What are your favorite outdoor games to play with your kids? Here are my favorites!
Street soccer is an informal version of soccer with goal posts made of two trees, chalk lines or even trashcans.
Create a game of tic-tac-toe, hopscotch, or sidewalk darts (draw a large dart board and toss a bean bag trying to hit the bull’s eye) with chalk.
Create a maze of smaller activities to form an obstacle course. It’s best to use chalk and draw arrows or number each station so the kids know where to go next. Use a stopwatch and time each child to see who can get through in record time! Some ideas of smaller activities include: orange cones, hula-hoops, tunnels, hopscotch, water balloons, walking/balancing with an object on your head (like a bean bag), etc.
With chalk, draw a large square with four equal (or as close as you can) sized boxes inside the square.
The lines on the court are boundaries. The interior lines separating player squares are out of bounds. The ball may not touch any portion of an inside line or the player who hit the ball is in error. The lines marking the outermost edges of the court are considered in-bounds. If a ball lands on or touches the inside lines then the game ends and the last person to touch the ball is out.
Four square is played with an 8.5″ rubber playground ball. Occasionally, if a rubber ball is not available, it is acceptable to use a tennis or basketball. During regular play, the ball must be hit with the player’s hands only. The hit may be made with an open hand or closed fist, and may be forehand or backhand in motion. The ball may also be hit with one hand, or two hands at the same time, much like the rules of volleyball.
The ball must be struck once and for a single instant only. Carrying, catching, or holding the ball during play is not allowed.
Spud is a popular children’s game where players try to eliminate each other by catching and throwing a ball. It is related to “call ball” and “ball tag”. As few as three may play, with no upper limit. A small soft ball and an open area to run in is required.
A player is chosen as “It” and the others stand in a circle around them. “It” throws the ball straight into the air (or alternatively drops it), calling out the name or number (alternatively, players may be assigned colors: red, yellow, etc.) of another player. That player must run and catch the ball, becoming “It”, while the other players run away from them. As they catch the ball they shout “Spud”, or “Halt”, and the other players must stop running. “It” throws or rolls the ball at another player or at their feet, sometimes after taking three giant steps towards them. The target player may not dodge and if it hits them, they get a letter (or a “spud”) and become “It”. If the ball misses the target, “It” gets a letter. A player who moves to dodge the ball will also get a letter. A player who gets four letters (spelling out “Spud”) is out. In a variant, a player who is out stands a distance away from the other players with their back to them, and all the other players get to throw the ball at them.
This is a good party game since you need 3 or more players. Mark off sections (depending on the number of children playing) and gather sticks or paper towel rolls to use as the baton. You can make it interesting by setting it up so that the 1st leg is a potato sack race, the 2nd leg is an egg on a spoon walk, the 3rd leg is walking backwards and so on…
Don’t forget the caution signs!