Classic Outdoor Yard Games to Teach Your Kids This Summer

By Melissa Hucal July 1, 2021

Think back to summer when you were only 8 or 9 years old. Does it bring back memories of playing games in the backyard (or across several yards!) until the street lights came on?

Share that experience with your kids this summer by creating a little summer "throwback" with some classic outdoor games. It's a great way to get your family active and outside.

Whether you're in your own backyard or you venture to a local park or open field, we've got seven games (with variations) to get you started.

#1: Freeze Tag/TV Tag
There's nothing more classic than a good game of Tag! Choose one person to be "it" while the rest of the group runs away, trying not to get caught. Once a player is touched by the person who is "it," they are "frozen" until another player touches them to "unfreeze" them (Freeze Tag).

The "TV Tag" version requires a player to not only touch but also call out the name of a television show to "unfreeze" another player. If the show name has already been used, both players are now frozen!

#2: Simon Says/Mother May I?
Simon Says and Mother May I? are great games for all ages as the only skill required is listening! 

Simon Says has the group following commands together, but only when "Simon" says. 

In Mother May I?, players ask for "permission" to hop, skip, jump, or run a certain distance in pursuit of a predetermined target or base.

#3: Relay Races/Three-Legged Races/Potato Sack Races
Relay races aren't only for picnics and family reunions! Plan a few in your own backyard. Better still, create an obstacle course using the natural landscape.

#4: Horseshoes/Corn Hole
Although it requires a little more equipment, Horseshoes is probably one of the earliest backyard games.

Its modern day cousin Corn Hole requires bean bags and a board with a hole. Points are scored when a player/team "sinks" a bag in the hole.

#5: Hopscotch
Move your activities to the sidewalk! Use chalk to draw your board and hop, skip, and jump to your heart's content!

#6: Kickball
Two teams and rules similar to baseball make up this classic backyard sport. Not enough people? Incorporate "ghost runners" on the bases!

#7: Water Bucket/Balloon/Squirt Gun Wars
Get a little crazy with some water games! Fill up buckets, balloons, or squirt guns (purchased at the dollar store). Keep score or determine winners by how wet (or not!) someone is!