Eight Great Outdoor Games to Play with Kids

Playing outdoors is something every parent and child should do daily. Unplugging from electronics, breathing fresh air, getting some exercise, and laughing are what outdoor play is all about.

Outdoor play also helps children to develop motor skills, physical strength, and sense of imagination. When parents play with their children, they are strengthening their bond and demonstrating that physical activity and having fun are important at every age!

Outdoor Games That Kids Love

With a little bit of imagination and a few items from around the house, any backyard or outdoor playset can become the stage for fun games that kids and parents of all ages can enjoy.

Try any of these eight games with your kids, and you may be surprised by the fun you’ll have!

1. Obstacle Course

With the growing popularity of TV shows like “American Ninja Warrior,” kids are eager to test their ninja skills, and a swing set is the perfect place. If the playset is large with multiple features, simply designate one side as the start and see who can climb, slide, or swing to the other side the fastest.

If the playset is small or only has a few features, spread some hula hoops, Frisbees, or balls on the ground. Have players jump from hoop to hoop, weave around the Frisbees, and pick up so many balls before they tackle the playset obstacles such as stairs and ramps.

Just like on the TV shows, one player goes at a time with someone timing them. The player with the fastest time wins.

2. Beanbag Ladder Toss

This game helps kids and parents practice their aim and throwing/catching skills. Assign point values to each step/rung of either a stand-alone ladder or the ladder on a playset. Have kids stand a specific distance from the ladder as they try tossing beanbags over the rungs. Each time they successfully toss the bag over a rung, they accrue that rung’s value of points. The winner is the one with the most points.

3. Sandbox Play

Families don’t need to go to the beach to build sandcastles. Whether using a playset’s sandbox (easily created in the base of certain tower structures) or just a large plastic bin of sand, families can have fun right in their own backyards. Playing with sand is ideal for sparking imagination and improving motor skills. Playing together in the sandbox to create a zoo, neighborhood of homes, tropical island paradise, racetrack, or something else entirely also promotes teamwork and problem-solving.

4. Water Balloon Piñata

On hot days, water balloons can provide just the relief everyone needs. For this game, fill up lots of water balloons and hang them from the monkey bars or swing beams of a playset. Have kids take turns walking under the hanging balloons, trying to break as many with their bare hands as they can. For younger kids, be sure the balloons hang low enough for them to reach.

5. Storm the Castle

This is another excellent game for hot days. Designate an area of the yard or the playset itself as the castle. Let a few kids defend the castle using a large stash of water balloons or water guns. Have everyone else try to get into or on the castle without getting wet.

6. Water Cup Races

This game is so simple but so much fun—kids won’t be able to get enough of it!

Poke a hole in the bottom of two plastic cups and thread each cup onto a separate, long length of string. Tie the lengths of string between two beams of a playset or between two trees. Be sure both strings are parallel and the same length. Move the cups to one end of the string, making sure the inside of the cup is facing the players at that same end. Players then use water guns to shoot water into the cups, propelling them along the string. The first one to get their cup to the other end, or the one who moves their cup farthest by the time water guns are empty, is the winner.

7. Soap Boat Races

For this game, all you need is a playset slide or smooth board that can be propped at an angle, bars of soap, toothpicks, and a few small pieces of fabric or paper.

Simply cut a small triangle out of fabric or paper and tape or glue that “flag” to a toothpick, which can then be inserted into a bar of soap. Once each player has decorated their own bar of soap “boat” with a flag, the races down the slide can begin.

8. Hot Lava

For this game, everyone imagines that the yard is “hot lava” that must be crossed.

This game can be played with Frisbees, plastic bin lids, outdoor furniture cushions, or any other items that can be tossed around the yard for kids to jump to as they cross. This game can also be played on a playset such that children must cross, climb, or swing across the playset without falling in the lava. Winners are those who can cross without ever touching the lava ground.

Want to read even more about bringing home a set? See what our friends at Porch say about it.

Star Quality Swings Delivers the Best Outdoor Playsets for Family Fun

No matter what games you play, the goals are always the same—for parents and children to play and have fun together. Here at Star Swings, we have a wide variety of playsets perfect for every child and every backyard. Get in touch with us today to learn how you can purchase the best play equipment for your family’s needs.