12 Outdoor Games for Kids for Cool Fun This Summer

Do your kids like to play outside?

Are you looking for some unique outdoor activities?

Energize your summer with fun outdoor games for kids.

My Kids’ Adventures searched the web for fun games to play outside with your kids. Some are classics with a twist, others are supersized and many are both!

In this article I’ll share our 12 favorite outdoor games for kids of all ages. You and your family will enjoy them all summer long. Ready to go play?

Looking for summer fun? Try these 12 outdoor games for kids. From cool classics to giant-sized familiar favorites, you’ll find games the whole family will love.

Why Play Outdoor Games?

Playing games is an excellent way to have fun with your family. And games get everyone outside exercising. Play these games in your backyard, at a park, on the beach, on a camping trip, wherever. So pack ‘em up and head on out.

There’s a wide variety of options for all ages. Plus, most of the games we found cost very little or nothing to play. Whether you want a quiet game like Memory or an active game like an obstacle course, there’s something for everyone and every day.

It’s summer. So spend as much time outdoors with your kids as you can. Just remember the sunscreen!

Here are 12 unique outdoor games to play with your kids.

#1: Rainbow Tag

This Rainbow Tag game from Spoonful is capture the flag meets hide and seek. Play in your backyard, a park or around your neighborhood.

rainbow tag

Each time you find a stick, add a line of that color face paint.

Hide five tongue depressors, each with a different color painted on it, and matching face paint sticks nearby. When players find a different-colored stick, they put a line of that color on their faces.

An additional player—“Pinkie”—lurks, trying to tag the players. Each time a player gets tagged, Pinky wipes a color off his or her face.

First player with all five colors wins!

We love this colorful variation of a traditional game. What kid (big or small) doesn’t love face paint? Be sure to play along and add war paint to yourself, too!

#2: Backyard Obstacle Course

Amy Anderson of Let’s Explore posted these obstacle course ideas on Simple Kids. Your whole family can participate. Gather items you have around the house, set up a course and test your skills in a friendly family competition.

obstacle course

An obstacle course can be adapted for any age or skill level.

Pick and choose obstacles that match your child’s skill level and the materials you have on hand. You can even have the kids come up with a few of their own obstacles.

We love obstacle courses! Amy provides lots of simple ideas in several different categories, so there’s truly something for everyone, of every age. Create your own course and have a blast!

#3: Oversized Memory Game

Summer posted this oversized memory game on the Dollar Store Crafts website.

oversized memory game

The oversized memory game is just like the traditional version, only bigger. Plus, you get to come up with what pics to put on them.

Take at least 10 sheets of poster board, draw matching numbers, pictures or symbols on each half, and cut them down the middle. Place them outside, face down and take turns guessing and matching them up.

We love the giant-sized version of this classic memory game. It’s a great way to add an element of exercise to something that builds brain-power.

#4: Yard Twister

Lilly from Listotic has a huge list of outdoor game ideas on her site. One of our favorites is this Yard Twister that she found from Instructables member Steve Moseley.

It’s simple yet fun to play. Plus you get all tangled up with your family.

backyard twister

Twister is a classic.

Make your Twister as small or large as you want. Just spray-paint the circles directly onto the grass, and you can keep playing until the next time to mow. (Be sure to get permission before you paint!)

We think this would be a great game for a birthday party or summer playdate, as well as being a super family activity. Just make the board big enough to accommodate all of your kids’ friends.

#5: Recycled Bottle Bowling

Turn your backyard into your very own bowling alley with this recycled bottle bowling craft from Moonfrye.

paint bowling pins

Paint your bowling pins and then play! It’s a craft and a game.

Add a little paint to some rescued bottles. As soon as it dries, you’ll have an easy DIY game you can play whenever you want.

What a great way to repurpose something you’d throw away. And it would be easy to turn this into a fun nighttime bowling game. Just add glow sticks!

#6: Bean Bag Ladder Toss

This bean bag ladder toss by Landee at Landeelu is a fun backyard carnival game. Label each rung with points. Throw bean bags between the rungs and try to get as many points as possible. Play solo or divide into teams.

ladder toss

Label the rungs. Then toss bean bags and see how many points you can get.

This is the easiest setup ever, and it’s a game everyone will love! Landee has lots of other fun backyard summer activities, so check them out as well.

#7: Hula Blockers

Laura from Come Together Kids says Hula Blockers is simple to set up and play, yet lots of fun for the family. All you need are a few hula hoops and bean bags. So easy!

hula blockers

All you need to play is hula hoops and bean bags.

There’s a physical fitness and coordination element to this one. One person tosses their bean bags into the other hoop, while blocking bean bags from entering their hoop.

To make it a bigger challenge for older kids, try to play three or four people at a time.

#8: Giant Pick-up Sticks

Here’s a giant change-up on an old-fashioned game of Pick-up Sticks! Janel from Nellie Bellie shared her very cool Giant Pick-up Sticks idea on i heart nap time.

giant pick up sticks

Will the giant version of this classic game make it easier to pick up just one stick at a time, or harder?

Spray-paint bamboo yard sticks or stakes different colors. Make sure you paint one of them black for the “moving stick.” Let them dry. Add a coat of clear paint to seal them. Let them dry. And you are good to go!

This could be the coolest yard game ever.

#9: Hula Hoop Game

Ever felt like a human pretzel? This get-active hula hoop game from Spoonful will make your kids bend, twist and turn and also challenge their brain-power.

hula hoop game

The hula hoop game is an active, thinking challenge.

Slide a hula hoop on someone’s arm. Then hold hands in a circle. Now move that hoop around the circle.

This game requires logic and teamwork. And all you need is a hula hoop!

#10: Water Balloon Piñata

This water balloon piñata game from Scrap Happy Heather looks like a lot of fun. Plus, it’s a great way to stay cool.

water balloon pinata

Wear a bathing suit when you play water balloon piñata.

The only prep is to fill and hang balloons. Then break them! Set a timer to see who can break the most balloons the fastest or do it one-at-a-time, blindfolded. Make your own rules, and play over and over again.

What a great combination of two backyard favorites, and a great way to cool off.

#11: Sand Box on a Budget

This is a fun idea that allows kids to have hours of fun getting dirty, even if there’s no beach nearby. Sarah from Frugal Fun for Boys says her kids spend hours playing in this simple sand box.

sand play

Bring the beach to your backyard with sand play.

Sand is an excellent trigger for creative play. Build sandcastles, dig or make up your own sand games. So dig out a storage box and bring the beach to your own backyard.

We love that this sand box makes the fun, sensory play of sand possible anywhere, even if you just have a small patio or balcony.

#12: Soap Boat Races

Jamielyn from i heart nap time suggests soap boat races. It’s an easy, fun family activity that’ll keep you cool.

soap boat race

Soap boat races are cool. Plus, they’ll keep you cool.

Grab a few bars of soap. Make flags from toothpicks and fabric. Then you’re off to the races. Time your boats’ individual speeds or race them against each other.

Got a kid who doesn’t like baths? This is a fun way to sneak in some soap and water!

We hope you found some outdoor games that are perfect for your family. Whether you choose a traditional game with a twist, the giant version of an outdoor classic or an activity that’s completely new, you and your family are bound to have tons of summer fun.

Some Final Thoughts

There’s a special kind of dynamic that develops when you play games with your kids. Taking them outside adds sunshine and fresh air to the mix. And think of all of those great, easy conversations you’ll have as you play.

So, step away from the electronics this summer. Instead, step outside and play unique games with your kids. You’ll make memories and have lots of fun.

What do you think? Did you recognize some of the redesigned games? What’s your favorite outdoor game? What other outdoor activities do you enjoy doing with your kids? Please share your pictures and comments below.

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About the Author, Jennifer Ballard

Jennifer Ballard is the associate editor for My Kids’ Adventures where her past experience as a Cubmaster, birthday party entrepreneur, marketing writer and mom of two boys fits together and finds relevance. Other posts by »

  • http://www.mykidsadventures.com/ KJ Ammerman

    Great round-up, Jen! I love how the activities you selected are all “on the cheap” using items most people have around the house. It’s amazing what can be done with a little modification and imagination!

  • Melody Lopez

    I especially love the Hula Hoop activity! Thanks for the great ideas!

  • http://www.mykidsadventures.com/ Jennifer Ballard

    Thanks Melody! There are so many creative ideas out there. Who would’ve known that hula hoops are so versatile?!

  • http://www.mykidsadventures.com/ Jennifer Ballard

    Thanks KJ. Sometimes looking at everyday things in a new way can yield some really creative ideas. Kids are great at doing that!

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