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When the weather warms up, children will inevitably be drawn outdoors. Playgrounds are a natural place to expend some energy, but oftentimes, it’s more convenient for parents and their kids to stay home and play in the yard. In these circumstances, having games to play is a great way to bring the whole family together for an afternoon or evening of activity, and, in doing so, strengthen the bonds of family and friendship. Here’s a list of the best games and activities for families and friends to engage in:


Click to view the full-size infographic:

The Ten Best Outdoor Games for Kids - - Infographic


The Benefits of Outdoor Games

Outdoor games contribute significantly to a child's growth and development. Physical activities like playing catch, tag, or frisbee not only promote overall health but also develop fine motor skills, coordination, and balance. These games also aid in understanding concepts of teamwork, strategy, and competition, instilling essential life skills from a young age. Also, they offer an excellent avenue for children to enjoy the fresh air, connect with nature, and learn to appreciate the environment.

For families, backyard games provide an opportunity to strengthen bonds, create memories, and foster companionship and communication among family members. Children and their parents can let loose, laugh, compete, and enjoy without the constraints of digital distractions. It also enables parents to impart important lessons about winning, losing, and sporting spirit in a fun and relaxed environment.

What’s more, outdoor games also serve as a tool for children to unleash their creativity. Through inventing their own games or modifying existing ones, children tap into their imaginations, and foster innovative thinking; in doing so, they move beyond their screens and engage in active play, boosting their cognitive skills while also having plenty of fun. The importance of backyard games extends far beyond just entertainment, firmly embedding a foundation of healthy habits, strong family ties, and creative thinking that lasts a lifetime. 

Here’s a full rundown of the best outdoor games, how many participants they require, as well as when they were first introduced:


Participants Needed

Invented In

Capture the Flag

At least eight

Early 1900s


Two to four

14th Century A.D.

Tug of War

Eight or more



Two, four, or six

14th Century A.D.




Scavenger Hunt

Six to eight



Two or more

2nd Century B.C.E.


One or more

1200 B.C.E.


Two or more

4th Century B.C.E.

Ring Toss



Edited by: Ben Thompson