The Best Outdoor Games That Everyone Will Want to Play

The Hakol Lawn Darts glow in the dark for memorable outdoor fun

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From fun competition, fresh air, exercise, and quality time, playing outdoor games has many benefits. An outdoor game can help direct your family’s focus and encourage everyone to play outdoors for longer. While outdoor games are great for a summer party, they can also be enjoyable for a warm afternoon when it's just you and your kiddos.

Reviewed & Approved

The Hakol Lawn Darts is a set that includes four darts (which can bounce or roll), two rings, and a carry bag. For a budget-friendly game, we recommend the 4 Fun Giant Kick Croquet.

Look for games that are age-appropriate, durable, fun, and easy to use in your yard or outdoor space. We carefully considered any age recommendations, design, ease of use, entertaining value, toy safety, and durability when reviewing products.

Here are the best outdoor games the whole family will enjoy.

Best Overall: Hakol Lawn Darts

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Hakol Lawn Darts

Courtesy of Hakol

The Hakol Lawn Darts earn a top spot on our list because they're safe, fun, and easy for the whole family to play for a beach day, in the yard, or at the park. The game is rated safe for kids 6 and up, and can be used during the day for lots of entertainment. But once it gets dark, kids will love how they glow, so there’s a whole new level of added fun!

Simply place the rings in the yard and challenge your crew to toss the rounded weighted darts to land in the rings. The darts can bounce and roll a bit, so it’s a challenge to get them in the ring. Included are four darts, two rings, and a carry bag.

Best for Families: 4 Fun Giant Kick Croquet

4 Fun Giant Kick Croquet

Courtesy of 4Fun

Forget stuffy croquet and go for giant kick croquet! Fun and safe for ages 3 and up, this family game is a great addition to your collection of outdoor toys. Inflate the two giant croquet balls with the included pump, set up the stakes and wickets, and have fun kicking the ball through the stakes. Set up the course to be as simple or as challenging as your crew desires. This game works best in the grass.

Best Active: Spikeball Game Set

Spikeball Game Set

Courtesy of Amazon

Easy to learn but hard to master, you’ll get your heart rate pumping with a fun game of Spikeball. Like a mix of volleyball and four-square, the game is fast-moving and can be modified in a number of ways, depending on the number and skill level of players. Perfect for the backyard, beach, park, or anywhere else, the standard kit comes with everything you need and packs up into an easy-to-carry tote bag.

Best Budget: Melissa & Doug Froggy Kickball

Melissa & Doug Froggy Kickball

Courtesy of Melissa & Doug

One of the easiest and most budget-friendly ways to entertain kids outside is to simply hand them a big ball. This Melissa & Doug kickball is the perfect size for kids to kick, bounce, throw, roll, catch, or play endless classic ball games. With options from games like kickball for a crowd to imaginative play for one or two kids, a big bouncing ball is a perfect toy. The ball arrives fully inflated but can be reinflated when needed.

Best for Big Kids: Wood City Giant Tumble Tower Game

Wood City Giant Tumble Tower Game

Courtesy of Wood City

Everyone’s favorite stacking game just got a whole lot bigger for some bold outdoor fun. Included in the set are 54 pine wood blocks, a carrying bag, and a tumble tower branded whiteboard to keep score.

Make sure you have plenty of room to store this 14-pound set and a place to play, especially since successful towers can be built over four feet high. Big kids will enjoy playing (and have the dexterity to manipulate the blocks) and can get creative with the way they use the blocks.

Best Splurge: L.L. Bean Jumbo Connect Four

L.L. Bean Jumbo Connect Four

Courtesy of L.L. Bean

Make a statement with an oversized version of the classic strategy game. Perfect for a family game, this jumbo connect four is fun indoors or outdoors. The set includes the game board, collapsible stand, 42 two-colored playing pieces, a cloth storage bag, and instructions.

All the wood pieces are sealed, so they’re safe for outdoor use, but the game needs to be covered if it’s being stored outdoors. While a splurge, the game is fun for all ages and can be moved from the playroom in the winter to the yard in the summer.

Best for Toddlers: Melissa & Doug Sunny Patch Bowling

Melissa & Doug Sunny Patch Bowling

Courtesy of Melissa & Doug

Durable and made to last, this indoor/outdoor bowling set will entertain toddlers as they develop their hand-eye coordination and gross motor skills. Included in the set are six plastic pins, one ball, and a plastic carrying bag.

Knowing toddlers, they will likely have just as much fun putting the pins in and out of the bag as they will setting up the bowling set. Highly praised by reviewers, parents appreciate that the pins and ball are hard plastic, so they’re easy to wipe clean and move from outdoors to indoors.

Best Sport: Franklin Portable Soccer Goal

Franklin Portable Soccer Goal

Courtesy of Amazon

Bring the fun anywhere you go with a pop-up goal that suddenly makes any activity into a sporty one. Great for the yard, park, or beach, the simple pop-up goal sets up in minutes and packs into its very own carry bag for easy transport. Choose from four sizes and add a second goal to your shopping cart if you want to get into full-on game mode.

Best for Water: GoSports Splash Hoop

GoSports Splash Hoop

Courtesy of GoSports

Make a splash with this sturdy, safe, and fun addition to any pool party. The floating basketball hoop is engineered to safely float and withstand lots of pool party people. Included in the set are the splash hoop, two basketballs, and a pump to inflate the balls. Reviewers praise how quickly the basketball hoop sets up and that it’s sturdy, doesn’t flip over, and can take lots of action.

Best for Parties: Joyin Outdoor Lawn Games

Joyin Outdoor Lawn Games

Courtesy of Joyin

If you’re having an outdoor party, this set will help keep your crowd busy with some easy-to-play games that are fun for all ages. Included in the set are four potato sack race bags, four egg and spoon race games, and two-legged relay race bands. While the gear may not last forever, the set is portable, easy to use, and a simple way to ensure there are some fun games at your outdoor festivities.

Final Verdict

Our top pick is Hakol Lawn Darts (view on Amazon). You can use them day or night, and they're fun for all ages. For the most active crowd, Spikeball (view on Amazon) is a fun game that’ll keep your crew moving and is appropriate for kids and adults. It can be played at the beach, park, or yard, and while a little costly, it’ll last for a long time. For a more budget-friendly option, the Melissa & Doug Froggy Kickball (view on Amazon) is versatile, inexpensive, and always fun for kids (and adults) of all ages.

What to Look for in Outdoor Games

Entertainment Value

Outdoor games should be entertaining and engaging for the entire family. Look for games that can be played again and again and last more than a few minutes. Invest in a game that your kids (or friends) look forward to playing. 

Playing outside is already important for a growing child as outdoor play allows children to build skills by using all of their senses. However, if a toy or game is not fun or does not meet a child where they are developmentally, it can be boring or overwhelming. Check in with your kiddos to see what they think before making a final purchase, too.

Durability

Outdoor toys and games should be well made and durable. While not all are suitable for outdoor storage, they should at least hold up through a few seasons of use (or more). If your game needs to be stored indoors, select something that you have the space for in the off-season. 

Durability is especially important if your kids are little. If any pieces break off, they can become a choking hazard for little ones or create sharp edges that are dangerous for kids of all ages.

Safety

Consider the age recommendations on the game before purchasing. Younger kids might be able to play a game rated for older kids if they are supervised or playing with their family, but for their safety, they shouldn't play these games alone. 

Avoid toys that are very loud, shoot objects into the air, pose a choking risk (any parts that can fit through a toilet-paper tube be a choking hazard), contain small batteries or magnets, or are made with toxic materials. All of these put your children at risk of injury.

Developmental Level

Once you've determined the toy is safe and fun for the whole family, you'll also want to consider if it helps your children meet developmental milestones, like running, jumping, or throwing a ball. While this is geared mostly towards little ones, knowing where your child is developmentally gives you an idea of what areas they could practice.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are the benefits of outdoor play?

    Outdoor play promotes movement, and kids need lots of that. Toddlers and preschoolers need at least three hours of physical activity daily, and school-aged kids require an hour or more.

    Playing outside also helps kids learn about science through exploring nature. Getting enough sun exposure also promotes good sleep, which is essential for mood and learning.

  • Why are outdoor games important for kids?

    Outdoor games promote social skills like problem-solving, taking turns, and following the rules of a game. Playing outside also offers opportunities to help others in need, since kids may fall down and be injured or get into a mildly scary situation like being too afraid to climb down from a tree.

    Playing games outside provides an engaging setting that stimulates kids cognitively. They will learn about nature and the physical sciences as they play and explore outdoors.

  • How does outdoor play impact development?

    Playing outside provides many opportunities for gross motor development. Kids may walk, run, jump, and leap. Navigating the outside world also helps kids practice balance and judging distances, as they teeter across a log bridge or hop across a creek.

    The outdoor terrain is less even that an indoor floor. When kids play outside, they develop their ability to adjust their movements over rocky ground or steep inclines.

  • What skills can kids learn from playing outdoors?

    Kids can learn about nature when they play outdoors. They may discover fallen pine cones, contemplate the veins running along a leaf's surface, or observe how small birds peck at their food.

    Playing outdoors also teaches kids a lot about their own bodies. Moving in the outside world requires them to pay attention to their environment. They will learn through experience about the laws of physics as they climb trees or leap across creeks.

Why Trust Verywell Family

Maya Polton is a former marketing manager and current freelance writer who covers food, home, and parenting. She’s also the mom of an 11-year-old son, an 8-year-old son, and a 4-year old daughter. Maya loves sending her kids outdoors to play, so any games that keep them out there for longer are great in her book. Her yard is littered with balls, goals, archery sets, NERF darts, and more. Since her kids are getting older, she’s thinking of joining the Spikeball craze and getting a set to play in the yard and on the beach.

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6 Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. American Academy of Pediatrics. The power of play - how fun and games help children thrive.

  2. American Academy of Pediatrics. How to buy safe toys.

  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC's developmental milestones.

  4. American Academy of Pediatrics. Making physical activity a way of life: AAP policy explained.

  5. National Association for the Education of Young Children. Rocking and rolling. Fresh air, fun, and exploration: Why outdoor play is essential for healthy development.

  6. Jenco. AAP endorses new recommendations on sleep times. American Academy of Pediatrics News.