Try These 12 Classic Games for Some Outdoor Fun!
1. Swing the Statue- One player is chosen to be "it." He or she takes each of the other players in turn and, holding them by a wrist or hand, swings them in a circle and then lets them go. The swung player must freeze as soon as possible and hold that position as long as possible. The first player to break the freeze becomes "it." Since the first player swung must hold the position longest, begin with the oldest child first. The entertainment value comes from seeing the strange positions that players end up in and watching them try to hold those
2. Sneaky Sprinkler- One person is designated as "it" and controls the water faucet. Kids should be dressed in swimsuits or old play clothes. The children cavort around the water sprinkler. When "it" turns on the sprinkler, everyone must freeze and get sprinkled on until "it" turns the water off. The last person to move gets to be "it."
3. Horse Basketball- Players line up. The first player announces what shot he is going to make and takes his shot. If he misses, he goes to the end of the line. If he makes the basket, the next player must make the same shot. If the second player misses, he gets an “H,” and it is the next player’s turn to announce a shot and try to make it. Each time a player fails to make a shot that his predecessor made, he gets another letter until someone has spelled “horse.” At that point the player is out. The other players continue play until only one player is left.
4. Red Light, Green Light- One person is designated as “it” and plays the part of the stop light. The other kids line up about 20 feet away from “it.” Facing away from the other kids, “it’ calls out “Green light!” The other kids move toward “it.” “It” then calls out “Red light!” and turns around quickly. Any of the kids who are caught moving must go back to the start line. Play continues until someone reaches and tags “it.” That person then becomes “it.” The trick to winning this game is to move smoothly so that you can freeze instantly until you are within reach of “it.”
5. Shadowing- A group of at least six is needed to play. One player is designated as "it" and gets a two-minute head start, followed by two "shadowers." After two more minutes of pursuit, one of the shadowers goes back to the group and starts them in the right direction. The second shadower continues to pursue "it," dropping pebbles, kernels of corn or something similar as clues to guide the group toward "it." "It" wins the game if not found within a predetermined period of time.
6. Hide and Seek- A spot is designated as "home," boundaries for hiding are set and one player is chosen to be "it." He or she counts to a predetermined number before calling out, "Ready or not, here I come!" When "it" sees someone hiding, he or she must run back to home base and call them out. The players can look for opportunities to come out of their hiding places and come in free. A traditional way of ending the game if players are still out is to call, "Ally, ally, in free" or "Come out, come out, whereever you are" or some variation thereof.
7. FlashLight Tag- One player is designated "it" and given a flashlight. "It" counts to 50 while the other players hide. When "it" finds someone, he or she shines the flashlight on the other player. That player then becomes "it," and the first player is free to go hide.
8. Red Rover- Divide the group of kids into two teams. The kids then form two lines holding hands and facing each other. The lines should be 30-50 feet apart. The team chosen to go first calls for a runner from the other line, saying, “Red Rover, Red Rover, let Thomas come over!” Thomas then takes off running and tries to break through the other line. If he breaks through, he chooses one of the kids that he broke through to take back to his team. If he doesn’t break through, he has to stay with the other team. The game ends when everyone is in one line. The game is fun because of the suspense of wondering when your name will be called and wondering whether the runner from the other team will choose you as the weak spot to try to break through. It’s not a highly competitive game as everyone ends up on the winning team; however, Red Rover has been banned on some playgrounds as too rough. Obviously the game works best if the kids are close to the same age. Three practices should definitely be banned. The first is double-linking by holding each other’s wrists or arms. Hands only can be joined. The second is raising the arms high to “clothesline” the runner. The third is thrusting the joined hands outward so that the runner encounters the equivalent of an outthrust fist.
9. Kickball- Kickball uses the basic rules of softball and baseball: four bases to run, three chances to kick the ball and three outs to an inning. Almost anything can be used for bases; old throw pillows or pieces of shingle will serve well. The pitcher rolls the ball to the kicker. Bouncing, other than the little bounces that you get when the ball rolls over grass, is not allowed. If the ball rolls over home plate and is not kicked, that is a strike. If the ball is kicked but goes foul, that is a strike.
The fielder can catch the ball and tag the runner, or step on the base, or throw the ball at the runner to make the out. The ball should not be thrown at the runner's head. If the ball is thrown at the runner and misses, the runner may advance only one additional base. A kicked ball that is caught in the air is an out.
The team that is in the field should space themselves out according to the numbers of players. They will, of course, move in for the smaller players and out for the stronger players.
Other rules can be agreed upon before play begins. Since you won't have a standard "batting order," you may want to kick in order of ages, or in alphabetical order. You may have to have special rules for balls that go over fences, into the street or into a ditch. Agreeing upon special rules is part of the fun!
10. Four Square- Draw off a 10-ft. square with the chalk, then divide into 4 even squares. Number them 1-4, going clockwise. Draw a diagonal line in 1's box, to be the serving spot. The player in the 1 square is known as the king. Number 2 is the queen, while Number 3 is known as the jack, and Number 4 is the peasant. The point of the game is to advance to the king's spot and stay there as long as possible.
The king serves by bouncing the ball into any of the three boxes. The player whose square receives the ball must hit it into another square. The ball can be hit in the air or after one bounce. Play continues until a player fails to return the ball. At that point, that player has to move to the peasant's spot, and the other players advance.
11. Hopscotch- The first step is drawing the grid. The first player tosses a marker into the first square. The marker must land completely within the square. The player hops through the court, landing on one foot in single squares and both feet in double squares. At the end of the course, the player turns around and moves back to the beginning, stopping to pick up the marker on the way back. If a player steps on a line or steps out of the grid, the turn is over. If the player successfully finishes the course, he or she throws the marker into the second square and repeats the exercise. The first player to move the marker through the entire grid wins the game.
12. Capture the Flag- Players are divided into two teams. Each team has its own territory with a boundary designated between the two. Each team must also designate a spot to serve as a jail. This need not be anything more than a particular rock or tree that a prisoner has to touch. Another decision that must be made is how large the designated safety zone around the flag should be. When the game begins, each team must decide where to place its flag. Once placed, it cannot be moved, although it can be guarded. Those guarding their own flag may not enter the safety zone around the flag unless in pursuit of an opposing team member.
Once the flag is placed, team members are assigned to guard their own flag or to enter enemy territory to try to capture the other team’s flag. Any player in enemy territory can be caught and put in jail. The classic Boy Scout rules say that the capture is made by holding the other player long enough to say “Caught” three times. Some play that tagging the other player is sufficient. Prisoners can be released by being tagged by a teammate, but only one prisoner can be rescued at a time.
A team wins the game by capturing the other team’s flag and bearing it back to their home territory. If a flag is seized but is recaptured before reaching the opponents' territory, the flag is set up where it was recaptured. If a game must be ended before a flag is captured, the team with the most prisoners wins.