What are Some Outdoor Kids' Games?

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  • Written By: N. Madison
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 07 October 2019
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Generally speaking, outdoor kids' games can be more fun than playing inside; kids can feel free to run, jump, and yell without disturbing adults. One of the most popular outdoor kids' games is tag. To play this, one child agrees to be "it," which means the chaser/tagger. He runs after all of his playmates and attempts to touch them (tag them). Once he tags one of his playmates, that tagged playmate becomes "it" and must then chase after everyone else.

In tag, there is sometimes a structure that is referred to as "base," such as a tree, pole, or bench. When one of the playmates touches "base," she is temporarily safe from being tagged. However, she may not continuously touch "base" for an entire game. It is generally only used for a second or two, such as when one runner needs to catch her breath


Hopscotch is another of the most popular outdoor kids' games. To play this game, someone makes a hopscotch drawing on the ground with chalk; it consists of eight sections, which are numbered. Each player starts out with a marker, which is often something like a stone or a bottle cap. Then, one child tosses her marker into the first square, and without touching square one, she hops into square two, continuing to hop all the way to the final square, turning around, and hopping back again. On her way back, she picks up the marker from the first square and then hops into square one and back off the hopscotch drawing.

The game continues with the players taking turns and tossing markers into each square one by one, until they've completed all the squares. A child loses if she tosses her marker into the wrong square, steps on a line, puts any body part down when she bends over to pick up her marker, hops into a square with the marker, or places two feet into one box. This is one of the popular outdoor kids' games that can be played inside too. Instead of using chalk, masking tape can be used to create the hopscotch diagram on a basement or gym floor.

Capture the Flag is also on the list of the most popular outdoor kids' games. To play this game, children divide into two teams and develop two territories. Boundaries of each territory are decided and each team also designates an area for its jail. Then each team places its flag in a set area, from which it cannot be moved unless the other team captures it.

Once the designated areas are created, each team attempts to capture the other team's flag and carry it back to its territory. Some of the children on each team work to guard the team flag while the other children go forth to try to capture the opposing team's flag. Players can capture opposing team members when they enter their territory, tagging them and saying caught three times before the other players manage to escape. When this happens, the captured player goes to the jail area until his team members are able to sneak in and free him. To win the game, one team must grab the opposing team's flag and carry it all the way back to his team's territory.


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Post 3

Most of our outdoor games seemed to revolve around some kind of imaginary story or world where we had to run a lot. We had a big climbing net at our school and would pretend it was a spider web, and there was a place where there was some clay exposed that we would "dig for gold".

It was usually only when a teacher or a parent interfered that we would start playing a game like dodge ball, because we just had other things to do.

Post 2

@KoiwiGal - I'm kind of torn about children's outdoor games like those. I mean, playing dodge ball can be so much fun, but it can also be pretty dangerous.

I don't think that children should be wrapped in cotton wool, but I also don't think we should be encouraging them to give each other brain damage.

Post 1

I always seemed to manage to invent fun outdoor games that were eventually banned when I was a kid. I don't know why I was such a ringleader and I never meant to hurt anyone. It always seemed harmless until someone fell over or accidentally kicked someone else.

My favorite was one that I've heard people call "crack the whip" where kids would hold hands in a row and try to spin around in a circle. I guess I can see now why that wasn't such a popular one with the teachers, but I don't think it was any more dangerous than something like bullrush or dodgeball.

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