While children often enjoy unstructured time and free play outdoors, integrating some fun outdoor games teaches children how to cooperate and how to be good sports! It’s a valuable life lesson that they’ll have to learn one way or another, so why not make it fun for them? Outdoor events, such as picnics, camping trips, barbecues, backyard parties and youth group meetings, take on a more festive tone when you add outside games to the mix.
Outdoor sports, like soccer, softball or kickball, keep kids running and active. Not to mention it helps expose them to an array of different sports that they may end up falling in love with. Many outdoor games use a circle formation, including dodgeball and Spud. Line games like What Time Is It Old Fox, have two teams facing one another in a line and usually end with one side chasing the other. Equipment-based outdoor games include jump rope, Chinese jump rope, croquet, hula-hooping, Frisbee and badminton.
Most outdoor games take advantage of the setting and the space so that children can run and get rowdy. Chasing one another or beating the clock are common themes, as is the case of various types of tag, such as Freeze Tag, Cartoon Tag and Blob Tag, in which the person who is "it" tags people who then join to make a blob and chase remaining players.
Allow Everyone to Feel Like a Winner
Outdoor games often involve winning, losing, skill, stamina and keeping score. Games like Red Light Green Light and Mother May I have only one winner. In Capture the Flag, people get captured and placed in the other team’s jail until they get released by teammates. However, not every outdoor game involves competition. Hand-clapping games, dancing games and water games are more about playing than winning.
Outdoor games keep children active and challenged. Some outdoor games, like charades, have a dramatic element that inspire creativity. Who knows? Your child may be the next uprising actor! Simple outdoor games, like Hot Potato and relay races, include children of all ages and skill levels.
Active games have a limited time span. Preschool children may stick with an outdoor game for about 10 minutes before needing a new activity or redirection, while older children and teenagers may stick with an organized sport for the length of the game and a less-structured outdoor game for about 30 minutes. Extend everyone’s interest in outdoor play by mixing games with less-structured activities, such as blowing soap bubbles, watching cloud formations and going on a nature walk