40 EXCITING Outdoor Games for Kids (2023)
Outdoor games are the BEST to do with the kids!
Create fun memories by playing these active and exciting games with your family and friends! Some of my favorite memories as a kid were created by playing outdoor games like these.
Quick Links: (40) EXCITING Outdoor Games:
- Relay Games (10 activities)
- Cooperative Games (9 activities)
- Competitive Games (10 activities)
- Water Games (11 activities)
This list is perfect for small or larger groups! So whether you are looking for outdoor games to do with your little family or a family party, I got you covered!
Let’s get started with my 40 EXCITING Outdoor Games for Kids.
Section 1: Relay Games
Activity # 1: Mummy Relay
The kids will get an absolute kick out of this activity. I’ve played it several times during my field day at school as well as family parties!
When the kids see the toilet paper, they will be SO excited!
- Rolls of Toilet paper (*Tip: the best deal is to go to Sam’s Club or Costco and buy in bulk!*)
- Break up the group into even teams.
- Both teams will get 1 roll of toilet paper. One member of each team will be the “mummy.”
- On the GO signal, the mummy will stand with arms stretched out and legs spread apart. The second person grabs the toilet paper and wraps one leg of the “mummy” in toilet paper.
- When the wrapping is done, that player passes the toilet paper to the next player in line, who wraps the other leg. Next, the third person wraps an arm, and the fourth person wraps the other arm.
- Then the last person on the team wraps the mummy’s body and head!
RELATED: Halloween Activities for Kids
Activity #2: Soccer Relay
Soccer is one of the most popular sports to play with kids!
They will get the chance to run, kick, dribble and practice their shooting skills.
- Divide the group into 2 teams.
- In this relay, the first person dribbles the soccer ball through a set of cones and traps it on a ploy spot.
- They will kick the soccer ball in the goal and dribble it back to their team’s line. The first team to complete the relay is a winner!
Seem too easy for some of the older kids?
Think about backing the lineup for those teams to challenge them!
RELATED: Soccer Activities for 5-Year-Olds
Activity #3: Pizza Box Relay
This will be a FAN favorite. It may even become an activity that becomes an annual game that you play!
Plus, you can get some pizza out of the deal, which is always a plus, right?
- Pizza boxes (check your local pizza shops, they may donate!)
- On the GO signal to begin, the first player in each line will run down to get a pizza box, then run back and hand the box off to the next player.
- The second player in the line will carry the pizza box down, pick up another box, run or walk fast, and hand the pizza boxes to the next person.
- If a player drops the boxes, they pick them up and keep heading back to their team’s line. This will continue until everyone has had a chance!
Want to check out how this is done? Watch here!
Activity #4: Baton Race
This is an easy but super fun relay that is perfect for all ages!
All kids want to do most of the time is run, right? This outdoor game is great for them to get some energy out!
- Divide the group into 2 equal teams for this speed relay.
- On the GO signal, the first player runs with the baton all the way down to the cone and back.
- When returning, the runner passes the baton to the next person, who then begins to run!
- When the runner is done taking their turn, they need to sit down. The first team to have everyone sitting down is the winner!
RELATED: Exercises for Kids
Activity #5: 100 Yard Dash
This is a great one for kids to do individually or with a group of people!
I’ve set this up for my kids to do in our backyard. They love trying to beat their score each time!
- Measure out 100 yards on your playing field and mark it off with cones.
- The kids will all line up on the line and run as fast as possible from one line to the other line.
- The person that gets their first wins!
RELATED: Active Games for Preschoolers
Activity #6: Wheelbarrow Race
Teamwork activities are crucial to kids’ development! It’s so important for them to learn how to work together to complete a task.
It’s an everyday life skill that will help them throughout their life! This fun race is perfect to do at a family party or in physical education class!
- The players will partner up. One person will have their hands on the ground, and the other person will be standing up, holding their legs.
- On the GO signal, the person on the ground will be moving their hands, and the person who has their feet will be moving their feet to try to get to the finish line before the other groups!
Activity #7: 3 Legged Race
Looking for another fun way to work on team-building skills? Try out the classic 3 legged race activity.
The kids will get an absolute kick out of the fact they have to be linked to someone else to do this race!
- 3 legged race bands
- One group should have 1 band.
- One person should have it on their left leg, and the other person should have it on their right leg.
- The groups are trying to make it to the finish line before the other groups! So if they fall, they should get back up and keep going!
Activity #8: Drop and Pop Relay
The drop and pop relay is my all-time favorite relay! It’s such a fun one to watch and be a part of.
Kids will love popping the balloons on the chair! This activity gets competitive, but it’s entertaining!
- Each person will get a balloon. Then, inflate the balloons so each is roughly the same size.
- 2 chairs will be set up for each team across from each other.
- On the GO signal, the first member of the team carries a balloon to the chair, drops the balloon on the chair, and then sits on the balloon until it pops.
- When the balloon pops, the student runs back to their team and tags the next person in line.
- The relay continues until the last student in each team has made it back to the line—the first team to finish wins.
Activity #9: Non-Stop Hoop Pass
This activity is great for a relay, and it also works on team-building skills!
The non-stop hoop pass is perfect for a school field day or a lesson on cooperative learning.
- This activity is performed by four teams as a relay race.
- Each team must hold hands in a straight line and can’t let go.
- A pile of hula hoops is placed at the feet of the first players in each line.
- On the GO signal, the first person in line will slip a hula hoop on their arms, get it over their heads, step in it with one leg, step out of it with the other leg and jiggle the hoop to the arm of the adjoining player.
- The task is to pass all 5 hula hoops through the line as quickly as possible.
- The relay is completed when all 5 hula hoops make it to the other end of the line. The first person may send another hoop are soon as the previous hoop touches the ground on the other side.
Activity #10: Potato Sack Relay
There is nothing more classic than the potato sack relay race! It’s the perfect outdoor game for kids and adults!
Potato sack races bring me back to my childhood! I have so many fun memories of doing these races.
- Split the kids into even teams and give the first person in line a potato sack.
- On the GO signal, the first person will hop with their potato sack to the cones on the opposite side and back.</li>
- Once they get back, they will take off their potato sack and hand it to the next person in line.
- The relay is done once everyone has had a turn!
Section 2: Cooperative Activities
Activity #11: Keep it Up!
This outdoor game is perfect to work on those eye-hand coordination skills!
I always used to do this activity as a part of my volleyball unit with my students at school.
- big beach ball
- small beach ball
- jump ropes
*I have used the one that I linked, and it has worked great. I bought a different one to try to go a little cheaper, and it popped during my field day event.*
- Have the players circle up and try to volley the small beach ball in the air as many consecutive times as possible without hitting the ground.
- The players are responsible for keeping track of the number of consecutive hits.
- Start over from zero when the ball hits the ground.
- The highest score will be the winner of the contest. After a few minutes of trying this with the smaller beach ball, bring out the BIG BEACH BALL! Then, do the same activity again.
Need to spice this up a bit?
Turn it into a volleyball game by splitting the kids up on two sides, tie jump ropes together on the ground, and have the kids try to hit the ball over to the other team on the opposite side of the jump ropes!
Activity #12: Parachute
What’s the number one thing that you remember from your physical education class growing up?
I bet the parachute is the thing you remember!! It’s that or the scooters 🙂
Check out this video to see some pretty awesome games that you can play with a parachute.
There are endless amounts of activities that you can do with a parachute! I could make an entire article on this… (maybe I just will).
Activity #13: Fill The Bucket!
Cleaning has never been this much fun!
It’s funny when you add a little competition to something; it makes it more exciting.
- 100+ assorted balls
- Have the kids make a circle around the bucket, which is placed in the center( depending on what age the kids are, you can have them as close or as far from the basket as you want.)
- You can also place poly spots on the floor too, so players know exactly where to stand!
- On the GO signal, the kids will work together to pick up the balls on the floor and throw them in the basket (using underhand or overhand throwing technique.)
- This can be timed using a stopwatch, and once it is done once, they can do it again to try to beat their time.
Activity #14: Foam Ball Passover
Every year during our team-building unit in physical education, I would do this with my elementary students!
They loved this challenge; it isn’t easy! They have to work together, communicate, and not get frustrated with each other.
- The players will line up in a straight line and lay down (kids’ feet need to be close to the other person’s head in the line but should not touch another person’s head).
- The first person in line will start with the ball in their feet.
- On the GO signal, they will rotate their body back and attempt to hand the ball off to the next person in line without using their hands.
- The next person in line has to use their feet to grab the ball from the other person’s feet. The students will try to move the ball throughout the line as quickly as they can.
*This activity can also be done as a relay to get more kids involved*
Activity #15: Minefield
Kids love this challenge of getting through a “minefield” without touching anything!
This is a wonderful activity for kids to practice how to talk to each other!
- jump ropes
- hula hoops
- bean bags
- Set equipment out all over the playing area!
- The person in charge can choose who is partners together or the kids can.
- One of the kids in the partner group will be given a blindfold. The other child will be able to see.
- The partner who can see will be guiding the blindfolded person through the minefield.
- They can tell the partner words like “forward, straight, backward, left and right” to help them get through without touching any equipment.
- If they bump into a piece of equipment, they have to start back at the beginning. The goal of the activity is for the kids to work together to make it through the field by talking to each other and giving good directions!
Activity #16: Parachute Volleyball
This is the coolest cooperative activity! I remember doing this activity with my kids in physical education, and they loved it!
This outdoor game is especially great for younger kids who can’t quite hit the volleyball over the net yet!
*The sports net that I linked is portable, which if you are having your field day activities outside, this would be a perfect addition to make your day run smoothly instead of going inside!
- The kids will be split up into 2-4 teams, and they will get a parachute.
- One team will start the game by working together to throw the ball into the air, trying to get it over the net.
- The other team will attempt to receive the ball by moving where the ball will land to try to catch it.
- After they catch it, they can try to send it over the net or pass it to the other group next to them.
- Scoring can be kept as regular volleyball is up to 25 rally scoring!
Activity #17: Balloon Launching
When are water balloons not a hit with kids? This activity is sure to be a winner!
Balloon launching is the perfect outdoor game for a family get-together too!
I recommend getting the brand Bunch O Balloons since it makes a lot of balloons at once. You don’t want to have to fill up water balloons one by one the day of the event; you will be busy with many other things!
- Create several groups of 3 kids and have them work together to create a tower using plastic cups on one side of the playing area.
- A few feet away from their towers, there will be a slingshot and water balloons.
- Each group will be working together to use the slingshot to send the water balloon flying to knock down the tower they created!
- If they are successful, have them try it again and switch up who is doing what job with the slingshot. The kids will LOVE this activity, so they will want to do it MANY times.
Activity #18: Cheese Movers
This was a fan favorite during our team-building unit in physical education class!
It was one of my favorite activities to do with the kids as well. It’s a great way for them to work together and have fun!
- 2 large yellow dodge balls
- soft dodge balls
- poly spots.
- Split the group up into 2 teams. One team will be called the “mice,” and the other team will be called the “cats.”
- The cats will be lined up on the sidelines of the playing area (you can use poly spots so kids know where they should stand to throw the ball). The mice should be lined up in a straight line at the start of the court/field.
- On the GO signal, the first mouse will run the piece of cheese (yellow dodgeball) to the opposite side of the area and back to their team.
- The cats are throwing dodge balls at the mice. If a mouse gets hit below the shoulders, they sit down with the ball. The next person has to get the ball and make it back to their team without getting hit!
- The end goal is to try to get the cheese back to the end line. If everyone gets out, then switch roles!
Activity #19: Cross the River
This is a classic game to work on communication and teamwork skills.
This is a great game to play outside with the kids on field day or just a game to try at home with your family!
- poly spots/hoops
- Split up the teams, and they should line up behind a basket.
- Inside the basket are river rocks (poly spots). The first student will get the spot out, place it on the ground and step on it.
- The next student gets a spot out, passes it to the first person, places it on the ground, and steps on it. The second person then steps on the first spot.
- This continues until all the spots are gone, and a bridge is made.
- Once the bridge is made, someone will say “Cross the River,” and all students will step on a “rock” and cross the river.
- If someone steps/falls off, they must go back to their line, and everyone behind them will move up and try again.
Section 3: Competitive Activities
Activity #20: Tug-O-War
This is a classic game that never gets old! It can even be done with 2 people!
Tug-O-War is the perfect game to add to your outdoor game list!
- Tug -O- War rope
- Lay the rope in a straight line and split the kids up into 2 even teams.
- Place one group on one side of the rope, and the other team should go on the opposite side.
- The kids should line up in a straight line on each side and pick up the rope.
- On the GO signal, each team will be pulling as hard as they can.
- The object of the activity is to try to be the team to pull the other team, so they cross the line first with their feet before their team crosses the line.
- Once the first persons in line’s feet cross the line, the other team has won!
Activity #21: Ultimate Frisbee
Ultimate frisbee was a fan favorite of my students when I was teaching! It’s a competitive and fast-moving game.
I love that it’s constantly changing sides, so the kids have to pay attention at all times!
- Split the group into 2 even teams.
- You can see who will start with the Frisbee by doing rock, paper, scissors; the team that wins gets to start with the Frisbee.
- The person that has the Frisbee can take 2 steps with it. The defense has to back 3 steps away from the person with the Frisbee.
- If the Frisbee hits the ground, it’s the other teams, Frisbee.
- The game’s object is to try to throw the Frisbee to teammates down the field to score in the end zone.
Activity #22: Pin Knock Over
Pin knock-over is a great aiming game for kids! They get to work on their throwing and rolling skills as well.
This can be done as an indoor or outdoor game!
- foam/ bowling pins
- Divide the group into two teams.
- To set up the game, each team should have an equal amount of pins on their side.
- The goal is to knock down the other team’s pins without crossing the half-court line.
- The students can roll or throw the balls.
- They are not throwing the balls at each other!
- If a player gets hit with the ball from their knee below, they have to perform 10 jumping jacks to return to the game.
Activity #23: Capture the Flag
I recently played capture the flag with my nephew and his friends at his 8th birthday party, and they had SO much fun!
They actually didn’t want to stop playing! They would have played the entire party, I think.
- Teams should be split up evenly.
- Each team will work together to create their own forts where their team’s flag will hide (3-4 minutes to complete this task!)
- On the GO signal, students can cross the middle line to try to get the other team’s flag.
- If they get tagged by someone on the other team, they must do 10 push-ups before entering back into the game, and they must go back to their side.
- If a student gets the flag and is on their way back with it and gets tagged, they must drop the flag where they got tagged.
- The team can’t pick the flag back up; it stays where they were able to run it to.
- If a team successfully grabs a flag, that round is over, and you will play again!
Activity #24: Obstacle Course
Outdoor obstacle courses are fun and easy to set up!
I love that they can be done over and over again too! The kids can even get timed to try to beat their score.
- hula hoops
- balance beam
- pool noodles
- exercise ladder
- inflatable tire
- hippity hoop balls
- The best thing about this activity is that you can be as creative with it as you want!
- You can use any of the equipment that I mentioned or other equipment that works well in your classroom/home.
- To make this competitive, you can time each student to see how quickly they can go through the course.
Activity #25: Softball Throw
I remember one of my favorite esports growing up was softball. So doing a softball throw at field day was one of the things that I looked forward to!
This is the easiest outdoor game set-up there is, which is always a win!
- sticky notes
- Have a starting point set for the kids to stand on to know where to throw the ball.
- Once they throw the ball, place a cone where the ball hit (not rolled to) and place a sticky note on the cone with the student’s initials on it.
- In the end, then you will be able to see who threw the ball the furthest!
Activity #26: Basketball Lay-Up Competition
This is another great sports competition that you can include on your outdoor game list!
Basketball activities are always a hit with kids and adults!
- basketball hoops
- One person should be at each basket.
- A volunteer should be standing at each basket to count how many baskets they make.
- On the GO signal, the kids will have 2 minutes to see how many lap-up shots they can make.
- At the end of the 2 minutes, the volunteers will write down how many each child scored, and then the next group would go.
RELATED: Basketball Activities for 5-Year-Olds
Activity #27: Track and Field Events
At my school, the track and field events are the biggest part of our field day.
Some of these can’t be recreated at home, so this one is more for the teachers that can use the school facilities!
- At one of the schools I taught at, we did the following events: 100m, 400m, 800m, 4x100m relay, and 4x400m relay.
- We also did long jump and shot and disc.
- If you are planning a middle school field day, these events are really fun for the students to be a part of! Everyone not involved is in the stands cheering on their teammates as well!
Activity #28: Bench Ball
Bench ball is perfect because it’s cooperative but also competitive!
It works on throwing, catching, defensive skills, strategy, and communication!
- 2 gymnastics mats
- 2 hula hoops
- 1 football
- dodge balls
- Split the group into 2 equal teams.
- Set two gymnastics mats up on each side of the playing area.
- One student from each team will go stand on the opposite sides mat (bench).
- The goal of the game is to get your team on the bench before the other one does.
- To get over to the bench, they must throw a ball over to their teammate on the mat, and they must catch it.
- Once someone makes it on the bench, they can help catch balls too.
- If they step off the mat, they have to return to their side.
- When someone catches the football on the mat, the person who throws it goes to the mat and can bring a friend!
- If anyone has a hard time throwing that far, I have put hula hoops out on each side that students can go into to throw the ball, only one person in the hoop at a time.
Activity #29: Sharks and Minnows/Octopus Tag
Sharks and minnows is a fan favorite by ALL the kids! Whenever there was a free choice day in class, this was always one of the choices the kids wanted!
If you have a group of kids at the house for a play date or a party, this is great to get the kids outside and have some fun.
- Create a playing area by setting up a rectangle of cones. This will be the starting line, finish line, and boundary lines during gameplay.
- Choose 2 kids to be the sharks. They will stand in the middle of the playing area!
- Have the minnows (kids that aren’t taggers) head to the starting line. Then, on the go signal, they will try to run to the side without getting tagged.
- If they get tagged, they turn into seaweed. They are stuck, but they can move their arms back and forth to tag others passing by them, but they can’t move their feet.
- Play will continue until all players get tagged by the sharks or the seaweed!
RELATED: Tag Games for Kids
Section #4: Water Games
Activity #30: Water Balloon Spoon Relay
Spoon relays are perfect for an outdoor event or just for some backyard family fun.
- The players should be split up into even teams.
- On the GO signal, the first person in line will pick up a water balloon and place it on a spoon.
- They will walk down to the cones and back, trying not to drop the water balloon.
- If a water balloon drops but doesn’t break, they can pick it up and keep going.
- When it breaks, a volunteer will bring them a new one where it popped.
- Once they make it back to the beginning, they hand the spoon off to the next person, and the relay continues!
Activity #31: Sponge Tag
Kids and adults will all LOVE sponge tag!
It’s the perfect game to stay cool on a hot day, and it’s a fast-moving game to keep everyone engaged!
- A large bucket of water
- You are trying not to be tagged in this game, but most kids will want to be!
- One player will start with a sponge. Then, they will try to tag other students with the sponge (they can’t throw it).
- When a student gets tagged, they will grab another sponge and join the tagger!
- The last player standing becomes the new tagger for the next round.
Activity #32: Water Balloon Volley
Teamwork and water?! Sounds pretty awesome to me.
The parachute is always a supply the kids go crazy for! This water activity may be one of their new favorites.
- water balloons
- small parachutes/beach towels
- sports net
- This game is very similar to the Parachute Volley that I mentioned earlier! The only difference is, is that you use a water balloon instead of a beach ball!
- The class will be split up into 2 teams, and each team will get a parachute that everyone will hold onto.
- One team will start the game by working together to throw the ball into the air, trying to get it over the net.
- The other team attempts to receive the balloon by moving where it will land to catch it.
- If the balloon doesn’t pop, they can send it over the net or pass it to the other group next to them.
- Scoring can be kept as regular volleyball is up to 25 rally scoring!
Activity #33: Fill it up
This is a classic field day game that is used around schools across the world!
It never gets old, though; the kids ALWAYS love it!
- 2 sponges
- 4 buckets
- The players will be lined up in a straight line in-between each bucket.
- The first person in line will be given a sponge. On the GO signal, they will dip their sponge into the bucket of water.
- They will pass the sponge down the line to all the people, and the last person in the line will squeeze the sponge out into the bucket at the end of the line.
- That last person will run the sponge back up to the front of the line, dip the sponge in the water again, and pass it down the line.
- The team that reaches the line on the bucket at the end first wins!
Activity #34: Beach Ball Blaster
Beach ball blaster is sure to be a hit! It’s great for some outdoor family time!
This is also a great one to use on field day or for some end-of-year classroom fun!
- 2-3 large beach balls
- super soakers
- There will be around 3-4 kids at each beach ball.
- Each person will get a super soaker.
- On the GO signal, the goal is for the teams to work together to shoot the ball with the water gun to make it move.
- They are trying to be the first team to get their beach ball to make it over the finish line!
Activity #35: Splash Out Hot Potato
This is such a fun spin on the classic hot potato game!
It’s wonderful for some an outdoor game for kids and families.
- Splash Out Hot Potato Game
- water balloons
- This is a version of hot potato but better because WATER is involved!
- All of the kids will form a circle, and they will pass the potato until someone gets splashed!
- To play again, you just have to put in another water balloon.
Activity #36: Cup to Cup
Want the kids to get soaked? Cup to cup is the BEST game!
It’s such an easy outdoor game set-up too, which I always appreciate!
- plastic cups
- Break the students up into 2 equal teams and line them up in a straight line.
- The first person in line will dip their cup into a bucket of water.
- They will lift the cup over their head and try to get as much water as possible in the player’s cup behind them.
- This will continue throughout the line, and the last person will dump the water in another bucket.
- The team that has the most water in their bucket, in the end, is the winner!
Activity #37: Water Balloon Baseball
Baseball is one of my favorite outdoor games to play with the kids. It reminds me of my childhood!
This is a fun twist to the game that kids will LOVE!
- baseball tees
- foam/plastic baseball bats
- water balloons
- The students will form a line behind the home base to hit a water balloon.
- The balloon can be pitched, or they can choose to hit it off of a batting tee.
- Once they swing and the balloon pops, they will run to first base.
- The second person in line will then go, and each player will keep advancing on the field.
- Once a player gets to home plate, they will stand back in line, and if there is time, everyone can go again!
Activity #38: Duck Duck Goose (Water Style!)
Believe it or not, kids still love Duck Duck Goose!
I’m happy they do because it’s such a simple and fun game!
- plastic cups
- All the players will sit in a circle.
- The “ducker” will have a cup of water.
- They will say “duck” like usual, but when they want to “goose” someone, they will dump the water on that person’s head!
- The person who gets splashed tries to run to tag them before they sit down in their spot.
Activity #39: Super Soaker Tower
You can do an outdoor STEM game with your kids that involves water guns? Sign me up!
Kids will love the building aspect of this game as well as knocking their buildings down!
- Super Soaker water guns
- plastic cups
- small tables
- Players will form several lines depending on how many tables and super soakers that you have available.
- There should be a line where the player is shooting the water gun from.
- A volunteer will set up a small tower of 6 cups for the kids to knock over with the super soaker.
- They will get 30 seconds to try to knock the tower over.
- When the cups get knocked over, they will be set up for the next person.
- If they don’t get knocked over, they will hand the water gun to the next person in line.
Activity #40: Water Balloon Toss
I’m going to end the article with a classic outdoor game for kids.
A water balloon toss is never a bad choice when you are picking some fun outdoor activities.
- water balloons
- Each player will get a partner and a water balloon.
- They will stand a few feet away from each other to begin, and they will toss the water balloon back and forth to each other.
- After they both successfully catch the balloon, one player will take a step back.
- They will keep doing this until they drop their balloon and it pops.
- When it pops, they will get another balloon and start close again.
Final Thoughts and Conclusions
Outdoor games are exciting to plan! Whether it be for your small family game day or a larger event, these outdoor games are sure to be a hit.
There’s nothing better than getting outside to play some fun games. Adding some cooperative learning and gross motor skills is even better!
In the comments below, let me know if you try any of these activities! I’d love to hear how they went!
Now, get outside and play!