There are so many super fun outdoor games for kids that children love to play, but most require a lot of equipment or planning, right? When my kids are finally ready to run outside, they turn to me and ask for chalk and jump ropes and soccer balls and nets and bubble machines. What is happening?!
Can’t they just go outside and play? Outdoor games for kids really do need a lot of things these days. And that’s ok. I have an entire garage filled with goodies for my little ones to use. I am a sucker for a good Dollar Store run!
But this morning, I was talking to my children about “Four Corners” – remember that game? – and they literally had no idea what I was saying.
Blank stares looking back at me as if I was speaking alien. It got me thinking that I have made my kids too dependent on THINGS and not enough on their imagination.
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When I was growing up (I sound like my grandfather now…) the kids would go outside and just PLAY. We picked up sticks from the floor and used them to mark bases.
We were resilient, folks! Flexible if you will. If the chalk broke, we used a rock. Ok, I’m exaggerating – but you catch my drift.
Related: 10 Sidewalk Chalk Games For Kids – Outdoor Play Fun
Get The Kids Outside
Nowadays, my kids are begging to go zip lining and book Escape Room challenges every weekend – don’t get me wrong. And to be honest with you, we have so much fun when we do! But that’s just not feasible for a regular weekend during the summer.
Sometimes I just don’t want my children to have to depend on anything – or anyone – to have a good time. That’s why it’s important to show them how to have a good time on their own. It’s a little sad to say this, but we have to teach our children how to play these days.
It used to be that other children would teach children how to play. But times are shifting – things are different now.
Kids are forgetting how to be creative on their own because apps and video games are literally walking them through pre-written sequences that determine their every move. Outdoor games for kids should not feel like this and that’s a great thing!
Fun outdoor games for kids require imagination. Something that is diminishing in our youth. NOT IN EVERYONE… but I will be the first to admit out loud that my three are struggling. I won’t deny it. I am at fault.
I didn’t realize the repercussions of the iPad until recently and now we are suffering because of my decisions as a parent. There, I said it.
You Don’t Need A Ball!
Outdoor games for kids can work without props. I know because that was literally MY LIFE. Board games work on rainy days! They totally do. But when the sun is shining – get those kids outside for a little fun and leave them to figure it out on their own.
In case you get sick and tired of having to dig deep into your garage to find THINGS for your children to play with — here are 8 friendly REMINDERS.
8 Outdoor Games That Are Prop-Free: No Ball Required!!
Here are some fun outside games to teach your kids! Hopefully, they will have an idea about a few of these to start – but you can either print these out or just tell them from your own memory. I bet you could sum these up in a few words from your own childhood.
- Four Corners (how to)
- Red Light: Green Light (how to)
- Tag (how to)
- What time is it, Mr. Fox? (how to)
- Duck, Duck Goose (how to)
- Man Hunt (aka Hide n Go Seek) (how to)
- 7 Up (how to)
- Sardines (how to)
That should do it! And by the way, here are 20 Snow Games Your Kids Can Play This Winter in case you want to get ready for the colder months. I’m always trying to think ahead. 🙂
Did I miss any? What did you use to play as a child that you think would work with this post? Would love to hear! Please share your thoughts.
Why Are Outdoor Games For Kids Important?
I am going to speak to you – parent to parent – right now. Our children spend so much time online these days that I believe it is critical for them to have real-life personal interaction that isn’t structured in any way.
That means that it isn’t part of a club or a school program. It’s not their soccer team or their Boy Scout troop. It’s just their group of friends doing what they want and on their own time.
This generation has a lot of expectations placed on them – more than anyone before them. They are expected to be the best, have a plan, excel and get good grades, and generally, know what they want to do with their lives – all at a very early age. A far cry from the 80s!
The pressure is simply overwhelming and we keep seeing kids crack on the news over and over again. Sure, I can tell you that they need outdoor play for exercise and for health reasons.
The truth of the matter is that they need it for their sanity. They need to run around and play tag because that’s what kids are supposed to do.
Monday 4th of November 2013
I am familiar with some of the games because my mom had told me so. But i know this will be exciting. Right now, i am just hooked to playing basketball. Cool article! :)