8 easy children’s games to play outdoors

The summer holidays are all about getting outdoors and having fun.

So here are eight fun games children can play in the the park or garden to get them running around. All these games are suitable for a range of ages and fun enough to keep your kids active and away from their screens.

  1. Hotter or Colder
    One child hides an object and the others have to find it. If seekers get near the hider shouts “hotter”, if they get further away the hider shouts “colder”. The child who finds the object is the hider next time. This game is so simple it can be understood by small children and works well with any number of players, even just one adult and one child.
  2. Hide and Seek
    This game can be played with any number of children from just two players to lots of players. One child is the seeker, the others are hiders. The seeker closes their eyes and counts to 100 while the others hide. It’s usually a good idea to set limits on where they can hide e.g. only this end of the park or only in the back garden. When the seeker reaches 100, they call out “coming ready or not” and have to find the others. Any child who is found must help with the seeking.
  3. French Cricket
    This is a simple version of cricket. All you need is a bat (or racquet) and a ball. The batter stands in the middle with the bat in front of their legs. The fielders stand all around the batter. One of the fielders throws the ball and tries to hit the batter’s legs. The batter has to stay on the same spot. If the ball hits the batter’s legs, or someone catches the hit ball before it touches the ground the batter is out and the successful catcher or bowler takes the next turn. If the batter hits the ball without it being caught, the fielder who picks it up is the next one to try bowling.
  4. Chain Tag
    This is a fun game for a large group of children in a big space like a park. One child starts as the chaser. They have to chase and catch one of the other children. The two of them then hold hands and have to chase the remaining children. Each child caught joins the chain until only one child is left as the winner. The winning child is then the chaser for the next game.
  5. Simon Says
    The child who is “on” gives the other kids instructions e.g. touch you nose, hop on one leg. The other children must only follow the instructions if it is preceded with “Simon says …”.  Any child who fails to obey a “Simon says” instruction or does obey an instruction without “Simon says “at the beginning is out. It’s a harder than it sounds and a great game for making children laugh. It’s also a game which can be played equally well indoors as outdoors.
  6. Sharks
    This is a good game to play in a children’s play area where there are climbing frames etc. One child is the shark. The others aren’t safe until they are off the ground (sea) on a piece of play equipment (ship). But they can only stay off the ground for 10 seconds before they have to come down and try to make it to another ship. As soon as they are on the ground the shark can try to catch them. Anyone who is caught becomes a shark too. The winner is the last one caught and they are the shark for the following round.
  7. Frozen
    This is a version of the popular tag game and doesn’t need any equipment or preparation. One child is on and has to tag the others. If a child is caught they are frozen and have to stand still until another child frees them by crawling under their legs.
  8. Misdirection
    This is a simple but fun ball game for a group of primary or older kids. Children stand in a circle and take turns to throw the ball to each other calling out the name of the person they are throwing it to.  The aim is to catch out the person you’re throwing it to by looking at someone else or pretending to be distracted for a moment. Or double bluff and stare directly at the target person. If the person being thrown to fails to catch the ball they are out.

When you have played all of these, we’ve got lots more suggestions in our blog Unplugged! 100 free things to do this summer and fifteen fab ideas for free outdoor fun.

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