Active Outdoor Games for a Kid's Party

Games for kids party - outdoor play

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Looking for games for a kids' party? Balance out the cake and ice cream with these fun, fast-paced, outdoor games. Most are easily adaptable for kids of different ages and skill levels.

You can customize an outdoor party game with simple props or word choices. Try inventing a version of tag or a relay race that matches your party's theme.

Dragon Tag, Tails, or Sock Tag

There are many versions of tag and most can easily be turned into a great party game. One option that kid's love is "tails."

Tails is a perfect outdoor game for a party with an animal theme.

To play this game, start by giving each child an old sock to tuck into a back pocket or waistband (their "tail"). The object of the game is to grab other players' "dragon tail" without losing your own.

Any player who loses a tail must sit down, but if another player passes close enough, the tail-less player can grab himself a new tail and re-enter the game.

Tug of Water 

Set up a sprinkler in the middle of your yard. Divide players into two teams and have each group grab the end of a rope stretched over the sprinkler. Teams then try to pull their opponents into the sprinkler's spray.

Nature Scavenger Hunt 

Draw up a list of items found outdoors (red leaf, green leaf, rock bigger than your thumb, etc.). Distribute to individual party guests, or form teams, and have players fan out to find the items.

In addition to awarding prizes for completing the list, you can also give them for creative interpretations.

Relays Are Classic Games for a Kids' Party

You need two ropes for jump rope relay. Split players into two teams and establish a finish line. Start by giving each team one jump rope.

When you say "Go!" the first two players from each team race to the goal line and back, skipping rope. Then, they'll hand off the rope to the next player and the race continues.

You can also make up your own relay based on your party's theme. For larger groups, try a cooperative relay where teams must work together to reach a goal.

Great Group Games for a Kids' Party

If you have a large gathering, here are some great group games to try.

  • Water Balloon Toss. Divide party guests into teams of two; teams line up, facing each other, a few feet apart (each pair should be an equal distance apart). Give each team a water balloon. The first player tosses the balloon to his partner, then both take one step back. Keep tossing and retreating until only one team has an unpopped balloon.
  • Buddy Tag. This game requires at least 6 players, but is even better. To begin, one person is It and one is the runner. Everyone else finds a buddy, links arms, and then scatters around the playing field. "It" then tries to tag the runner. The runner must link arms with a pair of buddies before he gets tagged. When the runner finds a buddy, the buddy on the other side of the pair then becomes the runner. If the runner can't link to a buddy before he's tagged, he becomes It and It becomes the runner.
  • Pirate's Treasure. This is a pirate-themed variation on Capture the Flag, in which players try to grab bean bag "treasures" from opposing teams. Get creative and modify it for almost any party theme (puppies, superheroes, princesses).

By Catherine Holecko
Catherine Holecko is an experienced freelance writer and editor who specializes in pregnancy, parenting, health and fitness.