Whether you're young or just young at heart, there's nothing better to do on a warm summer evening than playing some outdoor games.
Outdoor games are not only great for luring your kids away from their screens, but they are also great for:
- - Helping them to develop social skills
- - Get some much-needed exercise
- - Spending time as a family unit
But which are the best outdoor games to play?
Well, you're in luck. We've compiled a list of the outdoor games perfect for you and your family to play this summer. So, get the sunscreen ready, pack some snacks, and head outdoors for some good old-fashioned fun.
The Best Outdoor Games
Sardines is a fun outdoor game that's like hide and seek but in reverse! To play, one person hides, and then when they're ready, everyone else hunts high and low for the hider. When the searcher finds the hider, they quietly hide with them. The game continues until all the searchers have found those hiding, by which time, they are all huddled together like a tin of sardines!
Back Garden Obstacle Course
You'll have as much fun building this one as you will playing it. Think back to your school sports day. There was often an obstacle race that involved hula hoops, bean bags, ropes, balls, and anything else the PE teacher could find in the sports cupboard. So, get creative with what you've got in the shed or garage. Even the simplest things can become an obstacle, like a bucket or plant pot which can be jumped over or run around. Grab a stopwatch or use your smartphone to time each contestant as they race through the obstacles to the finish line.
Do you remember buckaroo? Players would pile accessories onto the horse until it buckled and threw everything off its back - this is the human version of that. The aim of this outdoor game is to balance and stay upright, so start by lining all the players up and getting them to stand on one leg. If someone puts their foot down, they're disqualified. Next, add something to the balancers to try and unbalance them. Keep adding things until there is only one person left standing.
Red Light, Green Light
This game needs no introduction if you've seen the Netflix smash series, Squid Games. But just in case you haven't, Red light, Green light has a similar premise to 'What's the time Mr Wolf'. One person stands with their back to everyone else (we'll call them the 'spotter'), around 10 metres away. The idea of the game is that the players have to creep up on the spotter without seeing them move. The players can only move after the spotter shouts 'green light'. Then, the spotter should shout 'red light' to get everyone to stop and freeze in their tracks. At this point, if the spotter turns around and catches a player moving, they are eliminated. The winner is the player who reaches the spotter first.
Jenga is a game of skill and nerve, and the giant version is perfect for the outdoors. The basic premise of the game is that you each take it, in turn, to remove blocks from the tower and then place it on top of it. The only things you'll need for this outdoor game are a giant Jenga set and a steady hand.
If you've never enjoyed a game of Twister before, then where have you been for the last 50 years! Twister is a game of balance and flexibility where you each have to place a body part on a specific colour on the mat. As more and more body parts are placed on the mat, it becomes harder and harder to make your next move and more often than not, chaos ensues. To play Twister, you'll need a set. We have a special summertime version called Twister Splash, which hooks up to a regular hose pipe. The board then squirts water all over the players for a wet and wild outdoor game that keeps the kids entertained and cool too!
Badminton or Tennis
With Wimbledon over for this year, why not take to your back garden to smash out some aces and relive that centre-court action with a family racquet and net set. Set up on a large grassy area at home or a local park with a 2.4M long net, then choose between tennis and badminton for hours of family fun! This 2-player racquet set also includes shuttlecocks and tennis balls and a colourful carry case so you can arrive at your 'court' in style!
We don't know whether hopscotch has always existed or whether someone actually invented it -
but what we do know is that it's a classic playground game. If you don't know what hopscotch is – like, seriously, where have you been – it's basically some boxes drawn on the floor like below.
To play it, Player one starts by throwing a large stone into square 1, then hop over square one straight into 2 and 3, making sure they only have one foot in any square at any time. They hop and jump up the board and back until they reach square 1 again. They must then retrieve the stone and jump back over square 1. If they complete this without fault, they throw the stone onto square 2 and repeat the sequence. When player one makes a mistake, it's player 2's turn until everyone has had a go. The player who reaches the highest number on the hopscotch board is the winner.
A list of the best family outdoor games would not be complete without a Treasure Hunt being on there. Watching your kids scamper around the garden as they try to unravel each clue while you put your feet up are some of the best afternoons you'll have as a parent. It's also great for developing problem-solving skills, improving self-confidence and developing teamwork and cooperation. When setting up a treasure hunt, you can be as creative as you want. You can write down little notes or shout 'hot' or 'cold' to direct them towards clues to find the prize. The only thing you need to keep in mind is to make sure it's challenging enough that you get some time to put your feet up.
Swingball has it all. A little bit of hand-eye coordination, a lot of physical activity and a sprinkling of chaos. For those who have never played before, Swingball is a game where a tennis ball is attached to a stake by a rope. The two players hit the tennis ball until it wraps itself around the stake. The winner is the player who got it to wrap itself around the stake. Where it starts to get fun is when things get competitive. Before you know it, there will be family championships and people vying to be number one on tour. Swingball isn't a game that you can play with no equipment, so you'll need to buy a set like the below:
So those are some of the best outdoor games to play this summer. There's something for everyone on the list. So whether you want to play a game that's a bit more silly, active or mentally stimulating – you'll be sure to find it in the list above.
If you're looking for other activities to keep the family entertained, then we've got some great ideas in our blog's arts and crafts section.