by Rachel Wells
Kids thrive outside! Even simple outdoor play time provides children with valuable social interactions, an opportunity to exercise, and helps to reduce stress levels. There are always classic outdoor activities to enjoy together such as playing at the park, riding bikes, using jump ropes or hula hoops, blowing bubbles, or coloring with chalk. But once July comes along, those activities may have lost some of their summer thrill.
We have you covered with some of the best outdoor games and activities to keep your kids entertained all summer long!
You need at least 4 children to play this game. Choose one child to be “it.” All the kids count to 30 while the child that is it finds a hiding spot. After the kids have counted to 30, they will run around looking for the child that was hiding – only when they find him or her, they will quietly hide with them, until all the children are hiding in the same spot (or as close as they can without being seen!) The last child to find the hiding spot becomes the it person for the next round.
Red Light, Green Light
Choose one child to play the role of the “traffic light” and have them stand on one side of the playing area. Have all the other children stand on the opposite side of the playing area. The traffic light will start with their back to the rest of the group. When they yell “green light”, the children will run towards them. When the traffic light turns to face the group and yells “red light”, everyone must stop running. If someone continues to run after “red light” has been called, they are out of the game. The game continues until the traffic light is tagged by another child, who becomes the next traffic light.
Jump Rope Copycat
You only need 2 players for this game, but you can easily add in more. One child starts by doing a trick with the jump rope. The next child then performs the first trick (being a copycat) and then adds a trick of their own. The first child will then need to do both of the previous tricks, plus a new one. The game continues back and forth until one player is unable to perform the sequence of tricks in order.
Chalk Obstacle Course
Chalk is great for making a hopscotch game, but you can take it a step further by making a chalk obstacle course for your child to complete. Use a large driveway or sidewalk area to draw marks for jumping jacks, running around spaces, hopping on one foot, etc.
Sharks and Minnows
This is a great game for when you have a large group of children. One child will be the “shark”, and the rest will be the “minnows”. The shark will stand in the middle of an open area, and the minnow’s will line up at one end, facing the shark. To start the game, the shark will say “little fish, little fish, come out and play”, and when they say that, the minnows will try to run to the opposite end of the playing area without being tagged by the shark. The shark can tag as many minnows as they can. All the players that were tagged become sharks on the next round and can tag the remaining minnows. Continue back and forth until all the players become sharks.
This is similar to regular tag, however for this version players tag each other’s shadows with their feet instead of actually tagging their body. Remember, this game only works on a sunny day!
Before playing this game, decide on a theme for the words in it. You could use dinosaur names, TV shows, fruits, or any other fun theme you come up with. This is a variation of freeze tag where the person unfreezing the tagged/frozen player has to call out a word from the chosen category. Once a word has been used it can’t be used again during the game. If the person unfreezing the frozen player calls out a word that has already been used they become frozen instead!
Find a shady spot a do some hand-clap games
Look up “Miss Mary Mack” or “Miss Susie” hand-claps to get you started.
Go on a scavenger hunt
Nature scavenger hunts are always a fun idea, and will definitely keep kids busy for an extended period of time.
Got some magnet blocks at home? Give them a fresh new spin by heading outside and letting your child stick them to your garage door to make some huge works of art!
Hula hoop toss
Using rope, hang hula hoops from the branches of a tree. Gather up some water balloons or bean bags and try to toss them through the hoops. For added fun you can assign each hula hoop a different number of points and play to a certain score.
What are some of your favorite summer activities? We would love to hear them!