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Outdoor Games


Red Light Green Light

Location: Beach, Indoor, Outdoor, Park, Playground
Min number of players: 4
Age of players: All

This old game can be played on a driveway, lawn, or beach.

  • One person serves as the stoplight and the others as cars.
  • The cars line up shoulder to shoulder and face the stoplight from at least six metres away.
  • The stoplight turns around with his or her back to the cars and says, “Green Light,” at which time the cars can move forward. But without warning, the stoplight can suddenly shout, “Red Light” and whip around. Anyone the stoplight sees moving has to return to the starting line.
  • The cars have to weigh the advantage of moving quickly toward the stoplight and risking getting caught in motion, or moving a short distance and stopping before the stoplight turns red.
  • When a car reaches the stoplight, the game is over, and the person who made it all the way gets to be the stoplight for the next game.

Capture the Flag

Location: Beach, Indoor, Outdoor, Park, Playground
Required: Two handkerchiefs, pieces of cloth, or small articles of clothing
Min number of players: 6
Age of players: All

Here’s a traditional game you can play with a group of children.

  • Designate a playing field appropriately sized for the age of the players and draw a dividing line in the middle, creating two territories.
    Have the children divide themselves into two teams and place their flag on the back or home line of their territory.
  • Starting from the home line, the players dash across the field and try to capture the other team’s flag.
  • If a person is tagged in the opposing team’s court, he or she must stand in a designated jail somewhere behind the opposing team’s home line.
  • If a player succeeds in getting beyond the opposing team’s home line, he or she can either try to collect the flag and take it home evading the opposing team until he or she is back in their own territory, or he or she can try to rescue a tagged teammate from jail. While the freed teammate can go freely back to their territory to start their next assault, their teammate must evade the opposing team until he or she is safely back in their own territory.
  • The object is to be the first to capture the opposing team’s flag.

Relay Races

Location: Beach, Outdoor, Park, Playground
Min number of players: 4
Age of players: All

This is a great activity for a group of children.

  • Choose a course length for the relay races and mark one end as the starting line and the other as the end line.
  • Have the children divide themselves into two groups and stand in parallel lines behind the starting line.
  • Invite one of the children to invent a relay race, such as crawling backward like spiders, hopping on one foot, skipping, balancing a twig on their noses, running while singing a selected song, or carrying a container of water without spilling a drop. (Should any water be lost, the rule is that the racer must return to the starting line for a refill and start over.)
  • With the shout of “Go!” have the first child in each group make their way down the course to the end line and then return to the starting line, whereupon the next child can start their leg of the race.
  • To the winning group goes the prize of selecting the next racing style!

Target Throw

Location: Basketball court, Beach, Outdoor, Park, Playground
Required: Hula hoop, rope, ball
Min number of players: 1
Age of players: All

Here’s a way for children to boost their throwing and pitching accuracy.

  • Attach the rope to the hula hoop and suspend it from a tree limb, clothes line, or other overhead structure where nothing vulnerable is located beyond the hoop.
  • Adjust the height of the hoop so that it is at shoulder height for the thrower.
  • The target can be used for baseballs, tennis balls or footballs; challenge the thrower to see how many hits they can get out of ten, fifty or one hundred throws, or see how many they can get in a row.
  • Then encourage the children to create additional challenges for their throwing arms.

Around the World

Location: Basketball court
Required: Basketball
Min number of players: 2
Age of players: All

Here’s a variation on traditional basketball that develops court awareness and shooting skills.

  • Before the game starts, players need to agree on and mark seven stations on the basketball court using small twigs or stones.
  • Once the stations are marked, the first player moves to the first station and shoots.
  • If the ball is sunk, he or she moves to the next station and takes a shot from that station. Every time a shot is made the player advances.
  • If the shot is missed the player stays at the station, and the next player takes a turn to advance through the stations.
  • For a more advanced version, allow players who miss a shot to risk it all by shooting again. If the second shot is made, the player can continue to the next station. But if the second attempt is also missed, the player must go all the way back to the first station and start over.