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15+ Awesome Outdoor Games For 3-10 Year Olds

15+ Awesome Outdoor Games For 3-10 Year Olds

Whether you are hosting a kid’s party or you just have an energetic group of children that need to work off some energy, outdoor games are just about every mom’s go-to activity—sometimes the very best toy is the one called “outside”! We’ve put together 15+ awesome outdoor games for your kids and their friends. Most of these outdoor games are perfect for kids from about the ages of three to ten, but even older kids will enjoy most of them.

Sleeping Tigers

  • Number of Children: Three Or More
  • Equipment: None
  • Time:  A Few Minutes

In this fun outdoor kids game, one child is chosen to be the hunter. All the other children must lie down on the floor and pretend to be sleeping tigers.  The child who is chosen to be the hunter has to keep a close eye on the tigers as they sleep. He can walk around the tigers if he would like to.

The tigers must lie incredibly still trying not to move. If the hunter spots a tiger moving he must call out their name and they are out of the game. The tiger then joins the hunter looking out for movement in the other tigers. The tigers that are now awake can try to trick the remaining sleeping tigers into moving if they can. However, touching the sleeping tigers isn’t allowed.

Sleeping Tigers is a great option to play with kids aged 3 to 5 if you need to calm them down after a bout of high-energy play!

Oranges and Lemons

I don’t know about you but I have many a fond memory of this awesome game!

  • Number Of Children:  At Least Six
  • Equipment:  A Long Piece Of Rope or Hosepipe
  • Time:  10 to 15 Minutes

Two children are chosen and between them they need to decide who is the orange and who is the lemon.  They then join hands and raise their arms making an arch under which the remaining children can walk.  The remaining children then walk underneath the arch while the orange and the lemon open and close the arch above their heads.   The children then sing:

Oranges and lemons say the bells of Saint Clements.
I owe you five farthings say the bells of Saint Martins
When will you pay me say the bells of Old Bailey
When I grow rich say the bels off Shoreditch
When will that be? Say the bells of Stpney
I’m sure I don’t know say the great bell of Bow
Here comes a candle to light you to bed
Here comes the copper to chop off your head.  
Chip, chop, chip, chop and the last mans head off!

When the final line of the song is sung the children who are the orange and lemon will bring their arms down and trap one of the children in between them.  They then secretly ask the captured child if they would like to be an orange or a lemon.  The child quietly chooses and then takes their place behind the child that is either the orange or the lemon. 

The game then continues until all the children have been trapped.  After the final child is caught the children then line up in their teams and there is a tug of war between the two sides to decide who wins the game.

Oranges & Lemons Song

Pass The Ball

  • Number Of Children:  Eight Or More
  • Equipment: Two Balls, Whistle
  • Duration:  Five Minutes Per Race

The children form two teams and line up one behind the other.  Each child at the front of the line is given a ball.  When the starting whistle is blown the child at the front passes the ball over her head to the child behind her. The second child in turn passes the ball to the child behind them.  When the child who is at the back of the line gets the ball she must run with it to the beginning of the line and begin passing it to the back again.

The game is won when the child who started the game at the front of the line is once again at the front with the ball. 

Pass The Parcel

  • Number Of Children: Five Or More
  • Equipment:  A Small Gift. Wrapping Paper, Tissue Paper Or Newspaper. Sticky Tape. Music.
  • Duration:  About Five Minutes Per Round

Before the game begins, the gift needs to be wrapped in at least ten layers of tissue paper, wrapping paper or newspaper.  The more layers the better!

The children form a circle and the gift is handed to the first child.  When the music begins the children pass the parcel around the circle from one child to the next.   When the music stops, the child holding the parcel unwraps a layer of paper.  When the music begins again, the children continue to pass the parcel around the circle until the music stops and then the next layer of paper is removed.  The game continues with the child who unwraps the final layer keeping the gift. 

This is an amazingly fun game, especially for young children who love unwrapping presents!  If you want to try to make it more fun you can add tiny gifts or tokens in between the layers of paper so that there are a few little gifts to be found as the game progresses.

Ring-A-Ring-A-Roses

Another oldie but goodie!

  • Number Of Children: Two Or More
  • Equipment: None
  • Duration:  A Few Minutes Per Song

All the children form a circle holding hands.  They then sing the super fun Ring-A-Ring-A-Rosy song and dance around the circle. When they get to the final line of the first verse they all fall down onto the floor. 

The second verse of the song begins with the children still on the floor pretending that their hands are fish swimming through the sea. When they get to the final line of the song they all jump up off the ground when the song goes, “One, Two, Three!”.

The song goes like this:

Ring-a-ring-a-roses, A pocketful of posies
A-tishoo, A-tishoo, We all fall down.  

Fishes in the water, Fishes in the sea
We all jump up with a One, Two Three!

There are a couple of other verses that can also be added to the song but the one above is the most well-known.  Here are a couple more:

The bird upon the steeple, is singing to the people,
A-tishoo, A-tishoo. We all fall down.  

The wedding bells are ringing, the boys and girls are singing
A-tishoo, A-tishoo. We all fall down.  

The king has sent his daughter, to fetch a pail of water,
A-tishoo, A-tishoo. We all fall down.  
Ring-A-Ring-A-Roses Song

Simon Says

Simon Says is a really fun game for younger kids who enjoy follow-the-leader type games.

  • Number Of Children:  Four Or More
  • Equipment: None
  • Duration:  10 – 15 minutes

Simon Says begins with the children selecting someone to be Simon.  When Simon is chosen all the children line up in front of him.  Simon tells the other children to do something specific such as touch their noses, jump up and down, spin around, etc.  There’s a catch though – the children must only follow the instruction if the child who is Simon first uses the phrase, “Simon says…”.    If the child who is Simon does not say “Simon says”, then the children must ignore the command.  If any of the children follow the instructions incorrectly then they are out of the game.  The last child left in the game wins and becomes Simon in the next round.

Some fun Simon Says Ideas:

  • Bark like a dog
  • Meow like a cat
  • Close your eyes
  • Clap your hands
  • Spin around
  • Jump like a kangaroo
  • Moo like a cow
  • Quack like a duck
  • Touch your ears
  • Put your hands on your head
  • Flap your arms
  • Jump up and down
  • Stand on one foot
  • Hop on one foot

K-I-N-G Spells King!

This is a really fun game, especially for active kids who love to run and chase!   You will need a fair amount of space for this one.

  • Number Of Children: Three Or More
  • Equipment: None
  • Duration: A Few Minutes Per Round

One child is chosen to be the King and they have to stand at the bottom of the garden.  The other children all go to the opposite side of the garden.  When the game begins the king faces away from the other children.  The king then loudly chants “K-I-N-G SPELLS KING!”.  While doing so the group of children slowly (or quickly) begin moving towards him.  When the word “KING” is chanted the king quickly turns around.  All the children must freeze in place and not move. 

The king then checks to see how close all the children are to him before turning around again.  The king then once again chants “K-I-N-G SPELLS KING!” and the children move towards the king again.  Once again the king turns around quickly while the other kids freeze when the word KING is chanted.  This is repeated until one of the children reaches the king while he is chanting.  When one of the children reaches the king he must tap the king on his shoulder. The king then quickly turns around and chases all the children until he catches someone.  The child who is caught becomes the king in the next round.

K-I-N-G Spells King – Variation 1

The children can be eliminated from the game if they move after freezing in place when the word “king” is chanted and the king turns around. The game then continues until either all the children are eliminated or the king catches someone after being tagged.

K-I-N-G Spells King – Variation 2

The child who taps the king on the shoulder becomes the king in the next round regardless of who the king catches.

K-I-N-G Spells King – Variation 3

Instead of the king keeping a steady rhythm when chanting, he can shake things up by playing with the timing of the chant. This will allow him to turn around when the other children aren’t expecting him to making the game even more fun.

Broken Telephone

  • Number Of Children: Five Or More
  • Equipment: None
  • Duration: A Few Minutes Per Round

The game starts with all the kids sitting in a circle.  One of the children is chosen to begin the game.  The child whispers a short message into the ear of the child sitting next to them.  In turn, this child whispers the message to the child sitting next to them.  The game continues until the message gets to the last child who shares what they heard with the group.  The kids then compare the final message to the original one.  Of course the more children there are the more distorted the message gets!  If the children are very young then an adult can choose the message and whisper it to the first child.

Balloon Race

This is a really fun game for children who love balloons and it is especially loved by young kids! 

  • Number Of Children:  Four Or More
  • Equipment: None
  • Duration:  A Minute Or Two Per Round

Each child is given a balloon and they need to race with their balloon to the finish line.  However, they aren’t allowed to actually hold the balloon so the balloon must be punched or kicked with their hands, feet, head or elbows to the finish line.  The first child to cross the finish line is the winner!

Balloon Race - Game For Kids To Play Outside

Egg And Spoon Race

Another classic that has been played forever!  Ideal for most ages but really young kids might struggle a bit more to keep the egg on the spoon.

  • Number Of Children:  Four Or More
  • Equipment:  Spoons, Hard-Boiled Eggs, or Ping-Pong Balls
  • Time:  A Minute or Two Per Race

The children line up at the starting line and each child is given a spoon and an egg (or ping-pong ball).  The children hold their spoons in one hand and the egg is placed on the spoon.  When the start whistle is blown the children must race toward the finish line without dropping their eggs.  They are not allowed to use their other hands to steady or catch the egg if it falls.  If the egg does fall they have to use just the spoon to try to pick it up.  The first child to successfully cross the finish line with their spoon is the winner.

Egg and Spoon Relay Race – Variation 1

If you have lots of children playing you can do an egg and spoon race with two (or more) teams.  In this variation, you place two markers in the garden.  The children line up behind one another in their teams at the first marker.  The first child on each team is given the egg.  When the race begins they race to the second marker with their egg and spoon just like the traditional race but instead of stopping they turn around and race back to their team.  When they reach their teammates they pass the egg from their spoon onto the spoon of the next teammate.  The first team to have all the children race to the marker and back wins. 

Potato Race

  • Number Of Children: Three Or More
  • Equipment:  Potatoes, Cardboard Boxes, Whistle
  • Time:  A Minute Or Two Per Race

To set the game up you will need to line all the cardboard boxes up at the start line.  Each child will have 3 potatoes (or more).  The potatoes are placed at regular intervals of about 5-6ft along the race track in each child’s lane. 

The game begins with all the children lining up in front of a cardboard box.  When the start whistle blows the children race to pick up the first potato.  They pick it up, race back and throw the potato into the cardboard box.  They then race to the second potato, pick it up and race back to throw it into the cardboard box.  They then race to collect the final potato.  The game is won by the child who throws all three potatoes into their cardboard box first.

Variation – Potato Race Relay Race

Just like the egg and spoon relay race, the potato race can also be played as a relay race.  The children form teams and line up behind each other.  The first child on the team races to collect the first potato.  When they get back to their team they throw the potato into their box and tag the next teammate who races to collect the second potato.  The team who collects all their potatoes wins!

Three-Legged Race

A classic game of coordination and teamwork!

  • Number Of Children: Four Or More (The Children Play In Pairs, So You Will Need An Even Number Of Children For This Game)
  • Equipment:  Old Ties, Scarves, or Strips of Fabric
  • Time:  A Minute Or Two Per Race

The children are divided into pairs and stand next to each other.  Their ankles are then tied together – the right ankle of the first child is tied to the left ankle of the second child.  When the start whistle is blown, all the children race to the finish line as quickly as they can.  The first pair to cross the finish line wins! 

Sack Race

  • Number Of Children: Four Or More
  • Equipment: Old Sacks, Whistle
  • Time:  A Minute or Two Per Race

Each of the kids is given a sack which they climb into.  They hold the sack up to their waist and when the start whistle is blown they race towards the finish line hopping and jumping with two feet together so that they don’t fall! The first child to cross the finish line wins!

Cat and Mouse

  • Number Of Players: Eight Or More
  • Equipment: None
  • Time:  About Five Minutes Per Game

One child is chosen to be the cat and another child is chosen as the mouse.  The remaining children stand in a circle with the cat in the middle.  The mouse is outside of the circle.  The cat needs to try to catch the mouse but the children in the circle must do everything they can do to stop the cat from escaping the circle.  The game is over when either the cat catches the mouse or the cat is unable to break free from the circle.  Parents need to make sure that the game doesn’t get too rough!

Follow The Leader

  • Number Of Children:  Five Or More
  • Equipment: None
  • Time:  Four To Five Minutes Per Round

The children choose a leader and everyone lines up behind him.  The children must then follow the leader and do exactly what he does – skipping, jumping, dancing, hopping, crawling, etc.  Anyone who doesn’t do exactly what the leader does is out of the game.   The final child remaining wins and becomes the leader in the next round. 

The Rabbit And The Fox

This is the perfect game when you have a really big group of kids!

  • Number Of Children: Ten Or More
  • Equipment: None
  • Time: About 15 Minutes

The children select one child to be the fox and another one to be a rabbit.  The remaining children divide into groups of four.  Each group then chooses their own rabbit.  The remaining three players in the group form a circle by placing their hands on each other’s shoulders.  The rabbit in each group takes their place in the center of the circle which will be like a safe den for them.    

The object of the game is for the fox to catch any one of the rabbits.

The game begins with the fox and the original rabbit being placed on opposite sides of the garden.  The fox then chases the rabbit and the only way that the rabbit can be safe is for it to go into one of the dens.  However, there can only be one rabbit per den so when the original rabbit enters a den the rabbit that is already in the den has to leave and he must find another den to hide in – he isn’t allowed to go straight back into his den but must find another den to hide in.  The game continues until the fox catches any of the rabbits.  When this happens the caught rabbit becomes a fox and the game continues. 

Hide And Seek

Are instructions really needed for this one 😉

  • Number of children:  Three Or More
  • Time:  About Five Or Ten Minutes Per Round

The children choose somewhere as their base.  They then choose one child to be the seeker.  The child who is the seeker closes their eyes facing away from the other kids.  The seeker then begins counting down (or up) while the other children run and hide.   When the countdown is over the seeker shouts, “Ready or not here I come!”.  He begins searching for the other kids.  The first child who is found becomes the seeker in the next game.

Hide And Seek – Variation 1

When the seeker finds the first child he tags him and they race back to the base with the winner becoming the seeker in the next round.  If the original seeker wins then he must continue playing trying to find the next child. When the next child is found they must once again race back to the base and this continues until one of the children beat the seeker back to the base. By this time your seeker will most likely be very tired!!

Hide And Seek – Variation 2

After the countdown is finished and the seeker is searching for the children, each child can attempt to sneak back to the base unnoticed by the seeker. If he can get back to the base without being noticed by the seeker he shouts, “Jumping Jack, This Jack Is Free!” to let the seeker know he is free and cannot become the seeker in the next round.    If the seeker sees someone sneaking to the base he can try to catch them in which case they will be the seeker in the next round. If everyone is able to get back to the base without being caught then the final child there will be the seeker in the next round.

Blind Man’s Bluff

  • Number of Children: Three Or More
  • Equipment: Blindfold
  • Time: A Couple Of Minutes Per Round

Blind Man’s Bluff is a timeless classic that has been played by kids for generations. Actually, the original game was played by adults and it dates all the way back to ancient Greece, so it really has been around for a while! Blind Man’s Bluff is a really simple game that has a few variations which we covered in our article “How To Play Blind Man’s Bluff“.

Conclusion

There are many awesome outdoor games that kids between the ages of three and ten can play with their friends. And as an added bonus, many of these don’t need any special equipment. And the best part, children really do enjoy these games! We’d love to know, have we missed any that were your favorites as a kid? Let us know in the comments section below!

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