13 Fun and Engaging Outdoor Games for Kids of All Ages

Getting kids to play outside is essential. Outdoor play helps cultivate physical health in children. If your kids are under school age, research shows that they need at least 180 minutes per day moving around in physical activity. At least 60 minutes of that should be pure, energetic play.

Elementary schoolers and older kids are advised to have at least 30 to 60 minutes of active play per day or physical activity that burns calories. While it’s typical for our children in America to have little free time or time to play outdoors, in other parts of the world, it’s common for younger children to spend the majority of their day playing.

Outdoor Games for Kids

Outdoor play has numerous benefits to children, including improved brain function, focus, and concentration. Outdoor play can even be linked to lowering the chances of nearsightedness. Outdoor play helps combat childhood obesity, a growing concern in America.

Children who have special needs also benefit tremendously from outdoor games for kids. Outdoor play helps build core muscles, refining small motor skills, practicing coordination, and maintaining appropriate space from others.

If you want to get kids of any age outdoors, the best way is to inspire them! We’ve put together a guide of outdoor games for kids by age group so you can skip to your child’s age or check out other ideas for games your child might enjoy with an older sibling!

A) Outdoor Games for Toddlers

Toddlers are a finicky bunch! On the one hand, they can seem to play for hours on end with no help needed, while other days, you may find that they’re always looking to you for guided play. Try introducing these outdoor games for kids to your toddler for fun, interactive play!

1. Carnival Games

Carnival_Games  Source: ThreeMilesPerHour (CC0)

What You’ll Need

You can pick up this set on Amazon that includes everything you need, or you can re-purpose household items like bottles, wooden stakes, and horseshoes, paper bags, or baskets if you have them.

How to Play

For a solo toddler or gang of them, you can set up cones in a line or pattern in the yard and let little ones take turns trying to toss the rings on the cones. You can set out bags, baskets, or other DIY ideas for a bean bag toss.

2. Stacking Rocks

Stacking_Rocks  Source: Skitterphoto (CC0)

What You’ll Need

On Amazon, you can score this set of perfect flat stacking rocks or head out into nature and collect your own!

How to Play

Once you have a collection of flat rocks, show your toddler how to stack them. You can show him how to stack them into a tower or show him how to overlap them into a wall-like structure. A single toddler will be entertained for some time with this, but several friends can play if you have enough rocks.

3. Hopscotch

Hopscotch  Source: absteress

What You’ll Need

If you already have chalk at home, you’re good to go. If not, you can grab this pack.

How to Play

Draw your hopscotch and way that’s easy enough for toddlers to jump on. For added learning, draw numbers or colors in the squares to your toddler, and his friends can practice recognition.

B) Outdoor Games for Kindergartners

Kindergartners are coming into their prominent personalities! They’re becoming wholly independent and interested in others on a new level. If you’ve got a group of kinder’s or even a solo child, you’ll love these outdoor games!

1. Frisbee

Frisbee  Source: Hans (CC0)

What You’ll Need

A basic frisbee, you can get one for yourself and a partner.

How to Play

Show your Kindergartner and friends how to throw a frisbee and let them at it correctly!

2. Musical Chairs

Musical Chairs  Source:  jCax2 (CC0)

What You’ll Need

Use any chairs or stools from home or for larger groups of kids; you can use seat markers like this set.

How to Play

Set up chairs, stools, or seat markers and get your boom box or smartphone ready to play some tunes for the kids. Periodically stop the music and let everyone find a seat; the last person standing is out!

3. Simon Says

Simon_Says  Source: Clker-Free_Vector_Images (CC0)

What You’ll Need

All you’ll need is a group of kids and a leader for the group.

How to Play

You can use an adult for the leader, or the kids in the group can take turns. One person should be picked to be the leader or Simon. Simon stands in front of the group and says, “Simon says…” with directions. The players each follow the instructions that Simon says until they can be tricked into doing something that was said without, “Simon says…” first. Once they get going, it’s easy to pick up for more kids!

C) Outdoor Games for Elementary Schoolers

Your older little kids can have just as much fun outdoors as their younger siblings. Engaging your six to 11-year-old children is done quickly with some of these fun outdoor games and activities.

1. Parachute

Parachute  Source: Bev (CC0)

What You’ll Need

A large group of kids and a giant parachute. Amazon sells them in various sizes, but you can get this 10ft parachute.

How to Play

The parachute game can be played in a few ways. For example, the kids can each hold a piece of the parachute and make waves with it while one person at a time runs under, trying to get to the other side without falling. You can also place beans bags or balls on the parachute, and the kids make the parachute wave, trying to get all of the shots to the middle!

D) Outdoor Games for Middle Schoolers

As a parent of middle schoolers, you may have noticed that your kids are spending increasing time on their electronics and screens. It can be tough to get this age group to get outside and get moving. Try some of these activities and games to get them off the couch and out the door.

1. Scavenger Hunt

Scavenger_Hunt  Source: TeroVesalainen (CC0)

What You’ll Need

Write your list or pick up a scavenger hunt game pack like this one.

How to Play

Middle schoolers are old enough to play in the neighborhood and stick nearby. Divide them into teams, give them a list of things to find and set them free. The first team to collect every item on the list wins!

2. Street Hockey

Street_Hockey  Source: pitoutepitoute (CC0)

What You’ll Need

Kids can use sticks and a makeshift ball from home, or you can grab a set like this one that includes sticks and a puck.

E) Outdoor Games for Teenagers

Your older kids and teens are maybe a little more apt to get outdoors as they’ve become increasingly independent and want to be out in the world with their friends. If they play sports, you’re in luck. But, if you have teens who like to lay around a lot, try sparking their interest with some of these outdoor activities.

1. 3 Legged-Race

 3 Legged-Race  Source: jp26jp (CC0)

What You’ll Need

You can use items from around your home like masking tape, pillowcases, or strips of cloth to tie pairs together. Or you can get these 3-legged-race bands.

How to Play

Let your teens decide how to play. They can race, attempt an obstacle course, or try to accomplish a task (like walking an egg down the field), all while 3-legged.

2. Kickball

Kickball  Source: Todd Borner

What You’ll Need

The only must-have for this game is the ball, but you can purchase bases if you like too. This set comes with a home plate, pitcher’s plate, and three stations.

How to Play

One of the best games for a group of teens to play kickball. You can do it with a small group with a little improvisation, or a larger group can be divided into teams for a real game. Set up an area with designated bases and let them at it!

F) Outdoor Games for Parties

No matter the age, everyone loves parties. If you’ve got good weather and a group of people, there are tons of things to do to get outdoors and get moving. Check out our favorites below!

1. Corn Hole

Corn_Hole  Source: cfarnsworth (CC0)

What You’ll Need

If you haven’t already DIY your own corn hole set, you can pick one up for around $120 on Amazon.

How to Play

Singles, doubles, or multiples of all ages can play corn hole! Take turns trying to toss the bean bags into the holes, the team with the most bean bags on the boards or in the holes win!

2. Blind-folded Games

Blind-folded_Games  Source: Jeremy Doorten

What You’ll Need

You’ll need any number of people large or small, and several blindfolds. You can use handkerchiefs or strips of cloth to make do. You can also use various objects to create an obstacle course.

How to Play

There’s no end to the number of games you can play blindfolded! A group favorite is to create an obstacle course that each player has to get through while blindfolded. You can also pair a blindfolded partner with a seeing partner and have them try to help the blindfolded partner through the course and beat all the other teams.

Wrapping it Up

Getting kids to play outdoors can prove to be a challenging feat, but with a little inspiration, you can get them outdoors for some brain and bodybuilding playtime!

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