Classic Outdoor Games That Kids Still Love

Try These Games That Parents and Grandparents Used to Play

In a simpler time, kids played outdoors all the time. As Adair Lara says, they "were set out in the yard in the morning and brought in at night, like cats." To stave off boredom, they played every game they had ever heard of, and invented hundreds of variations. Today, children tend to get more screen time and less scream time. As a result, many children suffer from a nature deficit and from obesity. These classic kids outdoor games are just what the doctor ordered, and besides that,...MORE they're a lot of fun. .

  • 01 of 12
    teach the grandchildren to play kickball
    Kickball is a fun game for grandchildren of all ages. Photo @ altrendo | Getty Images

    A playground ball, an open space, and eight or more kids, and you have the makings of a classic neighborhood game of kickball. All ages can play, with a few accommodations, and the neighborhood windows are safe.

  • 02 of 12
    grandson playing flashlight tag
    A game of flashlight tag can be surprisingly suspenseful. Photo @ Image Source | Getty Images

    What kid doesn't love a flashlight? And if it can be used in a lively game of Flashlight Tag, so much the better! It's like hide-and-seek but played at night, when the darkness lends an air of mystery and suspense.

  • 03 of 12
    teach the grandchildren to play Red Rover
    Red Rover can be a fun game but requires adult supervision. Photo © John Lund/Tiffany Schoepp | Getty Images

    There's hardly an adult alive who doesn't have fond memories of playing Red Rover. Although banned in some areas for being too rough, with proper supervision Red Rover can still supply hours of fun.

  • 04 of 12
    teach the grandchildren how to play hide and seek
    The game of hide and seek has many variations which make it fun for grandchildren. Photo © Yukmin | Getty Images

    Who doesn't know how to play hide-and-seek? Ah, but have you ever played Chain Hide-and-Seek or Sardines? Why be content with the classic kids game when you can give it a new twist? Preschoolers and up will enjoy this game.

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  • 05 of 12
    little boy playing horse basketball
    Making the shot is important when playing Horse. Photo © Rob Casey | Getty Images

    If there's a basketball goal and basketball in the vicinity, you have everything you need for a game of Horse. A game of shooting skill, Horse is ideal for grandparents to play with grandchildren, especially if the grandparents are former hoopsters.

  • 06 of 12
    hopscotch is great fun for grandkids
    Grids for hopscotch can be configured in many ways. Photo moodboard | Getty Images

    Hopscotch may be the oldest of these classic kids outdoor games, as tradition has it that Roman soldiers played it in ancient Britain. Medieval hopscotch courts courts could be a hundred feet long, but a lot of fun can be had with a course a tenth of that. 

  • 07 of 12
    FourSquareBall.jpg
    Four square ball is a simple but fun outdoor game. Photo © Jessie Jean | Getty Images

    Just follow the bouncing ball to play the game of Four Square. With quick reactions and a little strategy, players can work their way up from being a peasant to being the king! This game will be a favorite of school-age grandchildren.

  • 08 of 12
    Grandson Playing in Sprinkler
    Grandchildren enjoy water fun such as playing in the sprinkler. Photo © AE Pictures | Digital Vision | Getty Images

    Kids and water are a dynamite duo. Put the kids in their swimsuits or old clothes, and let the good times begin. Even toddlers can enjoy this game, in which you never know when that Sneaky Sprinkler is going to go off!

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  • 09 of 12
    multigenerational family having fun
    Happy multigenerational family enjoys a outing in a park. Photo © Hero Images | Getty Images

    Kids of all ages can enjoy Red Light, Green Light, a classic kids game that is played all over the globe, in slightly different variations. Modifications allow children of all ages to compete with each other.

  • 10 of 12
    Statue.jpg
    The grandchildren will have great fun playing swing the statue. Photo © Tony Anderson | Taxi | Getty Images

    A favorite game of the fifties and sixties, Swing the Statue will still be enjoyed by children today. It's fun to try to hold a pose, but even more fun to watch others in their strange positions. Swing the Statute is fun as a non-competitive game, but it can be played competitively, too. 

  • 11 of 12
    Capture the Flag
    Grandparents will enjoy watching the fast action of Capture the Flag. Photo © Laurence Monneret | Getty

    Although it's probably been played for a century, Capture the Flag is still a favorite at camp and family reunions. You'll need at least six children to play, and you'll need a large area for the kids to run. For an updated version, play it with Nerf guns.

  • 12 of 12
    Asian Grandchildren Playing Outdoors
    Grandparents love to see grandchildren playing outdoors. Photo © Hill Street Studios | Blend | Getty Images

    A tracking game played by Boy Scouts for many years, Shadowing can be played by groups both large and small. Powers of observation are important for successful shadowing.