The best kids’ outdoor games
With sunny, pleasant weather on the way, children are ready to spend more time outdoors.
If you’re looking for fun activities to keep children occupied, invest in a few outdoor games. In addition to helping children stay active, they’ll have a chance to build other essential skills like sportsmanship, turn-taking and hand-eye coordination. Best of all, several outdoor games for children are all-ages-friendly so that adults can partake in them, too.
Wondering which outdoor games are best for children? Here’s a list of our favorite picks.
What should I know before buying outdoor games for children?
Take space into account when choosing outdoor games. Children should have ample room to play games comfortably without bumping into objects or other players.
Some outdoor games, such as horseshoes or ring toss, have smaller footprints and can be set up almost anywhere. This includes decks, patios or garages. Other games, like flag football, require considerable space for safe play. For that reason, they’re better suited for open spaces like backyards or parks.
Like other toys and games, outdoor games indicate their intended age groups. This isn’t just for safety reasons, either. Many outdoor game sets have age-specific equipment for easier handling.
Some tee-ball sets, for example, are intended for babies and toddlers. These have shorter tees and lighter, smaller bats. Regular tee ball sets, on the other hand, have full-size equipment suitable for teens and adults.
Any time you invest in toys or games, it’s essential to make sure you’re buying sets with safe equipment. On many occasions, that will mean choosing quality over price.
It’s better to invest in a quality wood croquet set with a smooth solid finish to avoid splinters. Other outdoor games include soft game pieces, like foam bean bags or rubber balls, so they won’t hurt players if they’re hit with them.
Best outdoor games for toddlers
Children as young as 2 years old can begin practicing their bowling skills. This mini bowling set remains a favorite for its brightly-colored pins and child-friendly bowling ball. Besides being loads of fun, bowling helps children develop hand-eye coordination.
Tee-ball is an excellent introduction to baseball. We like Little Tikes T-Ball Set, which features an adjustable-height tee that grows with children. Children can play tee-ball in groups or practice batting skills on their own.
Children are naturally curious, which is why this card-based scavenger hunt game is a big hit. Cards feature items or creatures commonly seen in parks, backyards and other outdoor spaces. It also earns points for its travel-friendly design.
Little children can practice their short game with this beginner golf set. It comes with a set of putting holes that can be set up anywhere outdoors. Parents appreciate that all pieces, including four clubs and eight balls, can be loaded into the included golf bag for easy storage.
Instead of doodling tic-tac-toe on paper, score a full-size game board. Children ages 5 and up can take turns tossing bean bags to flip triangles to X or O. Three in a row still wins the game, but it takes a bit more coordination to emerge victorious.
Toss and catch
Little children that love baseball can practice their pitching and catching with this cute crab toss playset. Made by famous toymaker Melissa & Doug, the kid-friendly set includes Velcro crab mitts and balls in bright colors that are easy for children to see.
Best outdoor games for children and teens
Groups of children heading to a park or field can enjoy a rousing game of flag football. If you already have a football, all you need to buy is a flag football gear set. We like SKLZ Deluxe Flag Football Set, which includes flags, belts and cones for 10 players.
There’s no need for children to wait for recess or gym class to play kickball. Pick up this set of rubber balls and these bases to set up a game anytime, anywhere. Both equipment sets are made with high-quality rubber to withstand years of heavy use.
Instead of heading to a park for a quick pick-up game and waiting for a free court, invest in this portable basketball hoop for the children. It even has a classic Arena Slam breakaway rim for dunks with air time. Set it up on your driveway and wheel it out of the way when the game is over.
Dodgeball card game
Children that love board games will dig the intensity of Throw Throw Burrito, a dodgeball card game from the makers of Exploding Kittens. The game calls for quick thinking and quick reflexes to dodge flying burritos. Fortunately, the burritos are made of soft foam.
A favorite for smaller outdoor spaces, this mounted ring toss game is portable and has a quick and easy setup. Gameplay is a unique combination of ring toss and darts and is typically played tournament-style with several players.
Can smash is a carnival game that never seems to get old. Bring it into your backyard with this tin can set featuring funny faces. To add more of a challenge, each can has an assigned point value so players can compete for high scores.
Groups have fun with this travel volleyball set, which includes a regulation-size net, ball and pump. All pieces pack neatly into a grab-and-go case. It’s a popular choice for lake or beach trips as well as picnics and barbecues.
Best all-ages outdoor games
Soccer remains one of the most popular sports in the world. Pick up this portable soccer goal so children and adults alike can have fun taking shots on goal or playing a quick match together. It sets up within minutes and comes with a convenient carry case.
Croquet is a game that people of all ages and skill levels enjoy. This six-player set includes 26-inch mallets and steel wickets. Set up a game on any grassy space, whether it’s a park or your backyard.
Capture the flag
Enjoy a turned-up version of capture the flag with this glow-in-the-dark set. It includes 25 light-up game pieces and comes with rules to play the game 12 ways. Since you can play with up to 20 people, it’s a popular pick for nighttime gatherings.
Four in a row
This Giant 4 in a Row Game is a full-size take on the classic board game at a whopping 4 feet tall. The board is easy to assemble virtually anywhere from the backyard to the beach.
If you have a group of four or fewer, we recommend ladder toss. Bolos are made of soft rubber and feature extra-thick cords to prevent tangles. It’s perfect for decks and patios and can even be brought indoors for play on rainy days.
Sian Babish is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.
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