Looks for things for kids to do outside? Teach them these 15 MORE “old-school” outdoor games that we played as kids!
The only thing more joyful than running through the yard carefree with the grass under your toes is having your own kids running behind you with a huge smile lighting up their little faces. Childhood memories are created in backyards. Games are passed on through generations. Friends are made.
Innocence stands still in time as the neighborhood kids run through your grass playing freeze tag in their barefoot.
The kids will remember how much fun they had with their friends. You will remember standing at the kitchen window, absorbing every short moment of your children being young and carefree ❤️
One day last summer, my kids were playing in the yard with their cousins and complaining they were bored. I suggested they play “Mother May I” and they all looked at me like I was crazy. Not one of them had ever heard of the game. Parenting fail. No one has taught them all of the fun things for kids to do outside in the summer sun (no one as in ME!).
Obviously I had to fix this generation gap by teaching them some “old-school” games we played in the yard as kids. I complied a list of 15 “Old-School” Outdoor Games for Kids and printed it out to hang on the porch. Now when the kids are bored, they have a list of things to play and use to build childhood memories . They don’t even have to ask mom what they should do or beg her for an iPad.
I must not be the only mom who wants to teach her kids the old, fun yard games because the list was pretty popular. I got a bunch of comments with (great!) suggestions for games I missed on that list. So I complied a part 2! More games for kids to learn and even more nostalgia for parents 😉
Part one: 15 “old-school” outdoor games for kids
And now part 2:
15 MORE “old-school” things for kids to do outside:
- Capture the flag- There are so many different variations of this game and it keeps kids busy for hours!
- Kick the can – okay, so maybe this one dates back to our grandparents. Wikipedia has a good explanation of the game.
- Leap frog– Leap frog can go on FORVER if you have some coordinated jumpers!
- 4 Square– I actually remember this from 1st grade recess (I won’t tell you how long ago that was…). Apparently people play this competitively!
- London Bridge– It’s not just a song! Two player hold hands and form an arch. The other players line up and walk under the arch in single file. When the first verse ends, the arch is lowered and a player is captured. The next verse is sung and on the last word the player is freed and moves to the side. He/she waits for the next next person to be captured and starts a second bridge that the players must go under. The last player left who has not been “captured” is the winner!
- Tunnel Tag- This is a “tag” game and when you are tagged you freeze with your legs like a tunnel. To be “freed” another player must crawl through your legs without either of you being tagged.
- Relay race- Try using a toilet paper the to pass from runner to runner!
- Potato sack race- Since you may not have a spare potato sack lying around, a pillow case works just as well.
- Water balloon toss- Fill up water balloon and have children make two lines facing each other. Toss the ballon and if you make a catch, take one step backwards before making the next toss. The last team with a water balloon in tact is the winning team!
- 3 Legged race
- Tug-of-war Jump rope, knot, and battle!
- Follow the leader- Our kids play this now as an obstacle course. The first child runs through the yard and does different obstacles of his choosing (jump over something, go down the slide, climb the stairs, sprint past the shed, etc.) and the other children must follow in the same order. Take turns being the leader!
This makes me want to go outside and play! Oh, and I’ll probably bring the kids too! They need to learn these games to keep the tradition alive and pass it on to their own kids!
Don’t forget to grab the printable version below! Hang it up for the kids to get ideas or take it to your next cookout to reminisce with your old friends! ( Share now with the people you played these childhood games with!)
Don’t forget to check out the first 15 “Old-School” Outdoor Games for Kids !
The next time you shake your head at your kids on their iPads playing Minecraft instead of having a tug-of-war battle, pull out this list and remind them there are so many things for kids to do outside!
15 MORE Outdoor Games!
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I’m a preschool teacher and my kiddos were playing tunnel tag the other day in the gym. I didn’t know what they were doing or that it was even a game, I just knew they were having fun. Oh, and I remember playing a game when I was a kid that was called SPUD. I wish I could remember all the details. Somehow it involved a playground ball. Maybe my brother will remember. Thanks for bring back some childhood memories!
HappyPlace Mom says
You’re so welcome! I never heard of SPUD but it sounds like it brought you a lot of fun on the playground! The imagination and cleverness of children always amazes me. What an innocent and adventurous time of our lives!
I have worked as a lunchtime/noon supervisor at an elementary school In CA for about 10 years. At the beginning of the school year the 1st graders look doe-eyed and lost. It’s been suggested that us supervisors come up with some group/team activities for the kids to play. I’ve been searching for the games I played when I was a kid 40 yrs ago. Looks like I’ve found them here on your site. I’ve excited to share these outdoor games/activities with the kids!!!
HappyPlace Mom says
This so wonderful to hear!!! Thank you for sharing your story! I hope the kids have as much fun as we did playing these games at recess! And thank you for keeping these childhood games alive for the next generation!!!