If you’re looking to get your family, friends, or coworkers out of the house and have some fun, these classic outdoor games are a great way to go. Whether it’s summertime in the backyard or cool evening air at the park, these activities will add a spark of life to any gathering.
From tag and hide-and-seek to horseshoes and croquet, there’s a classic outdoor game for every style of play. These games are great options because they don’t require many (if any!) special materials or equipment—just a little imagination and some enthusiasm can get you started.
So get outside and enjoy a beautiful summer of fun!
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Classic Outdoor Games to Play this Summer
1. Burn off some energy with red light, green light.
Red light, green light is a classic outdoor game that’s great for getting kids (and adults!) up and moving.
Players stand in a line at one end of the playing area while someone stands at the other end facing them. On the traffic light “green light,” players advance toward the leader as quickly as they can.
When the leader shouts “red light,” everyone must freeze. Any player who is still moving when the leader calls ‘red light’ is out! The first person to tag the leader wins.
This game is a charming way to get in some active play while having lots of laughs with your friends and family this summer.
2. See who has the best hand with a bean bag toss.
Bean bag toss, also known as corn hole, requires two boards with a semi-large hole on them and eight bean bags. The goal of the game is to take turns throwing the bean bags at the board and trying to land them in one of the six-inch diameter holes in the board.
Players get 3 points for each bag they land in the hole and 1 point for each bag that lands on the board. The first player or team to reach 21 points wins.
This classic outdoor game is perfect for a summer day with family and friends, as it requires a bit of practice and patience to become good at it! Plus, there are many variations of bean bag toss that can be played, to help keep things interesting.
3. Find a creative spot to lay low during hide-and-seek.
Hide-and-seek is a classic game of stealth, strategy, and a whole lot of fun. Plus, it’s easy for younger kids to get the hang of.
During the game, one player—known as ‘it’—must locate all the other players who are hiding in various locations around the playing area. After it has found everyone, the game ends, and ‘it’ will become a hider in the next round! It’s an excellent game for sparking creativity, as players must find inventive places to hide.
For a twist, try Sardines. This game works similarly to hide-and-seek but with a more hilarious twist. The person who is ‘it’ will look for all the other players and when they find them, they must join the group in hiding—fitting as many people as possible in one spot until the last person finds them!
4. Compete for the glory of winning Capture the Flag.
Capture the Flag is a delightful game of strategy, strength, and speed. Players are split into two teams, each with a designated base. The goal of the game is to steal the other team’s flag and be the first team to return it to their home base without getting “tagged” by an opposing team member.
This entertaining game requires physical agility as well as strategic thinking, making it an ideal choice for a summer day with friends or family. Not to mention, bragging rights are up for grabs with whoever is victorious!
5. Learn a traditional jump rope song.
All you need is a jump rope, some energy and enthusiasm, and a bit of rhythm. Come up with a song or choose from one of these classic rhymes.
Jumping rope is a lovely activity for all ages, and it can help you stay active without being too strenuous. Whether you make up your own rhymes or follow an old traditional song, jump rope is the perfect way to get active outdoors.
6. Grab some chalk and make your own four-square court.
Four Square is a classic outdoor game that requires just a few pieces of chalk and a rubber ball. This ball game is perfect for older kids on summer days and encourages a bit of friendly competition.
Four Square involves drawing four squares on the ground, with each player standing in one of those squares. The object of the game is to hit the ball back and forth between the players without letting it bounce twice in your square. The winner is the last one standing!
7. Try not to get soaked during a water balloon toss.
Ideal for all ages, a water balloon toss is a great way to keep cool on hot summer days. Players form two teams and line up facing each other. The goal of the game is to see which team can throw and catch the most water balloons without breaking them.
This simple water games competition encourages friendly competition, as well as teamwork between teammates. It’s sure to be a hit with kids and adults alike! Plus, it’s the perfect way to beat the heat this summer.
8. Score a home run during a kickball match.
Played similarly to baseball, the goal of kickball is to score more runs than the opposing team. However, in this game, players use their feet to kick a rubber ball instead of using a bat and ball like in traditional baseball. This classic outdoor activity encourages physical activity and team building.
Plus, it’s simple to learn, and all you need is a kickball, a few players, and some open space. With its easy rules, kickball will surely be enjoyed by the whole crew.
9. Burn off some energy running away during a game of tag.
Tag is a timeless and beloved activity for kids of all ages. It’s a great way to get out and burn off some energy, as well as test your running speed and agility. The goal of tag is to catch another player without getting tagged yourself. Tag encourages physical activity, social interaction, and friendly competition.
For an extra challenge, try a round of freeze tag. Once a player is tagged, they must freeze in place until another teammate tags them back in. This variation adds an exciting twist to the traditional rules.
10. Link arms and brace yourself for red rover.
“Red Rover, Red Rover, send Emily right over!”
If this classic outdoor game rings a bell for you, it’s time to gather some friends and head outside. In Red Rover, two teams line up facing each other, alternating between those from the same team. The goal of the game is to break through the chain. Teammates link arms at both ends of the line and call out, “Red Rover, Red Rover, send ____ right over!” The named person then runs and tries to break through the opposing team’s line.
It’s a thrilling game that encourages teamwork and friendly competition. Get ready for some laughs (and maybe a few bumps!) with this beloved outdoor game.
11. Shake your hips with a hula hoop contest.
Turn up your favorite songs from Lilo & Stitch and hula hoop the day away with a fun outdoor competition. Hula hooping is not just enjoyable but also great exercise.
Get creative by competing to see who can keep the hoop spinning for the longest, balance the most, or hula on their knees. With this classic activity, you only need colorful hoops and your favorite tunes.
12. Go on an adventure with an outdoor scavenger hunt.
Go on an outdoor adventure with a fun scavenger hunt! You could create your own or easily download a pre-made Scavenger Hunt from Let’s Roam. All you need is a smartphone and a sense of adventure.
This activity encourages physical and mental exploration as teams discover new places, solve riddles, seek out creative challenges, and snap pictures to prove they found clues.
Plus, scavenger hunts make for an exciting outdoor activity with friends and family members of all ages. Get ready to explore and see what you can find!
13. Create your own hopscotch court.
Hopscotch is perfect for any sunny day. You only need a flat surface and some sidewalk chalk to draw your court lines. This fun game encourages physical activity, coordination, and balance, all while having a blast! Plus, it’s easy enough for kids of all ages to play, making it an ideal outdoor activity for the whole family. Grab your chalk and get ready to hop!
14. Test your strength with a round of Tug of War.
Tug of War is one of the best fun outdoor games for testing your team’s strength and endurance. With just a long rope and enough players on both sides, you can have an exciting battle in no time.
15. Bring the whole gang together with a game of volleyball.
Think of beach days and summer barbecues with a game of volleyball! Whether you team up for 2v2 or gather the gang for 4v4, it’s sure to be an exciting match.
Plus, you can adjust the court size if you want to make it a large group activity. Grab a ball and get your team together for some fun, competitive volleyball!
16. Raise a pinky, time to get classy with croquet.
This elegant lawn game requires skill and strategy as players attempt to use their mallets to navigate their ball through the hoops placed around an open area in the grassy court.
You may feel like Alice in Alice in Wonderland, playing this old-school game with your friends or family. Croquet is a fun way to get competitive and test your golfing skills without needing to leave the comfort of your own backyard. Plus, it’s always a great excuse to have an afternoon tea party complete with fresh scones and lemonade!
17. Play catch with a frisbee.
Whether it’s a round of frisbee golf or casually tossing it back and forth, frisbee is a great game for a group of kids. It’s an easy and fun way to move around while enjoying some fresh air and sunshine.
Plus, it can be a thrilling game of accuracy or agility, depending on your desired level of competition.
18. Give Bocce Ball a try.
Bocce Ball is a classic yard game that requires strategy, accuracy, and finesse as you attempt to get your balls closest to the white pallino or target ball. Plus, it’s perfect for any outdoor venue—from a beach to a park.
19. Try your hand at throwing horseshoes.
Horseshoes require players to throw horseshoes at a metal stake in the ground. It’s an easy party game to set up with just two stakes and four horseshoes, making it ideal for a summer picnic or family reunion.
Different levels of skill are needed to make sure you get the horseshoe close enough to the stake, making it a fun challenge for all ages and skill levels. Plus, with different game variations and rules, there’s always something new to learn. Grab your horseshoes and have some old-fashioned fun.
20. Build your own obstacle course.
DIY your own obstacle course for a unique challenge. You can easily construct your own courses with just a few items like cones, hula hoops, cardboard boxes, and whatever else you can think of. This active outdoor play activity will get your heart pumping as you jump, weave, and crawl through the course.
21. Yell “SPUD!” at your next outdoor party.
SPUD is a fast-paced, thrilling game that requires players to throw and catch a ball while trying to avoid getting tagged by the ‘spud.’
Everyone is assigned a number, and when the ball is thrown up in the air, the person with the called number must grab it and shout “SPUD,” and everyone else must freeze in place. The player with the ball then takes four steps toward another player and tries to hit them with the ball. The frozen player can’t move out of the way, but they can attempt to catch the ball.
If the frozen player catches the ball, the thrower gets the letter S. If they keep missing and spell the word “spud,” they’re out of the game. Learn more about the rules of SPUD here.
22. Simply just “kick the can”.
It doesn’t get simpler than “kick the can”. This game came about during the Great Depression due to the lack of toys in a tough economy. The game is played with a kickable object, usually an empty can or other discarded object. Players take turns “kicking the can” and attempting to tag their opponents before they reach it. It’s easy, cheap, and a true classic.
23. Enjoy a round of “Duck, Duck, Goose.”
Perfect for younger kids, Duck, Duck, and Goose require little to no equipment. It’s such an iconic game and great for a child’s birthday party. It’s simple—one child is designated as the goose, and they must walk around the circle tapping each person on the head while saying “duck” until they reach their intended target, at which point they must yell “goose!” and the targeted kid must run around the circle in an attempt to reach the empty spot first. If they make it, the goose is out.
For an added thrill, try playing it as “Drip, Drip, Drop.” In this case, the goose drips water on each player’s head, and instead of yelling goose, pours the whole cup on the target’s head!
24. Throw some jacks.
Jacks is a classic game that requires coordination and finesse. All you need is a set of jacks, usually made from metal or plastic, and a rubber ball. The object of the game is to toss the ball into the air and scoop up as many jacks as possible before it bounces twice on the ground—all while trying not to miss a jack.
It will take some practice but is sure to be a hit amongst your friends!
25. Put on an old-fashioned sack race.
Sack races are a great way to get your guests up and moving. The game is played by splitting players into two teams, each with an adult-sized potato sack. Players then hop their way to the finish line in the fastest time possible—it’s a hilarious game that will have everyone laughing!
26. Play giant backyard board games.
With a bit of creativity, you can bring popular board games to life outdoors. Using chalk or tape, you can create a giant version of classics such as Monopoly or Connect Four. Giant Jenga is also a crowd-pleaser.
27. Frustrate your friend in the middle of the circle with a game of Keep Away.
Keep Away is an old-school game that requires three or more players. One person stands in the middle and tries to catch the ball being tossed between the other two players. The players on the outside can move around as they keep passing the ball, making it increasingly difficult for the person in the middle to catch it.
Get Ready for Fun in the Sun
From the classic outdoor game of Bocce Ball to creating your own obstacle course, there are plenty of ways to enjoy some fun in the sun. So gather your friends and family, pick up a few supplies, and get ready for exciting rounds of some of the best outdoor games! With these activities, you’ll be sure to have a great time.
Frequently Asked Questions
A popular classic outdoor game is four square. It consists of a large square of chalk and is divided into four small squares. Players bounce a ball between them trying to eliminate one another.
A classic outdoor game that was played 100 years ago is Kick the Can. Players take turns kicking an empty can and attempting to tag their opponents before they reach it. It’s easy and a true classic!
Adventures From Scratch: Friends Edition is the perfect way to make new friendship memories this summer. With over 50+ fun-filled and creative challenges, you can create a game that’s as unique as your crew.
Some old-school classic outdoor games include hopscotch, hula hopping, kick the can, tag, hide-and-seek, four square, croquet, and tug of war. For a more organized game, try SPUD or bocce ball.