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Easy Outdoor Games

I have had the joy of leading some outdoor games for groups of kids of various ages.  There are many games that are easy to play and don't require expensive equipment.  These are games that are easy to bring to parks or just hold them in your back yard. Use these games for birthday parties or family reunions!

Capture the Flag - This is the favorite game in our home school P.E program.  The teams are usually boys vs girls.  Or one team is marked with a red bandana tied around their arm or leg.  You don't need lots of equipment, this is what I use (you can be creative).  Four Hula Hoops, some cones or long rope to mark the middle boundary, and two balls or similar objects for the "flags" to steal. 
Girls vs boys is always fun!
 The basics of the game go kinda like this: Two teams (with equal number of players) cross the center line to go get the ball or "flag" from the other team.  Any opposing team member can be tagged and taken to jail at any point of the game.  To get out of jail the team member has to be tagged out by their own team, once that happens they all get a free walk back to their side (no runs for the ball).  The first team to successfully take the opposing ball or "flag" back to their base is the winner.  There is a lot of strategy involved and adults can really get into it, I have seen military type tactics implemented when adults are playing!

Tug of War - The kids NEVER get tired of this game, I am amazed.  I have also seen adults get into this tug of war with such abandon.  All you need is a strong rope and some knots at various points at each end for hand holds.  I purchased two long ropes from Home Depot for about $6 each, and twisted them together for a super strong tug rope.  We had an incident at a birthday party last year where our tug rope broke people went FLYING, adults fell on kids and dresses went in the air.  I emphasize STRONG rope for this game.

Tag Games - There are numerous tag games out there, these are a few we like to play, some of which need equipment.  Hoop Tag discussed in an earlier post  Centipede Tag - start with one "it" and as people are tagged they become part of the "it" by joining hands forming a long line.  There is great strategy with this game because untagged people can be surrounded by the centipede, it promotes cooperation.  Partner tag - basically everyone has a partner and one set of partners is "it" they run around freezing groups of people.  Groups can be "unfrozen" when tagged by another player.
 Sack Race - This game requires a little handiwork, but it is totally worth it.  I made sacks out of old sheets and random bits of cloth.  If you have a sewing machine or know someone who does this is SUPER SIMPLE to make.  It only has three straight stitches to form a "bag".
To play the game you simply line people up and they hop in the bag to a finish line.  To make the game even MORE fun make it a relay race.  Sack relay race is played by partnering up and passing the bag off at the opposite side and the second person hops back to the start line.  Adults and kids loved this game at our family reunion.

My brother got some serious air on his jumps!

Sack race relay.

Sack race relay pass off. 

The pass off is really hard, but fun!


  1. The Tug of War used to be my favorite game and I still love playing it :) But, for that, you need a strong rope and to discover which one is the best for that purpose, I suggest checking out this article I found on the web, talking about the best types of ropes for outdoor use:

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