butts Up

How to Play It: All you need is a ball and a wall. Every time the ball bounces off the wall, someone has to grab it and make a clean throw back to the wall. Then the cycle continues. Anytime someone misses a catch, they have to run and tag the wall. If someone can throw the ball at the wall before the wall-touch happens, the person who didn’t make it to the wall gets an out. First to three outs has to stand against the wall and the other players get one chance to try and hit them with the tennis ball (softly). Then you start again.

What Makes It Great: It’s a perfect mix of chaos and competition. Plus, no other game matches the impending threat of pain.

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15. Kickback

How to Play It: Form two lines of people. There is one ball. Each line of people kicks the ball back and forth.

What Makes It Great: There are no real rules or any sense of scoring or competition. Just a fun way to pass the time.

14. Hot Hands

How to Play It: One person lays out their hands with their palms facing up. The other player places their hands on that person’s hands but with the palms facing down. The bottom person tries to slap the top person’s hands before they can remove them. If the bottom person successfully slaps their opponent’s hands, they stay on bottom. If they miss, they switch spots.

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What Makes It Great: You get to slap another person’s hands.

13. Double Dutch

How to Play It: Two people turn two long jump ropes in opposite directions as one person stands in the jump ropes and tries to jump without messing it up. Players add in different jumps and rhymes and everything else they see fit.

What Makes It Great: Builds coordination and stamina. Plus, it’s endlessly upgradable.

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12. Four-Square

How to Play It: The court is a giant square that has four equal-size squares inside (you can make it with chalk or tape). One person occupies each of the smaller squares. One square is the designated to top square. Then a second place square, third place square, and a fourth place square. The person in the top square hits the ball into another square. If it is hit to your square, you must hit it into another square before it bounces twice. If you hit it out or let the ball bounce twice, you are out.

What Makes It Great: It establishes a hierarchy that is often lacking in games. And kids somehow have an endless amount of ways to skyline a ball with their hands.

11. Four Corners

How to Play It: Same court as Four-square, except this time, runners stand on each of the four big corners while one person stands in the middle. People on corners try to swap before the person in the middle can get to either corner. If the person in the middle reaches a corner, the person they stole it from becomes the person in the middle.

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What Makes It Great: The unsteady alliances. The mad dash to an open corner. It’s a nonstop thrill ride unless you’re in the middle.

10. Kill the Carrier

How to Play It: Someone has the ball. They are the carrier until they are tackled. Then they have to give up the ball. Whoever gets it next is now the carrier. And so on and so forth until boredom sets in or someone gets hurt.

What Makes It Great: People get tackled a lot. It no longer has a name that rhymes and is very offensive.

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9. Throwing Rocks

How to Play it: There’s no way to play it wrong, so long as things aren’t breaking and people aren’t getting hurt. Pick an inanimate thing a reasonable distance away and see how can be the first to hit thing with rock.

What Makes It Great: You’re throwing rocks at things. Fun!

8. Shark & Minnows

How to Play It: One player is chosen to be “the shark.” The rest are “minnows.” The minnows try to get from the designated starting point to the designated finishing point without getting tagged by the shark. If you are tagged, you are a shark. Last minnow wins.

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What Makes It Great: Brings a fun hunting aspect to the typical schoolyard antics. Plus at some point, people start betraying each other to survive the shark attacks.

7. Red Rover

How to Play It: Two groups stand in parallel lines facing each other. Each line must hold hands. One line declares one person they would like sent over, yelling “Red Rover, Red Rover, send Ethan over.” The designated person — in this case Ethan — makes a furious run at the line. If he can’t break the line and get two people to stop holding hands, the team that held strong calls a person from the opposing line to their chain. If they can’t, they now join that line. Whichever line is down to one person first loses.

What Makes It Great: Top notch game for flirting. Also, you get to switch teams a lot, which is underrated.

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6. Jackpot

How to Play It: It’s essentially Three Flies Up, except the thrower can decide a catch is worth a certain amount. The winner is the person who exceeds a previously decided jackpot number (i.e. “Game is to 1,000”). More fun can be added by the thrower yelling one of the following terms: Jackpot (automatic win); Bomb (receiver who touches ball loses a designed number of points); Bankrupt (lose all points); IceBall (stay frozen for one throw); FireBall (steal one point from opponent).

What Makes It Great: It’s catch, but on performance enhancers. So simple, but so satisfying.

5. Pickle

How to Play It: Designate two bases (could be real bases, shoes, or pretty much anything you have around) and choose two throwers. Everyone else is a runner. Throwers toss the ball back and forth and the runners try to get safely from base to base without getting tagged. If you’re the last one alive, you win. Pegging is optional.

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What Makes It Great: It’s fun, and everyone gets to play. Plus, beating out a throw with your crafty base running never gets old.

4. Red Light, Green Light

How to Play It: One person is the traffic cop. All remaining players stand on the starting line and the traffic cop has their back to them. When the traffic cop says “green light,” players try to run to the finish line. When the traffic cop says “red light,” they turn around and the other players have to stop. First to pass the finish line wins and becomes the traffic cop.

What Makes It Great: Everyone knows how to play. Plus, one lucky person wields all the power, mercilessly deciding the fate of everyone else, which is a good microcosm of life.

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3. Hide & Seek

How to Play It: The “it” person has to count to a predetermined number (usually 20) and then goes looking for the others. If you are tagged, you are “it,” and it starts over. Alternative version: If you are tagged, you are out. Keeps going until everyone is tagged. There can also be multiple people who are “it.” Normally if you’re playing with more than 10 people, two taggers should be involved. No climbing trees. Want an edge? Here’s some hide-and-seek advice from a Navy SEAL?

What Makes It Great: It taps into our innate survival instincts; it’s the thrill of the hunt and the thrill of well-executed evasion.

2. Tag

How to Play It: If you are it, tag people. If you are not it, don’t get tagged.

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What Makes It Great: It’s tag.

1. The Floor Is Lava

How to Play It: Do whatever you can to not touch the floor, which is now lava. Hop on chairs, couches, benches, logs, or whatever. Try to get from Point A to Point B. Don’t touch the floor/ground, which is lava.

What Makes It Great: The palpable sense of danger around every corner. Plus, you know, lava.

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Outdoor Games: 21 Incredibly Enjoyable Games For Kids

By Amrita Minocha

Child Development

Outdoor games eh? Do the smartphone-savvy, tablet-friendly, hi-tech kids of today know about going out to play?

Yes, they do!

All we need to do is introduce them to a few outdoor games that we played as children, add some more ‘intelligent’ ones for them to improve upon, and we’re set. The idea is to convince them that playing outdoors is anytime more fun than breaking our heads over electronic games.

So, how do you do that?
RELATED: How To Engage Children – The Essential Guide
Before we enlist a few outdoor games, let’s first quickly learn how to engage children outside.

The new generation kids do not have the patience for boredom which is why:

  • outdoor games must be fun and engaging
  • games that we play outdoors should allow them to use their intelligence because that’s what attracts them to electronic gadgets
  • outdoor games must be fast-paced and unique, much like their electronic counterparts

If these points sound too intimidating and stressful to you, we suggest you relax. All traditional games that we’ve ever played outdoors can be tweaked and customised to suit our new-age children. So, sit back and read on:

21 ideas for outdoor games for your child to have fun!

1. Tag, you’re it!

Ever heard of the Hindi idiom bali ka bakra? It simply means scapegoat. This one is a child-friendly and funny version of trying to ‘tag’ one person as the scapegoat.

How do you play this game?

  • A minimum of three players are required to play this outdoor game.
  • By toss or mutual agreement, one person (the first scapegoat!) goes first. He/she closes his/her eyes and counts to 10 while the others spread out in the open area. All players need to be visible to the person who is counting, so the distance between the players and the raider cannot be too much.
  • If your child is counting first, ensure that the distance between him/her and you is minimal at first. We want them to be involved, not scared!
  • Once the counting is done, the raider needs to run and catch another person to tag. Tagging is done by patting only at the back. Tapping at any other part of the body is not accepted. This is what makes this game a little challenging and fun.
  • The next person to be tagged has to then run around to catch another person to tag. The game stops when every person has been tagged at least once.
  • The person tagged the most number of times loses the game.

Make the game flexible and customise the rules for your child as and when you want. It’s your game at the end of the day!


2. Hopscotch

Well, this one needs no introduction. The rules of hopscotch are ingrained in every Indian almost like the rules of cricket! However, we have a twist and our version is definitely more engaging for the smarty-pants you’re bringing up.

How do you play this game?

  • Using chalk, draw the hopscotch pattern on any concrete floor outside. If you’re playing on sand, use a stick to draw the outline.
  • Usually, hopscotch is a numbered pattern where each box pattern is numbered from 1 to 9 or 10.
  • Taking turns, each participant throws a small pebble so that it stays within the boundary of a numbered box. As the game progresses, each player hops from one box to another. Whoever reaches the highest level (throwing the pebble in the box with the highest number), wins.

What’s the twist?

  • The person to have reached the highest level gets to draw another box, with the next higher number, for the other players to cover before they can win. So basically, the winner is making it tough for the others to win.

Let your child win this one and add as many numbered boxes as he/she wants. Sneaky way to practise numbers, no?

3. Traffic on the road

This one is for the little boys and girls who enjoy pretend play. We indulge in quite a few pretend play activities indoors like playing house, doctor, and chef; so this one is for outdoors.

How do you play this game?

  • Within a team of minimum three players, taking turns, assign a player to play the cop and other players will pretend to be vehicles.
  • You can take the role of a pedestrian.
  • Use handmade craft traffic lights to play this game.
  • The policeman directs traffic and stops vehicles to let pedestrians go and vice versa.
  • Play in an open and safe place so that the pretend traffic has enough space to navigate.
  • It’s a fun way to teach children about road rules as well.

A twist!

You can let kids use their toy cars, bikes, or any other vehicle that they own and let them experience a pretend day on the pretend road!


4. Marble pond game

This game needs a little preparation and can be played as an indoor or outdoor game. However, playing it outdoors, especially in a garden, means more fun and less mess.

How do you play this game?

  • Place several marbles in a huge bucket or tub and fill it with water. You can use a toy swimming pool as well.
  • The person who gets the most marbles out of the water in a minute’s time, wins!

The rush to hunt for the marbles and the messy play with water makes this game a riot of giggles. Don’t agree? Try it on a hot summer evening and see!

5. Run…statue!

Don’t move or you’re out.

The run and statue game is a favourite among outdoor games that kids like to play.

How do you play this game?

  • By toss or mutual agreement, one player goes first.
  • He/she is supposed to say ‘statue’ when everyone is running all over the place. As soon as the word ‘statue’ is said, the runners have to stop immediately. The smallest movement, and you’re out!

It’s best if a parent says statue and lets the kids run around. I’m sure we and the kids, both prefer that!


6. Cat and mouse chase

Looking for easy outdoor games? Nothing beats this one!

The catch-me-if-you-can game is probably older than the Ramayana and is always fun to play. Within a group of two or more kids, one kid needs to catch the other(s) and whoever gets caught first, runs and catches the others. We keep running and catching like cats and mice.

This can be a never-ending game till mom calls us inside and curfew begins!

7. I sent a letter to my father and on the way I dropped it

Except that the letter is more of a piece of cloth.

This is one of those outdoor games in which children of all ages can be involved. The players keep singing the song as they play.

‘I sent a letter to my father

On the way I dropped it,

Somebody came and picked it up

And put it in his pocket.’

Is that you? Is that you?

I sent a letter…

How do you play this game?

  • The players sit in a circle and there is no limit to the number of players that we can include.
  • By toss or mutual agreement, one child starts to run outside the circle with a small piece of cloth (the size of a hanky) in his/her hands.
  • The person who is running has everyone’s back facing him/her.
  • While running, the runner has to drop the hanky behind anyone and tap the person’s back to indicate the letter delivered.
  • The player who now has the hanky has to run and catch the first player (who dropped the hanky behind him/her) before he/she finds a place to sit within the circle.

The game continues till everyone has had a chance to drop the letter or when players are too tired of playing!

8. Treasure hunt with flags

This is the conventional treasure hunt, but with a twist.

How do you play this game?

  • Get kids to make paper flags beforehand.
  • Choose a comparatively large area/field to play this outdoor game in.
  • Place flags and mark different corners of the playing area as castle, garden, treasure bank, pond and so on. This is pretend play so you have to imagine the various landscapes even though they’re not actually there.
  • Make a map on a piece of chart that shows on which corner the treasure bank can be found. This will be a very basic map in which ‘X’ marks the treasure spot.
  • This game is best played in a large area so that one needs to run to reach from one marked area to another. Once a person reaches the treasure, he/she wins.

What’s the twist?

  • The person who reaches the treasure first tries to safeguard it. Other players will try and reach the treasure by reaching the point and placing a flag on the spot while the first person tries to stop them by blocking their way (but one person can’t stop so many people at once, no?)
  • Once all players have been able to plant their flags on the treasure, the games stops or you can play rounds till everyone gets a chance to save the treasure.

This game can go on and on till the tummy calls for a fabulous post play meal! Ready to play?


9. Kho-Kho

What do call a queue of people, trying to balance on their knees; dreading to be tapped on their backs because that’ll mean excessive running all over the place? It’s called Kho-Kho!

Kho-Kho is one of India’s most popular outdoor games.

How do you play this game?

  • It’s a tag sport that was propagated mostly by the State of Punjab (just like hockey).
  • It is played by teams of 12 players. However, you can decide your team number based on availability of people.
  • The teams remain seated in a long line so that every alternate person belongs to the same team.
  • By toss or mutual agreement, one team chases first and the other gets chased.

You can devise your own rules of the game since we’re playing with children and can have enjoy doing that!

10. Hide-and-Seek

This is one of those outdoor games that needs no explanation. Everybody has played this game.

Quickly hide so that your child can seek you out and have oodles of fun doing that!


11. Gilli Danda

The most popular street game of India after cricket, is probably Gilli Danda!

How do you play this game?

  • It is played with a long wooden stick called danda and a gilli, which is a small oval-shaped piece of wood.
  • Players stand in a small circle. The player who is going to hit the gilli holds it tangentially (like a see-saw) on the ground using the danda. He/she then hits the gilli to make it flip in the air.
  • While it is flipping in the air, the player strikes the gilli again, hitting it as far as possible. After striking the gilli, the player runs to a pre-decided point (which counts as one run) before the gilli hits the ground or is caught by another player.

This game can be played between two or more players and is addictive once we get the hang of striking the gilli. So, are your kids ready for a strike?

12. Kabaddi

Who doesn’t know kabaddi? These days, there’s even a kabaddi league on TV, which you can show to your kids to get them excited about the sport. Kabaddi is one of those outdoor games which can be nurtured for a lifetime career as well.

How do you play this game?

  • Kabaddi is a contact sport played between two teams. The playing field is divided into two equal halves.
  • Taking turns, each team sends a raider into the other team.
  • The trick is for the raider to keep repeating the word ‘kabaddi, kabaddi…’ when he/she is on the opposing team’s side of the field. He/she cannot exhale till he/she returns to his/her side of the field or touches at least one member of the opposite team and returns to his/her team. If he/she is able to touch and return, its called a successful run. One successful run into the opposite team’s side wins a point.
  • The raider is out if he/she exhales at any point when he/she is on the opposing team’s side of the court.
  • Wrestling and physically stopping the raider to return to his/her side of court is allowed. However, we can tweak these rules of ‘physicality’ when we play with kids.

So, what are you waiting for? Take a deep breath and begin!

13. Dog and the bone

Ever seen a dog rush to a bone? Well, this outdoor game is similar to your canine’s greedy habit of rushing to a bone!

How do you play this game?

  • Two teams of children are made to stand opposite each other at a minimum distance or two metres.
  • Place a ball, a large unbreakable toy, or even a bean bag between the teams.
  • One member per team comes forward and tries to get the item placed at the centre.
  • The player to get to the item first wins. Most number of winners from a particular team means that team wins.

Are you ready to go get the bone from the middle? I am!


14. Ring a Ring a Roses Game

“Ring a Ring o’ Roses” or “Ring Around the Rosie” is a nursery rhyme plus one of the oldest outdoor games that involves singing.

The game is simple. We hold hands and go around in circles singing the rhyme. Fall down when we sing ‘fall down!’

How we do it?

Ring-a-Ring-a-Roses

Pocket Full of Poses

Hush!Ah! Hush! Ah!

We all fall down.

The original British and American versions vary a little. Here’s how they go:

British version:

Ring-a-ring o’ roses,

A pocket full of posies,

A-tishoo! A-tishoo!

We all fall down.

American version:

Ring-a-round the Rosie,

A pocket full of posies,

Ashes! Ashes!

We all fall down.

I’m sure you’re singing along as you read!

15. Tap the Shoe!

Tap the shoe or Shoe is one of those outdoor games that even our grandfathers must have played. These days however, it has lost it’s appeal. Why not try playing to revive it?

How do you play this game?

  • All players stand in a broad circle and try to tap on the shoes of the person standing next to them.
  • The rule is that they cannot leave their spot while tapping and also cannot touch another person with any other body part.
  • Once tapped, that player has to leave the circle so eventually we are left with two people, one out of which wins!

Make you kids wear their shoes and begin the tapping, now!

16. Limbo in the Garden

As a child, this one was my favourite garden game. It involves dance and drama and lots of fun!

How do you play this game?

  • On two sticks (or poles if available), vertically placed a metre apart, tie a strong rope or string.
  • The height of the string should reach your child’s neck in the first round.
  • Play music using a phone or a handy music player and take turns to Limbo! Limbo is a dance form and while dancing you need to go under the rope, tummy side up, without any part of the body touching the rope/string.
  • In every round, the height of the rope is lowered so that eventually it’s almost impossible to cross the rope from under it.
  • Toy limbo sets are also available in case you want to use them to play.

It’s dance, music, sport, and entertainment combined!


17. Tug of war

Tug of war is one of those outdoor games that was once part of the Olympics. If you want to give your child the feel of an actual game of strength, play tug of war with the original rules of the game, as played in the Olympics. It’s a great way of building physical strength and dexterity!

How do you play this game?

  • Divide yourselves into two teams.
  • Each team holds a long rope from each end and tries to pull it towards them.
  • All team members pull the rope together on each end so this game teaches the players a lot about team spirit and effort.

The fun of tugging the pole and laughing as you do it is unmatched. So, do try it!


18. Fit the line

Trying to teach your child to stand straight in a line? Play this outdoor game and teach you child that. Plus, have fun!

So, how do you play this game?

  • Using chalk on concrete or with a stick on sand, draw a line of 2 metres in length.
  • Children have to wait huddled together in one designated corner till the line is drawn and the whistle is blown.
  • Once the whistle is blown, the children have run and fit themselves on the line—like a queue.
  • Those who are unable to fit on the line are out.
  • The line keeps getting shorter after each round and players keep getting eliminated till one of them remains and he/she is the winner.

So hurry and draw the line!

19. Group into a number

One of those outdoor games that also teaches children to count. Excited to play it?

How do you play this game?

  • In a large play area, players move around in a circle.
  • One leader is chosen—ideally an unbiased adult.
  • As the players move in a circle, the leader suddenly says a number.
  • The players have to group themselves in that number and all the extras are out.
  • As the games progresses, more and more players are eliminated and one winner remains.

Sounds exciting, no?

20. Rope jumping

I’m sure as little girls and boys, all of us have jumped rope. I used to call it skipping ropes and it was loads of fun to skip ropes in a group. If you’re looking at easy yet involving outdoor games for your little one, this one is just right for you.

How do you play this game?

  • Get a skipping rope and decide on a play area where the ground is sturdy. Slippery and sandy areas are not too good for this game.
  • In groups of two or three, jump the rope while two players (ideally adults if kids are too young to manage) hold ends of the rope and move it in a circular motion.
  • Take turns to jump the rope and have lots of fun.

The best part is that rope jumping can easily be done alone so your child can play outdoors even if he/she doesn’t have company.


21. Marble game

In Hindi, Kanche is known as marbles and the game of marbles is very common outdoor game.

How do you play this game?

  • Draw a small circle on the ground you’ve chosen to play in.
  • Place the marbles inside the circle, near the centre to form the pattern ‘X.’
  • The idea is to shoot these marbles in the centre with a marble in your hand. Shooting is done by flicking the marble using your thumb and knuckles.
  • The number of marbles in the ‘X’ pattern that move when you throw a marble at them, are yours.
  • If any of the marbles moves out of the circle, then you lose a point. You have to place a marble back at the centre.
  • Taking turns, the game continues till there are no more marbles to win.

You can make your own rules of marbles as you go on. The idea is to enjoy the outdoors, isn’t it?

To conclude: Benefits of playing outdoor games for children!

Well, you have a handy list of outdoor games here that you can try with your child. We have a game for each age group but you might question what’s the need of playing outside in the dirt when your child can play in the cozy environment of your home?

The benefits are manifold but just to list a few of them here:

  • Playing outside in the dust and grime builds the immune system of your child. He/she is able to fight bacteria and germs better when the body is exposed to the environment outside.
  • The sun is a direct source of vitamin D!
  • Stepping out in fresh air improves blood circulation that helps in improving digestion and generally, in keeping the child fit.
  • Playing outdoor games makes the child more socially adept. Team play and coordination are required to play most of these games.

So, what are you thinking? With numerous benefits awaiting your child, take him/her outdoors and get started with a game of your choice.

Do you play outdoor games with your child? Share a few of your game ideas with us. Comment now!

Image Credits: John Christian Fjellestad

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  • 8 Summer Games to Play with a Ball

    • Kick the Can. In this childhood classic, the goal is to kick an object (in this case, a ball) placed in the middle of a yard. The ball is protected by a guard, who tries to tag anybody approaching the ball before it’s reached. If the guard succeeds in tagging everyone before anyone can kick the ball, he’s the winner! If someone is able to out-maneuver the guard and kick the ball, however, she wins the game and becomes the new guard for the next round.
    • Ball Tag. Switch up a classic game of tag by requiring kids to “tag” one another with balls instead of hands. Be sure to use a ball that won’t hurt when thrown at running players, and make a rule that nobody is to aim above the shoulders to avoid potential injuries. For even more of a twist, allow multiple kids to be “it” and give each one a ball to tag out the others.
    • Dizzy Kickball. Make a game of kickball more challenging (and fun) by adding a rule that all players have to spin three times before kicking or throwing a ball. Once everyone is overcome by the dizziness that ensues, try changing the rule from spinning three times to hopping on one foot, performing jumping jacks, or striking a rock star pose.
    • 500. It’s all about the points in this fast-paced ball game. To begin, everyone stands in a large circle around the person holding the ball, also known as the thrower. As the thrower tosses the ball into the air, he calls out a number from 50 to 500. That number then becomes the number of points available to the person who catches the ball, or the number of points a person who tries to catch the ball but drops it stands to lose for the miss. At the end of the game, the player with the most points wins!
    • Hot Potato Hide-and-Seek. In this twist on the classic children’s game, the person searching for the others holds a ball while she searches for a set time limit. Whenever she finds someone new, the new person receives the ball, and it then becomes his job to find the next person hiding. The goal of the game is not to be the person holding the ball when time runs out, since whoever ends up with the ball becomes the new seeker for the next round!
    • Bowling Pins. Strike! In this human bowling game, one person acts as the “bowler” while everyone else assembles across the lawn in a standard pin formation. Using a ball that can be easily rolled across the grass, the bowler aims to knock out each human “pin” with the goal of knocking down everyone in several tries. Depending on the number of tries allowed and how closely together the “pins” stand, the bowler can raise or lower the difficulty level as he pleases.
    • Battleship. To set up this game, players divide into two teams on opposite sides of a partition—this could be a tall fence, row of trees, or any divider that ensures that the two teams can’t see one another well. Everyone from each team lies down on either side of the wall in a roughly rectangular area of space, save for one kid chosen to be the team bomber. The bomber’s job is to try and throw balls over the wall and hit the “battleships”—team members lying down on the other side (use softer balls like beach balls to avoid damage). As soon as a battleship is hit, he becomes a bomber as well. The game continues until all the battleships have been knocked out! For a challenging twist that picks up the pace, play with two or more balls for each side.
    • Keep the Ball. This simple summer game is an adolescent favorite in Mexico that’s easily adaptable to any yard and number of players. To begin the game, players divide into two teams and determine the time limit of the game. The game begins when a player throws the ball in the air, and from then on out each team has to try to keep possession of the ball. The ball may be passed between players, but can’t be immediately passed back to a person who passed it to you. When time runs out, the team holding the ball wins!

    Listen, it doesn’t take fancy sports equipment or extensive planning to get your kid up and active during those lazy summer days. Encourage your little one to make up new twists and varieties on the options above, and before you know it he’ll have a roster of fun activities to cover him until school starts again.

    Cool Games

    Look Cool, Score Points, Win

    Whether you want to be the tough and brooding hero, the sneaky villain, or something in between, Kiloo offers the best cool games on the web. These titles are edgy, suspenseful, and dripping with style. One of our most diverse categories, our cool games online are not tied down to a specific play style. You can race, fly, jump, steal things, defend yourself against waves of enemies, and more. Can’t decide what you like? Then this is a great place to start. If this category could talk, it would say, “It doesn’t matter what you do. Just make it look cool.” So, do you have the style and pizazz necessary to excel at these games? We’ll see…

    Play Cool Games for Free and Discover Your Favorites

    Like with our other categories, you can play all of our cool games for free. This means you can enjoy hours of pie-throwing (try Pie Attack), rope-swinging (Swing Robber) and much more without paying a penny. One reason we love this category is the huge amount of variety in each game mode. It’s not all combat or tricky questions or endless games – it could be none of these or all three! You never know what these cool games online are going to challenge you with until you load them up. You will have to decide what kind of game best suits your style, but we recommend you take a look at some of our favorites listed below to get started.

    Tired of Being Blocked? We only have unblocked games!

    There’s nothing more frustrating than being blocked. Your friends tell you about some cool games online, and you’re dying to try them once you have some free time on the computer at your school. You pull up the website, type in the game, and you get a message saying you can’t play! Don’t worry, we’re here for the gamers. We’ve set up our category so that you won’t get blocked! That’s right, the way these games are made, they can be played right in your browser without school knowing the difference. So go ahead, hop into one of our unblocked games and play until you’ve tried them all. That being said, let’s jump into some of our favorite cool games online, shall we?

    Enjoy Awesome Level Design, Fun Game Modes and Addicting Gameplay

    One of the best qualities of these cool games online is the artistic level and character design. Even if you aren’t trying again and again for the high score, you can still enjoy awesome backdrops, characters and weapons. No two games are the exact same, and we’ve made sure to keep it that way. Each title offers a new perspective on how the environment, the characters, the weapons and other items should be designed. This is so important to gameplay – it can make or break a game! For example, Ninja Action is like playing in a daydream, and we love it. The level design is minimalistic and beautiful. Who wouldn’t love vaulting to the ceiling and running upside down as they play cool games for free?

    Switch it Up with a Goofy Game Mode

    Just because you’re seriously good at playing cool games for free, doesn’t mean you have to be serious while you’re doing it! We love cool games that take a different approach to playing and winning. Taking out dozens of bad guys or zipping across the finish line is great, but sometimes, you want to do something a little different. You want to escape from a daring robbery or even throw a pie in someone’s face. In Swing Robber, for example, you have to outfox “the fuzz” as they chase you from the scene of a robbery. You’ve already nabbed the cash from the midtown bank, but that’s not even the hard part. The hard part is getting out. You now have to sprint across rooftops while lugging your hefty prize without letting the cops catch you!

    Get Hooked!

    Alright, fine. We’ll admit it. Some of these games are just downright addictive. It’s funny how the simpler the game is, the more addictive it tends to be. Flip the Knife is the perfect example of this. We could play this one for hours, which makes it one of our best cool games. Just when you think you’ve mastered the perfect knife throw, the game pulls the rug out from under you. Most of our cool games online are set up to keep you climbing that scoreboard, so there’s no need to play just once if you’re a perfectionist. If you prefer, you can just spend all of your time on one game and become a force to be reckoned with on that leaderboard!

    Fun First, Points Second

    Of course, high scores are great and all that, but if you’re having a great time, that’s all that we want. This category is all about bringing you something cool and different. We want you to go for the experience when playing these cool games online, whether that means chasing the perfect score or trying ever single game in the category. You may be surprised at how naturally the points add up when you’re just playing for fun. So take your time sampling everything in this category, because there’s a little something for everyone. Best of luck out there, and remember to always prioritize fun when playing cool games online!