6 Fun (and Beneficial) Outdoor Games for Children
In today’s increasingly digital climate, outdoor games and activities are more important than ever for children. After all, outdoor games provide a much-needed respite from screen time and offer a host of benefits that screens simply can’t match.
From developing critical life skills like cooperation, communication, problem-solving, and resilience to improving mental and physical health, outdoor games like treehouse playgrounds are a must for any well-rounded childhood.
So, what are some of the best outdoor games for children? Here are six fun (and beneficial) ideas to get you started:
1. Tag – the oldie but goodie.
A classic game that can be played anywhere, Tag is great for large groups of kids and can be tailored to different age groups. Playing tag involves running, a great way to get the heart pumping and the blood flowing.
Kids learn valuable skills like cooperation and communication when playing Tag, as they need to work together to avoid being tagged. They also learn to be strategic thinkers, as they need to plan their next move to stay ahead of the game.
How to get your kids to play Tag:
To get your kids to play Tag, explain the rules and let them loose! If you have young children, you can make the game more gentle by having them walk instead of run.
But if they need a more challenging version, you can add in obstacles, like having to crawl under a low fence or jump over a small bush. Capture the Flag is a great variation of Tag that can be played with larger groups.
2. Swings – Who doesn’t love a swing?
Swinging is not only great fun, but it’s also great exercise. It’s a low-impact activity that helps to tone muscles and improve coordination. This is fantastic for children ages four and up.
Swings are also therapeutic, as rhythmic motion can help to calm and relax the mind. And for kids who are shy or introverted, swings can be a great way to help them come out of their shells, as they can swing side by side with a friend or family member with no pressure to talk.
To get your kids to play on swings:
If you don’t have a swing set at home, head to your local park or playground. Let your kids explore and experiment with different swings, like tire swings, bucket swings, and web swings. And don’t forget the classic playground swing!
Or, if you’re feeling handy, you can build your own swing set! All you need is a sturdy tree and some rope or chain.
Swing Set Parts are also available for purchase online or at your local hardware store. Check out the benefits of playground interaction to learn more.
3. Hide and Seek -the thrill of the hunt!
This is another great game for large groups of kids. It helps to develop problem-solving skills, as kids need to figure out where their opponents are hiding. This game can also be tailored to different age groups and played in different ways.
For example, you can play traditional Hide and Seek, where one person is “It” and the others hide. Or, you can try a variation like Sardines, where everyone hides together and the last person to find the hiding spot becomes “It.”
What are the benefits of playing Hide and Seek?
In addition to developing problem-solving skills, Hide and Seek also helps kids to develop their sense of self-awareness. They learn how to control their bodies and movements, as well as how to be aware of their surroundings.
This game is also great for teaching kids about personal space and boundaries. Because they need to be close to each other while hiding, they learn how to respect each other’s space and keep their hands to themselves.
4. Water Play – cool off with some water fun!
If you’ve got a backyard pool or sprinkler, water play is a great way to cool off on a hot day. But even if you don’t have access to a pool or sprinkler, there are still plenty of ways to enjoy water play.
For example, kids can use buckets, pitchers, and other containers to fill up and dump water. They can also use water toys like squirt guns, water balloons, and hoses to create their water fun.
What are the benefits of water play?
Water is a great way to help kids cool down on a hot day. But water play also offers a host of other benefits. It helps kids to develop their fine and gross motor skills, as they use their hands and bodies to move the water around.
Water play is also fantastic for cognitive development. Kids must use their brains to figure out how to move the water and create different effects. And as they experiment, they learn about cause and effect, trial and error, and other important scientific concepts.
5. Pretend Play on a Treehouse – Explore your imagination!
Few things are as magical as a treehouse. It’s the perfect place for pretend play, as it can be transformed into anything your child’s imagination can dream up. Whether it’s a pirate ship, a castle, or a jungle safari, a treehouse is an ideal backdrop for hours of fun and exploration.
If you don’t have a treehouse of your own, you can build one! There are plenty of treehouse plans available online. Or, if you’re feeling adventurous, you can design your own.
What are the benefits of pretend play?
Pretend play is essential for child development. It helps kids to explore their imaginations and develop their creative thinking, which is a valuable skill that will serve them well throughout their lives.
Pretend play also helps kids to develop their language skills. As they talk to each other and makeup stories, they learn how to use language in different ways. They also learn new words and concepts that they can use in their everyday lives.
Meanwhile, the treehouse serves to hone motor skills. As kids climb up and down, they develop their gross motor skills. And as they use their hands to build and create, they work on their fine motor skills.
6. Skipping Rope – Have fun while getting fit!
One of the simplest outdoor games around is also one of the most fun – skipping rope! All you need is a rope and some open space, and you’re good to go. There are also plenty of ways you can mix up the game to keep it interesting.
For example, you can try Double Dutch, where two people swing the rope while a third person jumps in the middle. Or, you can try playing Hula Hoop, where one person swings the rope around their waist while another person jumps through.
What are the benefits of skipping rope?
Skipping rope is a great way to get kids active and moving. It’s a cardiovascular workout that gets the heart pumping and the blood flowing. And as kids jump and move, they also develop their coordination and balance.
Some studies even suggest that skipping rope can improve kids’ memory and concentration. So, not only is it a great way to get fit, but it might also help kids do better in school!
As parents, it’s important to encourage our kids to get outside and play. Outdoor games offer a host of benefits that are essential for child development. So, next time your kids are feeling cooped up, try one of these outdoor games to help them (and you!) blow off some steam.