Have you been feeling nostalgic for some fun games for kids to play outside? When was the last time you saw a kiddo chuck a rock on the sidewalk while playing a good old-fashioned game of hopscotch? Do you remember your mom battling you to come inside for dinner?
Times have changed, and kids just don’t spend as much time outside as they used to. We live in a world where screens are everywhere, and limitless technology surrounds our children.
There are apps for everything from learning your ABCs, watching videos, playing nursery rhymes – the list goes on. And let’s face it, as a parent, screens are easy to use. Many times I’d rather sit and watch Thomas the Train than put up with one more toddler tantrum.
I’m not proud of this, but it is what it is. The temptations of a screen are always there for my children and me. But I also want my curious kiddos to play some screen-free games outside in the mud.
I want them to not have everything instantly at their fingertips. I want them to find some fun games to play outside instead of sitting on the couch mesmerized by their tablets all day. And I don’t need my youngest son’s first word to be Thomas instead of Mama.
Do you find yourself feeling the same way? If so, not check out some fun easy outdoor games for kids that will get your kiddo away from the tablet and into the sun.
Play some sports – without a PlayStation
Soccer, basketball, and baseball, oh my! Sports are fun games for kids to play outside. Even when I was young, a neighborhood friend would come over with a ball, and we would play soccer in a nearby field.
I am no dinosaur, but when I was growing up, we didn’t have a soccer app, and sports were fun easy outdoor games for kids.
Video games are so accessible now that children don’t move around nearly as much as they used to. In fact, research from the Aspen Institute concluded that only around half of children from the ages 6-12 get in the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity a day, and participation in sports for that age group continues to decrease every year.
An easy way to combat these dreary statistics is to get the whole family involved. Try to plan one night a week to shut off the screens, grab a ball, and play a sport with the family outdoors. Sports are fun games for kids to play outside that could benefit adults too.
Skip to My Lou My Darling – Bust out the dusty jump rope
Remember when kids used to sing and play jump rope outside? This activity’s no longer a widespread occurrence in today’s playgrounds. But jump roping steers kiddos away from the screens, and it’s a simple game that also gets your little rascal’s heart racing.
Our Favorite – Jump Ropes
Mom and dad can handle the rope as your child jumps himself into nutty oblivion. And not only is jump roping one of those fun easy outdoor games for kids, but it will tire your Energizer Bunny out so nap time might come back into the realm of possibilities. You’re running to the garage to dig up that old jump rope now, aren’t you?
Forget the kitchen – take the board games outside
When thinking about fun games for kids to play outside, why not go back to basics? Grab some board games that are already available, such as Candyland and Chutes and Ladders, then head out into a grassy field.
Our Favorite – Board Game
Whoever said that you always have to play a board game inside at the kitchen table? You and your children can shake things up by playing a board game outside. I’m all about simple, so reaching into the closet, grabbing a board game, then running outside sounds like a great afternoon plan for me.
Play that good old-fashioned game of hopscotch
Being a mom of two young children, I’m all about fun easy outdoor games for kids; that’s why hopscotch remains a favorite game in my household.
You only need a piece of chalk and a rock, so instead of spending a lot of time preparing, you’ll have more time to complete a few of the 500 other tasks that are on your mind. Here’s a rock and some chalk, Little Suzy, have a blast! This is one of those fun games for kids to play outside that’s low maintenance and will make grandma smile.
Integrate some outdoor time AND art with a game of cornhole
This game features boards with holes in them. You and the kiddos earn points by throwing bean bags through the holes. Confused? Then check out this site that offers some more detailed directions if you are unfamiliar with this fun easy outdoor game for kids.
Our Favorite: Cornhole Game for the family.
This is one of those fun games for kids to play outside that also integrates art. You and your kiddos could create and decorate your own cornhole boards for another fun-filled family activity that doesn’t involve a screen. Sweet! Or, if it’s been a draining day and art’s not your style, you can buy a premade portable cornhole set here.
Grab a frisbee, get out in nature, and play some disc golf
All you need for this next activity is a frisbee and an imagination because, in addition to playing this screen-free game, you and your little ones can also go outside and create your own course. Disc golf involves throwing your frisbee and hitting specific objects. It’s a Fun game for kids to play outside and courses are even available in some cities.
Frisbee golf is one of those fun easy outdoor games for kids where you can integrate critical thinking skills by creating your own course. Have your kiddos choose the objects that you are going to hit with a frisbee and the order of “holes” for your course design. Depending on your little one’s age, she might keep score, so the game doubles as an educational activity: win-win!
Here is a great starter disk golf set.
Unplug with a nature-themed scavenger hunt
I love scavenger hunts, and this is another one of those fun easy outdoor games for kids that is pretty low prep. You can even get a premade nature scavenger hunt sheet here.
This activity not only gets your kiddo away from the screen, but it also allows him to connect and observe nature. Nature scavenger hunts remain special to me because I find it quite beautiful when my son explores outdoors. Kids are in such awe when in their natural surroundings.
This one nature scavenger hunt image stands out in my mind: My son found a small, green leaf and threw it in a river, then he stared – fascinated – as the water carried it away. Although being immersed in nature with my children requires more effort than the screens, it’s a much more entertaining experience than watching my child play with his favorite bubble popping app. Disclaimer: There are some days a bubble popping app saves me. But a nature scavenger hunt might allow you to see your child in a whole new way, and a few bug bites might be worth it.
Create your own bowling alley in the sun
Most kids like to bowl, but you don’t need to fork up cash at the local bowling lanes. If you haven’t noticed, I’m all about cheap, easy, and low prep. So, grab any decently sized ball laying around – and head outside.
Have your tyke find some objects that can be knocked down. You can use all natural, man-made, or a combination of the two. You can even use this game to discuss the differences between man-made and natural objects.
Our Favorite Lawn Bowling Game.
Items to consider for your pins include branches, small boxes, and more. Your kiddo will have some creative ideas, so don’t fret if he can’t knock all of the “pins” over. This fun game will also get your nature bowler thinking in a problem-solving kind of way, and I consider that a STRIKE!
Many screen-free activities are fun games for kids to play outside, and yes, these require energy. So sometimes it is easier to stay in and play with the animal sound app on your phone. But it might be worth trying out a few of these fun easy outdoor games for kids that will get little Johnny and Suzy out of the white light and into the sunlight.
And who knows? Venturing outdoors might provide you all with a sense of calm. And if your family is anything like my family, calmness is a hot commodity we could all use a little more of.