21 Old School Games You Can Play Outside With Your Kids

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Do you know what else is great about summer time apart from a much-needed break from some responsibilities? You can share some of your childhood games with your kids. They spend so much time playing on their computers or with their video game consoles! If you want to mix it up and show them some good old school fun, then it’s a good idea to talk to them about the games you used to play.
You know there weren’t as many screens and you had to use your imagination. Do you remember those days? Well, that was a long time ago so you might not remember every game. That’s why I made a list to help you remember the old school classic games. That way you can just go outside, take your kids and family away from their screens. Plus, you get to show them how much fun you are.

Jump rope challenge

So here you have an opportunity to show your jumping rope skills. All you have to do is to give each of the players a plastic cup full of water. Then two of the players have to take turns spinning the rope. Each one will try to enter the rope and jump three times while spilling as little water as possible! At the end, the winner is the one with the most water in their cups. It’s a great fun. At least I love this game, cause everybody laughs while playing. I thought I am quite fit, but this game showed me I’m not 🙂

DIY Slip ‘N Slide

It’s time to give that tarp you have lying somewhere around a good summertime use! Go get your tarp and place it on your backyard. Spray it down with water to get it clean, then just place the hose on the top of the slide and leave it running. The children can take turns running around and sliding across the tarp. I bet you did this yourself when you were a child, so it’s nice to remember those good childhood times. At the same time, you create amazing memories with your children! This summer I had the possibility to slide on the homemade slide and I have to say it was a great fun. But I am not that fit anymore and felt this exercise afterward :p

Please keep in mind to remove all possibly dangerous items from the play area. Children don’t really look out while having fun. Probably kids will run barefoot, so take a moment to search for small sharp objects hidden in the grass.


I loved this game so much when I was little! It was so simple to set up and it’s surprisingly entertaining. All you need is some chalk or spray paint to draw the hopscotch board in your backyard and a small ball. You can also use a rock, a bean bag or whatever you have at hand as a marker. Each player has to throw the marker on the board and then hop on one foot until they reach the end of the board. After reaching the end of the board they have to hop back and pick up their marker. If a player steps on the lines he loses his turn. The goal is to be the first player to get his marker all the way to number ten!

Lawn Twister

A great way to play Twister outside on sunny days! If you don’t have a Twister set, you can make it yourself on your lawn. All you need is spray paint in all of the four basic colors: red, blue, yellow and green. Then you have to grab a pizza box or poster paper, draw a medium circle (you can use a plate to guide your hand) and then cut it out. This will serve as a template so you can paint perfect circles on the ground.
If you’re working on concrete just use chalk instead. Draw six circles in each color; you know what a Twister board looks like. As for the spinner, all you need to do is take some sheets of paper, color them and cut them into squares. Then, draw hands and feet; remember to label the left and the right of each one. When it’s time to play, put them in a bowl and then the moderator has to randomly select one at each turn.


Give one player a ball, and place them 20 feet in front of the rest of the players. Then, the one who has the ball has to throw it up in the air as high as he can. At the same time, he has to scream out a number from 50 to 500. The child who catches the ball gets all of the points! The first player to reach 500 points wins the game! But if a player drops the ball they will get the points detracted from their count. This is a great way to engage your children’s minds!

Hide and seek


Wow… When I was the kid, I spent most of my time playing hide and seek. It was great to hide, but nobody likes to seek. This game taught me a lot, for sure patience… and quickness 🙂
This one is a great classic. It never gets old. Just take your kids outside and have them take turns to count to 10, 20, 50, or 100, whatever they like. While one of them counts the other players have to find the best hiding spots. There are several variations of this game, one of them includes a base where children can run to and be “safe”. Otherwise, they just have to wait until they’re all found.

Shoebox relays

Split the kids into two teams, each one gets two shoeboxes. You’ll have to tape the lids and cut an “I” shape into the box so the players can slip their feet in. Then the race begins! Choose a player from each team and then have them race around wearing their shoeboxes. You have to set up a starting line and an arrival spot. They’ll have to run to the spot and then back to the starting line. The first one to make it gets the points for their team!

Monkey in the middle

All you’ll need is a ball to play this one. One of the players has to be the monkey standing in the middle while the rest throw the ball back and forth to each other. The point is that the monkey has to catch the ball. Once he does he earns the right to join the other players while the last player that touched the ball takes the monkey place in the middle. This game can go on for a while and it’s a safe way to keep the children entertained!

Red light, green light

Remember how much fun this is?! You have to pick one player to be the stoplight. The rest of the players have to form a row about 15 or 20 feet away from the stoplight. This player has to turn their back to the rest of the children and then yell out “green light”; this means the other players get to move freely, and “red light” to make them stop. Every time the player yells “red light” they have to turn around quickly; if any of the players are still moving, they’re out! The stoplight wins if it gets all of the players out, and the players win if they touch it first.

Cat and mouse

This is a great way to run around in the yard! You have to choose one player to be the cat and another to be the mouse. Then, the rest of the children have to form a circle holding hands. The mouse has to be in the middle of the circle and the cat has to stay outside. The children that make the circle have to move around while singing this rhyme:
“What time is it?”
“Just struck nine.”
“Is the cat at home?”
“He’s about to dine.”
Once the rhyme is done, the children have to stand still while the cat tries to catch the mouse. They can move in and out of the circle but the cat has to follow the mouse’s path, he can’t cheat! Once the cat catches the mouse the game is over and other two children can take turns. You can make this a little bit more fun by making some DIY cat and mouse ears and maybe get creative with a little face paint.

Capture the flag

What a classic! It’s so much fun and you get your kids to come up with strategies to win the game. That makes it great for exercising both their minds and their bodies. Divide the kids into two teams and give each of them a flag or another marker, such as a balloon, a ball, or anything else that might work. The point is to capture each other’s flags without getting caught in the act. You can make it a bit more interesting for them by following the rules of the U.S. Scouting Service Project that are available online.

Ghosts in the graveyard

This must be without a doubt one of your favorite childhood games! Pick a player to be the ghost; this player has to hide and the rest of the children have to count from 1 o’clock to midnight. Once they’re done with counting, they have to link arms and walk around the backyard chanting “Star light, star bright, hope I see a ghost tonight!” until the ghost decides to pop out. From then on it becomes a good old school game of tag; the ghost has to tag someone before they reach a safe place. The first person tagged by the ghost has to take his part in the next round. If it’s something they would enjoy, you can make it a bit scary by playing after the sundown!

Red Rover

The red rover is another classic that’s probably on your top 5 list of childhood games. The more children you have to play this, the better. Divide them into two teams and pick a leader of each one. Then, have the kids form two lines opposite to each other and join hands. The leader of a team gets to pick a player from the other team and invite them to play by saying “red rover, red rover, let –child’s name- come over!”
The player that has been called has to run to the opposite team and try to break the chain. If he can’t break it, he has to join it. Then, it’s the other side’s turn. The game is done once one of the teams gets all but one of the players on their side.


Everyone knows this one! One of the children gets to be “it”. He has to run around and try to catch the other children. Every time he catches someone, that player has to remain frozen in their place and spreads their feet apart. The only way a player can get unfrozen is if another player crawls between his legs. The game is over when everyone is frozen. In the following round, the last frozen player gets to be “it”. This game could go on forever! Your kids will have way too much fun.

Michelangelo’s madhouse

I find this game quite hilarious! Kids go a bit crazy, and that’s always good fun. One of the players gets to be Michelangelo and then he has to go to every player and spin them around several times. Once he lets them go, each player has to freeze in the position that they land. You’ll have a few laughs with all the crazy positions kids can get into! Once they’re all silly statues, Michelangelo has to walk through his little madhouse and try to make every player laugh without touching them. The first one or last one (it’s up to you) to giggle gets to play Michelangelo in the next turn.

Snake bite

This is a very simple game but it can be a lot of fun! Have one of the children stand in the center and start spinning a jump rope on the ground. Have the rest of the kids join in and form a circle around the kid in the center. The point is they have to jump when the “snake” comes around to avoid being “bitten”. If the rope hits one of them, they’re out! The last person standing gets to be the snake in the next round. Each of the snakes gets to choose the difficulty because they’re the ones who decide how fast or slow they spin the jump rope.


This one is for children old enough to understand that marbles are not candy, no matter how pretty they are. We all have marbles from back in the day somewhere in our garage with the rest of our childhood things. It’s time to get them out and pass them along. You know how it goes; you draw a circle and then each player takes turns trying to knock the marbles out of the circle by flicking their own marbles. I can’t even tell you how many times I hurt myself flicking marbles! You can also look up marble mats online and make your own at home for your kids to play with.

Simon says

Your kids won’t need anything but their imagination. It can be played everywhere, especially on long road trips to keep everyone from asking “are we there yet?” one thousand times per minute. It’s also a great backyard game, just get everyone together and get started. The chosen one gets to be Simon, and Simon’s job is to order around and make people do silly things. You start by saying “Simon says, -action-” and the rest is history. If Simon doesn’t say “Simon says” and any of the players perform the action, they’re out! Last one standing wins and gets to have the power in the next round.

Musical chairs

This is another one of those games that never gets old anywhere. It’s just too much fun! Get your players to arrange their chairs in a circle. Remember a chair always has to be missing. One of the players will be in charge of the music; when he starts the music, the other children have to dance or walk around the chair circle. When the music stops everyone has to be sitting in a chair. The player who doesn’t get a chair is out! And they have to take a chair with them. This goes on until there are only one chair and two players; the one who gets the last chair is the winner. Usually, it is played inside, but it’s a lot more fun to play outside and enjoy the summer weather.

Freeze dance

This is like musical chairs, but without the chairs and with a lot more dancing. It’s simple: gather your kids and pick a person to be in charge of the music. When the music starts everyone has to dance to it like crazy. The crazier the better! But once the music stops everyone has to freeze immediately. If anyone is still moving, they’re out! The game continues as such until there’s only one dancer standing.

Four square ball

This is the classic you can’t keep from your children! It’s super easy to play. All you need is some chalk or spray paint, depending on the surface. You’ll have to draw a big square and divide that into four squares. Number each one from 1 to 4 in a clockwise manner. Each player gets a square; the player standing in the square #1 is the King and he has to bounce a ball into one of the other squares. The player that gets the ball has to bounce it along and so forth. If a player doesn’t return the ball, he has to either move to square #4 or step out. The point of the game is to stay King for as long as possible!



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