Luring kids outside isn’t easy when so many electronic options beckon indoors. Next time you’re struggling to pry your kids away from the screen, encourage them to get up and moving and to stay active. Coax your kids away from their screens and into the great outdoors with these brilliant games. Invite them to play one of these fun outdoor games.
Sack races, aka “gunny races,” became popular at carnivals in the 1800s, and they’re still a hoot today. All you need is a burlap sack or large, sturdy pillow case for each participant (it should reach their waist), and plenty of space for them to hop to the finish line. If you don’t have sacks on hand, a three-legged race is a fun and easy alternative. Try pairing kids with adults!
Gather up lots of balls and, in two teams, aim to throw the balls at the opponent’s legs. As long as it doesn’t bounce off something else first, that person is out – however, if the ball you’ve thrown gets caught, you’re out instead! The team with the last remaining player wins.
Round up your cowboys and cowgirls for this classic backyard game. You can buy rubber horseshoe sets these days, which are much more kid-friendly than traditional metal horseshoes. The National Horseshoe Pitchers Association guidelines call for the two stakes to be 40 feet apart, but we think it’s fine to place them closer together for the youngins.
Fill up a large trashcan with water and place two empty trashcans about 40 feet away. Split kids into two teams and give each team an empty milk carton with 10 to 12 holes in the bottom. When you say “go,” the first player from each team fills her carton with water, then places it on her head while she walks or runs to her team’s empty trashcan. She empties the remaining water into the trashcan, then runs back, passing the carton to the next player. The first team to fill its trashcan with water wins the game.
How low can you go? There’s a pretty good chance the kids will beat the adults at this classic luau game — unless you’re feeling pretty limber! You can use a long pole or broom, or you can buy a bamboo limbo pole online. Some Hawaiian tunes or other festive music make this game highly entertaining! It’s an excellent choice for the beach or a pool party.
Split the kids into two teams. Each team gets two shoe boxes. Tape the lids onto the shoe boxes and cut an “I” shape into the top of the box, with a four-inch slit and two one-inch slits. Have the first player from each team slip her feet into the shoe boxes. When you say “go” the players wearing the shoe boxes have to run from the starting line to a designated spot, then back again. Players pass the shoe boxes to their waiting teammates, and the relay continues until all the players have participated and a winning team is crowned.
Create a checklist of outdoor objects to find like feathers, seed pods, unusual stones and acorns (or print out some of these nature hunts). First person back to base with all the items is declared the nature king or queen.
If you have a sizable group of kids, playing sticks and stones will make them laugh while also tiring them out. Split the kids into two teams — the sticks and the stones. Line them up facing one another. Designate an area roughly 30 feet behind each team as that teams’ safe zone. To start the game, yell out “sticks” or “stones.” The team you call on must begin chasing the opposing team, which begins racing toward its safe zone. Any tagged players must switch teams, and the two new teams line up to play again. The team to bring all the players to its side wins the game.