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The Golden Oldies of Outdoor Play for Kids

While things have certainly changed over the past several decades, classic outdoor games for children remain the same. If your child needs to burn off some energy, send them outside to play one of these “Golden Oldies” of outdoor play. You can even join in the fun too!

Hide and Seek

The game of Hide and Seek originated in ancient Greece in the 2nd century and is a kid-favorite to this day. Set ground rules for where kids can hide on your property and enjoy the shrieks that will ensue once the hiders are found. Hide and Seek can also be played by hiding objects or in reverse, as in the game of Sardines.

Capture the Flag

For slightly older kids, Capture the Flag offers a battlefield-like game that can keep them entertained for hours. This game is best played in areas with lots of hiding spots and barriers to allow children to move stealthily to steal the other team’s flag.


When you’ve got a group of kids together, it’s inevitable that someone will initiate a game of tag. There are countless variations on the game of tag: freeze tag, flashlight tag, shadow tag, statues, and so many more. Challenge your kids to create their own version of tag and see what they come up with.


Hopscotch is a great solo game that kids can play just about anywhere. Add a piece of chalk and a flat rock to your backpack or purse and you can set up hopscotch on a sidewalk or driveway. You can change the game by adding time limits, varying the size and shape of the squares, or marking each square with a different category.

Obstacle Course

Just about anything can be turned into an obstacle course for kids; simply devise a course and then time them as they navigate it. In the backyard, use hula hoops, cones, pool noodles, steppingstones to create a course. If you’re on a playground, map out a path that leads kids through all the equipment to a finish line.

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