Summer time means long days and warm evenings, which marks the perfect time for outdoor activities with your kids. It’s the perfect time to leave the computer screens and smartphones behind and enjoy some exercise outside. We’ve compiled our favorite games to play with kids, both young and old.
For older children, you can introduce some competitiveness to the activities, along with games that require more coordination.
Soccer Obstacle Course
Kids love a good challenge, and setting up an obstacle course for them to navigate with a soccer ball is loads of fun. In addition, they’ll be able to work on their hand-eye coordination at the same time.
Whether you use cones or sticks or ladders or all of the above, layer different obstacles throughout the yard and time them as they navigate. Bonus points if they can break in their new pair of cleats for soccer tryouts in the fall.
All you need is a ball and two home bases for this game, although realistically the two bases could be pretty much any landmark. A kid is in charge of each base, and the object for every other kid is to get back and forth without getting tagged out.
Before long, you’ll have kids diving and sliding into each base with excitement.
Three Flies Up
Sticking with the theme of only needing a ball, this game involves one person throwing the ball as high into the air as they can towards a group of kids. All the other kids gather and try to catch the ball.
The first to three catches rotates and starts throwing the ball. The game continues until… well, until everyone gets tired.
Two rows of kids stand 10 yards apart (or so) with arms interlinked together. One side calls out a kid in the other row, shouting “Red Rover, Red Rover, send Johnnie over.” Johnnie proceeds to run as hard as he can, trying to break his way through the chain.
Success breaking through the chain means his group adds one to their party. Failure to break through means he is added to the stopping chain. The winner is the longest chain of kids at the end.
You’ll need a wall and a ball for this activity, and sometimes painful game. The person with the ball throws it up against the wall, and a person fields it. If they bobble the ball, then they need to sprint to the wall. If someone can throw the ball up against the wall before they get there, then the bobbler must line up against the wall and face the music.
In this case, the music is having a person throw the ball several times at them, attempting to hit them in the butt. Older kids can really let fly on this game, but it’s only a tennis ball, right?
If you have younger children, then you’ll want to opt for some milder games that don’t require as much coordination.
The classic game that we all played as kids, this is a great one for letting off a lot of energy. One person is “it” and runs around trying to tag everyone. Once tagged, a person must freeze, at least until a fellow teammate untags them.
Technically, the person that is “it” can win by tagging everyone before they get untagged. Typically, this game just goes on for a while until everyone agrees to change who is ‘it”, which is just fine.
Steal the Bacon
Similar to Red Rover, split the kids into two sides and line them up in rows. Every person on each side is given a number (so that there are two of each number). Put something in the middle, like a hat or shoe.
Call out a number, and watch two kids (one from each team) sprint to the middle to try and grab the “bacon”. Play for points.
Duck Duck Goose
Sit the kids in a circle, and designate one person to walk around the circle. That person walks around tapping each seated person in the head, saying either “duck” or “goose”. Duck means nothing but Goose is a call.
When someone is designated Goose, they have to leap to their feet and try and catch the tagger, as they sprint around the outside of the circle. If the tagger can make it all the way around and sit back down, they can stay. Someone has to go sit in the mush pot though (the middle).
These games give you just a taste of the possibilities for outdoor games you can play with your kids this summer. Whether young or old, there are lots of fun, free games to entertain on those long summer days.