Backyard games are one great way to create and spend quality time with your children. Aside from the fact that backyard games allow your kids to enjoy their time away from addicting gadgets, backyard games can help strengthen their stamina and enrich their creativity.
Also, don’t forget to personalize the backyard games or outdoor games to make it more fun for everyone.
Here are 25 backyard games or outdoor games we highly recommend:
You can never go wrong with playing one of the popular classic backyard games or outdoor games! Not only will you and your kids enjoy playing Hopscotch, but you can also help your little children learn primary numbers by counting out the squares. And for sure, you will all have an enjoyable time watching each kid struggle balancing him or herself up!
The game is pretty basic since you will only need to have a hopscotch rug that you can place in your backyard plus little stones, which you can also pick up in your backyard, to serve as everyone’s markers.
For a more resourceful option, you can choose to draw out the hopscotch squares on the flattened surface of your backyard using white or colored chalk.
- Each player takes turns in playing the game. The first player must toss his or her marker on the first square. Skipping the square where the marker had landed, the player should hop on the succeeding squares and back again before picking up the marker.
- The next player will take a turn if the previous player happened to toss his or her marker on the wrong spot, landed with two feet, skipped a square, or lost balance.
- The players must also skip the squares where other players’ have their marks on.
- The game continues until someone reaches the last square!
Add a Twist: Have your kids hold a cup of water in their hands as they hop on and tell them that they should not let it spill! They will have a good time with this.
2. Ring Toss
Ring Toss is probably one of the most played backyard games or outdoor games, well simply because it is fun and simple to play! Everyone will have a good time. Playing backyard games like this with your family can sharpen your kids’ focus and practice their mind and body coordination. Your backyard can become a venue for your kids’ self-discoveries without you even knowing!
To emphasize, the good thing about this ring toss game is it’s not all just for fun. With only the use of a few colorful rings and cones placed a few meters away, you get to bond with your kids as they discover new abilities with the ring toss. What a win!
You can also use empty recycled bottles as replacements for the cones. This is not only good for saving money, but you can also use these for other future DIY projects.
- Place the cones a few meters away from the players’ designated position. Place each cone on different lengths, the farthest cone with the highest point.
- Each player takes turns as they try to shoot the rings to the head of the cones.
- The player who managed to shoot the most number of rings wins!
Add a Twist: Choose random cones and assign rewards on each one to make the family game more exciting!
3. Giant Pick Up Sticks
If you want less physically challenging backyard games or outdoor games to play with your kids, then Giant Pick Up Sticks is perfect for you. Yes, it still requires a little amount of body strength since your kids will need to carry sticks longer than them, but surely they will enjoy competing with one another on who will get the most points!
The challenge of playing this family game is getting your kids’ full attention. But how can you possibly do that? By giving them sweet treats on every win!
Involve the kids in making the giant sticks. You can choose to design each stick with different colors and patterns to make it more appealing!
- Have the players hold the stack of giant sticks upward. Once settled, count to three, and ask them to release the stack and let the sticks fall off in the ground.
- Each player takes turns in picking up a stick. Each player should pick up one without disturbing the rest of the stack.
- The player who got the most sticks wins!
Add a Twist: To make the family game even more exciting and competitive, set a timer for each turn and only allow your kids 5-10 seconds to pick one up!
4. Watch Your Step!
Do your kids love running games? Well, guess this backyard game will level up the fun! Make games extra with colorful balloons tied on your kids’ ankles! This does not only add a twist to the family game, but it will surely excite the kids even more.
This family game allows your kids to use their senses in strategically planning their move. Since everyone is running around with balloons tied on their ankles, the kids will need to listen and feel their surroundings for possible threats!
Put water on the balloons to make it harder and heavier to run! Surely the kids will end up laughing while they all struggle to protect themselves.
- Before the family game starts, tie balloons on both of the players’ ankles, placing it behind.
- Any player can pop out anyone’s balloon.
- The player who got to keep at least one balloon on his or her ankle wins the family game!
Add a Twist: Insert hidden rewards on random balloons; whoever gets it can have it!
5. Mini-Golf Course
This backyard game goes for those who love sports. If you want your kids to engage in any sports activity when they grow up, you can start by introducing them to golf courses designed for kids! This family game may not be highly physical, but it can help train their strategic thinking skills.
Building the courses can be a lot of hard work, but wouldn’t you want to invest in something that your kids can use for a long time? Also, you can ask your kids to help you out in building the courses in your backyard!
Make sure that the golf courses are designed appropriately for kids. Measure the length and height of the obstacles when designing courses.
- Keep in mind that the rules of the family game will depend on how you build the mini-golf courses.
- The main rule of the family game is to shoot the golf ball on the hole using a mini golf club.
- Each player takes turns in playing golf until someone finishes all of the courses!
Add a Twist: Put additional mind games like puzzles in each course and have the kids solve these before they can proceed to the next course! These extra games will make the family game educational as well.
6. Giant Tic-Tac-Toe
Mind games are equally as essential as physical games. To make it simple yet exciting for your kids, why not level up the classic game Tic-Tac-Toe? Make a giant Tic-Tac-Toe playing board in your backyard, and let your kids enjoy and have fun with the rest of the family!
Also, make the family game more challenging by making giant X’s and O’s that they can carry. Surely the kids will love it even more!
Be resourceful and use a rope in making the playing board. You can easily lay it on the ground whenever your kids wanted to play, and you can easily keep it in the storage as well!
- Players can play individually or in groups. The players or groups will play using the noughts (O’s) and crosses (X’s).
- Each player takes turns in placing their marks in the 3-by-3 playing board.
- The goal is to place the same marks in the playing board either vertically, horizontally, or diagonally.
- The player or group who gets the highest point wins!
Add a Twist: Make the kids dance and model their marks before they can place it on the playing board!
7. Find Me!
If you have plenty of random items in your backyard, then you should play this family game with your kids! It is kind of similar to the “Bring Me” type of games, only that you already have an item in your hand, and your kids must look for a similar item around the place.
Games like this one don’t need any equipment since everything can be found mostly in your backyard! It is not only resourceful, but it will also encourage your kids to discover new things on their own.
Pick up natural things like leaves, rocks, or twigs so you can, at the same time, teach your kids about these things! You can teach them about the parts of the leaves, for example!
- Pick one item from the backyard and ask your players to look for a similar-looking item.
- The kid who brought the most similar item wins!
Add a Twist: Whenever your kid brings you a similar item, ask them to name and tell a story about it!
8. Paper Dance
Do your kids love to dance? If that so, why not try this backyard game where your kids can freely dance around? I swear they will enjoy the entire game.
This family game is pretty basic. You only need to lay sheets of newspaper in your backyard, play some music, and hilariously watch your kids balance themselves in the piece of paper whenever the music stops!
Fold the paper in small squares. Make it thick, so whenever they need to fold it for the next round, it would be harder to stand on—which makes the family game even more challenging!
- Fold a stack of newspapers in the ground, make sure to leave enough spaces between the papers.
- Have the players roam and dance around their assigned newspapers. Once the music stops, the players should balance themselves in the papers with one foot. Those who lose their balance will be out of the game.
- The remaining players should fold their newspapers in halves for each round.
- The player who managed to balance himself or herself in the newspaper throughout the game wins!
Add a Twist: Ask the kids to strike a pose whenever the music stops!
9. Nature Scavenger Hunt
Regardless of the size of your backyard, this family game would be perfect! Spend the day with your kids hunting for odd things you can find within your backyard. Kids love to play games that let them discover new things outdoors. So why not have them start their journey in your backyard?
Since you want your kids to explore their environment, then make nature part of the family games! Ask them to look for odd, natural things like a heart-shaped stone or a blue leaf. It would be fun if your kids will get to learn anything ‘nature’ as they play.
Make your kids wear scout uniforms as if they are hunting things in the forest! I bet it will make them feel more adventurous.
- The players can play either individually or in groups. Each player or group should prepare their ‘hunting bag’ where they can put everything that they have found.
- Hand a checklist of the things that they should look for in the backyard.
- The first player or group who finishes wins!
Add a Twist: Prepare a different checklist for each of your kids and their friends, so when they all got done, you can ask your kids and their friends to show to everyone what they have found!
Sardines is similar to one of the most popular classic backyard games—Hide and Seek. The only difference is that in Sardines when your kid has found another player, he or she joins the other kid in the hiding spot!
The good thing about this family game is that you don’t need to spend money or DIY anything for any game equipment. Also, you can play it with your kids at any time of the day!
Make every player wear bright-colored clothes so everyone can quickly identify and search for one another, even at night!
- One player hides while the others cover their eyes.
- All the other players should search where the first player had hidden him or herself.
- When a player has found the hidden player, he or she must join the hidden player in the hiding spot. The game continues until the pile grew large.
- The family game will end when the last player has found the entire group!
Add a Twist: Whenever someone has joined the hiding spot, ask the other players to leave the backyard so the hidden players can change places!
11. Blob Tag
Can’t get enough of running games? In this Blob Tag, whoever was tagged should join the row of ‘it.’ Help your kids to be physically active by playing this highly active game. This family game will not only strengthen your kids’ stamina but will also introduce them to the concept of teamwork.
This fun and straightforward backyard game will surely make your kids giggle the entire day. Not to mention that they will probably ask you to play it again the next day!
This game would be sweaty! So make sure to have your kids wear comfortable clothes for the game. A pair of shorts, a pair of shoes, and a t-shirt would be fine!
- Two players should volunteer as the ‘it.’ They should intertwine their arms on one side.
- When the ‘it’ shouts “blog tag,” the other players should run to save themselves. The tagged player should join the row of ‘it.’
- The game will continue until there’s only one left!
Add a Twist: Mimic an animal sound each time a player is tagged. This act will make the game even more fun!
12. Blind-Man’s Bluff
This type of backyard game will help your kids exercise their senses! It is kind of similar to the Hide and Seek game only that the ‘it’ will be blindfolded. I’m sure your kids will love this extra challenge to level up their tag games!
Play games where your kids can learn how to make use of their sense of hearing! To win this game, the ‘it’ must listen carefully, where the other kids were possibly standing.
Since the game will require the kids to be blindfolded, make sure that they are wearing appropriate clothing that will protect them from any harm.
- The group shall choose one player to be the ‘it.’ The chosen player will be blindfolded. He or she must count from 1-10 or longer.
- Once the ‘it’ had stopped counting, the other players should stay where they were standing.
- The ‘it’ will only depend on his or her sense of hearing to tag another player. The game will continue until the ‘it’ has tagged everyone!
Add a Twist: Set a timer, and only allow the ‘it’ to tag someone for only a short period!
More Backyard Games
We have now covered the first 12 backyard games. Next up are the remaining 13 backyard games that could also be a lot of fun.
13. Simon Says
Who doesn’t want another classic backyard game? Well, as a parent, it could be your chance to teach your kids to follow your commands discreetly! Wouldn’t you want your kids to make following instructions a habit?
It would be beneficial to play games that teach your kid to listen carefully and follow correct orders. Like so, a good follower can potentially be a good leader as well!
To make the game more intimate, ask the kids to form a circle as they listen to your commands. In this way, you’re teaching your kids to learn how to focus their attention on important matters!
- The moderator, in this case, the parent, will ask the children to form a circle.
- The only rule for this game is for the players to follow the moderator’s command only if he or she said “Simon Says” at the beginning.
- If a player follows a command without the moderator saying the ‘magic word,’ he or she will be out of the game.
- The game continues until there’s only one player left!
Add a Twist: Give the kids a star every time they follow a correct command to keep them motivated!
14. Silent Ball
How about a ball toss game? Backyard games like this can encourage your kids to be physically active. Your kids can have fun and, at the same time, exercise their bodies!
The very rule of the game is no one should ever make a noise! I bet the kids won’t stop giggling as they try to catch or avoid the ball. Just make sure your kids wear protective clothing when you play.
You can tell your kids and their friends to wear matching colored shirts if you are playing with teams so they can easily recognize their teammates!
- The group shall choose one player to be the ‘it.’ As the other scatter in the backyard, the ‘it’ will count to three and pass the ball to another player.
- As mentioned above, the only rule of the game is not to make any noise! Not even a giggle!
- A player will be out of the game if he or she makes a noise, drops the ball, or makes a bad pass.
- The game will continue until there is only one player left!
Add a Twist: Ask the kids who are out of the game to make funny noises to distract the playing teams and make the game even more fun!
15. Mother, May I
Games can be productive and meaningful if you would like. This game is one of the go-to backyard games of any young parents who would like to teach their kids to practice courtesy. Aside from that, your kids can learn sportsmanship with this game.
Why not play games that will surely create a stronger bond with your kids? Also, make sure to prepare prizes that kids can enjoy after!
Have the kids line up from one end of the backyard, and ask them to raise their hands every time they would like to speak!
- The parent can act as the ‘mother’ of the game. Stand on the opposite end of the backyard where the players lined up.
- The goal of the game is the kids to get close to the mother, but only if she will allow.
- The players can request to take any number or types of steps and will only be permitted if they will say the phrase “Mother, May I” at the beginning of their request.
- The game will continue until one of the players manages to get close to the mother!
Add a Twist: Ask the kids to sing or dance before they make a request!
Make your kids’ typical ball games more fun and active! Have them spend the whole day running and tossing a ball around the safety of your backyard. Just make sure that you choose the right size of the ball for your kids!
Games that help strengthen the stamina of your kids will, later on, be beneficial. It does not only keep them physically healthy, but it also does help them discover their strategic abilities.
Since the kids are playing the game as well, you can opt-in using softballs that kids can easily carry. Like so, this will minimize the impact of the ball when thrown!
- Assign a number on each player and have them scatter in the backyard.
- One player must volunteer to do the first throw. As the player throws the ball upwards, he or she must call a number.
- A player whose number was called must catch the ball and shout ‘Spud!”
- When the other players hear the call, everyone must freeze.
- The player who has the ball can take three steps forward to any players, and try to hit him or her with the ball.
- The other player can do any body movements to avoid the ball but without leaving his or her spot.
- The game continues until there are only two players left!
Add a Twist: Instruct your kids to throw the ball only with one hand!
17. Crack The Whip
Kids love running, games, and fun activities. So here’s a simple yet active backyard game that I bet your kids will love. Crack the Whip is a group game that requires a lot of running and laughs!
With this game, your kids will learn the importance of leadership, trust, and collective effort. As this game demands that the players need to hold each other’s hands, your kids will understand how to work with other people.
Since this game requires holding of hands or arms, make sure to remove any accessories that may cause harm to other players!
- Have the players hold each other’s hands as they line up.
- The person who’s first in line leads the group. He or she can do any movement and move to any direction that the rest will follow.
- The only goal of this game is for the kids to have fun! So, the game will end only until the players get tired.
Add a Twist: Instead of just making random movements, tell the first person on the line to catch the tail of the line!
18. Musical Chairs
What makes games even more fun for kids is when they can showcase their talents! Try this musical and competitive backyard game with your kids and let them be their silly selves!
Not only that, this game encourages your kids to dance themselves out, but it also challenges their skill in listening. Like so, this game encourages your kids to be more active and attentive!
Be resourceful and use empty boxes as chairs. Just make sure that these are sturdy enough to withstand this backyard game!
- Place the chairs in a circle facing outward, and have the players surround it as well. Remember that the number of chairs should be lesser than one than the number of players (i.e., if there are eight players, there should be seven chairs.)
- The players should dance around the chairs whenever the music plays. When it stops, the players must sit down. The player who was left standing will be out of the game.
- The game continues until there’s only one player left!
Add a Twist: Have one person in front to make silly dances that the players should mimic!
19. Stop Dance
Kids love to express themselves in various ways, and one is through dancing! Play some upbeat music and let your kids groove and make silly dance moves. Plus, you can also make them wear fun costumes.
These dance games can not only improve your kids’ dancing skills but can also exercise their balancing skills! I bet your and your kids will end up laughing, seeing each other struggle while you are all in freeze!
Ask the kids to form a circle and hold each other’s hands as they dance! This form can make the game even more fun since the kids can see each others’ reactions!
- Have the players scatter anywhere in the backyard.
- The players should dance whenever the music plays and freeze when it stops. No one is allowed to make any movement whenever the music stops.
- The player who makes any movement or loses his or her balance will be out of the game.
- The game continues until there’s only one player left!
Add a Twist: Tease the kids by making silly dances when they are on freeze!
20. Oversized Memory Game
You can make games educational as well. Your kids can spend their free time playing games while at the same time learning or enhancing different skills. Games like this can help sharpen your kids’ memory as they play the game!
The goal of the game is to help kids develop their mental skills. You can play it with your kids, especially if they love matching type games!
Print out wacky faces on the cards so kids can separately play with it as well! If ever the kids get tired of playing a series of memory games, you can play with these in your backyard as a backup game.
- Place the oversized game cards at the ground of the backyard, downward.
- Each player takes turns in flipping cards twice in each round. If the player flipped unlike cards, he or she must flip it back.
- The goal is to flip two identical cards. When a player matches two images, the cards must be removed.
- The game continues until there are no cards left!
Add a Twist: Add an extra challenge and ask the kids to turn their backs away from the cards every time another kid plays his or her turn!
21. Yard Twister
Kids love games that challenge their strength! Consider playing games like this with your kids and see how they make strategic plans to win the game.
Why not play games that challenge your kids to think and act accordingly in a particular situation? Wouldn’t it be good to teach your kids to work independently and make sense of situations around them at an early age?
If your kids play twister a lot, you can consider spray-painting some parts of the grass in your backyard. In that way, your kids can have a permanent twister play area!
- One must volunteer as the ‘referee.’ He or she must spin the spinner and tell which body part should go in which color.
- The players must follow the direction of the referee. Only one body part is allowed in each circle, so the other players should look for another ‘vacant’ circle if the nearest one is unavailable.
- A player will be out of the game if he or she loses balance.
- The game continues until there’s only one player left!
Add a Twist: Give each player one ‘pass’ where they can refuse to do the act if it seems impossible!
One of the most played classic games of all time! Aside from the fact that it is quite physically challenging, it also allows your kids to be creative in dealing with challenges!
Spend the day with your kids as you all try to surpass the different levels of the game! Just make sure that you make your kids wear proper protective gear if needed.
Look for pieces of stuff in your backyard that you can use to play this game. For example, you can use your clothesline for limbo!
- Players should pass through the line, bending their bodies backward. Each player will take their turn one at a time.
- The line should be positioned closer to the ground in each round.
- A player will be out of the game if he or she has touched the line or loses balance.
- The game continues until there’s only one player left!
Add a Twist: Allow only at least 5-10 seconds for each player to take their turns!
23. Red Light, Green Light
Yes, you can make games educational. This game teaches your kids to follow road signs in the safety of your backyard! Just prepare some DIY signs, and you’re good to go.
We must teach kids at an early age the basic things that they should know—especially for their safety. Like so, it not only teaches your kids to follow road signs alone, but this game shall also train them to follow orders coming from the authority.
Running games like this requires a wide playing area. Allot a designated place in your backyard, and make sure to clear out any debris that may cause injuries!
- The players should stand at one end of the backyard facing the game moderator on the opposite side.
- When the moderator had said ‘green light,’ every player should rush forward. But they must stop on their spot when ‘red light’ is declared.
- A player will be out of the game if he or she loses balances or continues moving forward after declaring ‘red light.’
- The game will continue until someone finally reaches the finish line!
Add a Twist: Make the kids pretend that they are running a car!
24. Obstacle Course
This one goes for all the kids who love extreme games! Build different obstacle courses in your backyard and compete with your kids. For sure, they are going to love crawling, jumping, and running to get to the finish line!
Yes, games like this can be risky, so make sure you take note of precautionary measures to avoid injuries. Obstacle courses don’t always need to be in the mud; you can play this game with softballs and trampolines as well!
Step up your kids’ obstacle course and build customized outdoor courses in your backyard! For sure, it will be messy, but it will surely bring joy to your kids!
- There are no definite rules for any obstacle course, aside from making it doable for the players.
- All players must pass through the obstacle courses within the backyard.
- The game will continue until a player has managed to get to the finish line!
Add a Twist: Place flags or ribbons on each obstacle course that kids can collect!
25. Word Game
If you have kids who love reading, then this game would be perfect! Do your learning sessions in your backyard and have them enjoy their time while playing games!
This game will help step up your kids’ spelling! Aside from learning new words, this can also help widen their vocabulary. For sure, your kids will better appreciate reading books and watching educational shows.
Since most of the kids are easily distracted, use colored letters in these backyard games to keep their attention on the game!
- Each player will take turns in forming a word from the letters available to them.
- One player must start the game by placing his or her first word in the ground either horizontally or vertically.
- The next player shall form a word that has at least one same letter from the previous word and connect it either vertically or horizontally as well.
- The game will continue until the players have exhausted every letter available!
Add a Twist: Ask the kids to use their words in a sentence in every round!
There are plenty of backyard games that you can play with your kids at any time of the day! And what’s good about this is that the backyard games not only serves as a pastime activity, but it can undoubtedly help your kids discover their talents and enhance their skills. Who thought that games could be that meaningful? What a win!
Jen is a master gardener, interior designer and home improvement expert. She has completed many home improvement, decor and remodeling projects with her family over the past 10 years on their 4,500 sf Victorian house. She is also a passionate farmer who keeps goats, chickens, turkeys cows and pigs on her farm, and an instructor for her community’s Organic and Sustainable Farming project.