6 board games that get him out!

IIt’s summer, so why not celebrate your child’s birthday outside? Outdoor parties have obvious benefits. Children can get dirty. Really messy. A cupcake with red icing dropped on the grass does much less damage than a cake dropped on a clean carpet. Games can be bigger and louder outside, which means kids can play and unload without breaking your grandma’s antique lamps.

Here are some fun outdoor games to get you started. Most don’t require much, if any, investment. A trip to the dollar store will take care of most gear needs. Think about the games you loved to play when you were a kid. Your kids will probably love them too.


You know this one. Get a pole, pool noodle, or even a jump rope and have someone hold the ends. The object is for the children to get under the pole as it gets lower and lower with each pass. The child who makes it under to the lowest point wins. Play fun music to accompany the game.

tug of war

You can play this game with teams pulling at the end of a rope or play an individual version that could be organized into a tournament. Make the challenge more fun by having teams shoot opponents through a sprinkler.


A cool game for a hot day. Divide the children into pairs and have them toss a balloon filled with water back and forth. Start with the teams close together and move one step away with each throw. The last pair to keep their ball intact wins.


Divide the children into two teams. You will need two flags, which can be anything – you could even have flags that match your party theme. Bean bags, brightly colored bandanas, small stuffed animals or socks work well. The more the children have to run, the better. Try to create equal teams (include the parents!). Mark the “territories” for each team. This can be done with chalk, cones or tape, or simply using landmarks such as trees or sidewalks.

Place a flag on each team’s territory. It can be partially hidden, but once placed it cannot be moved. The object of the game is to capture the opponent’s flag. Team members are “safe” when on their own territory. Outside their territory, they can be tagged (captured) by members of the opposing team. If captured, they must remain in the opposing team’s territory unless a member of their own team tags them to free them. The game ends when one team has grabbed the opposing team’s flag and taken it to their territory.


Relays can be configured in different ways. These can be straight run events where teams team up and run from the start to a turning point to mark the next person in line. Or change it up by having kids jump rope or hop on one foot around the course to move on to the next person in line. Or have an egg and spoon race where players have to carry an egg (raw eggs are fun) to the turning point and bring it back to the next teammate without dropping or breaking it. Children can have fun imagining their own variants for relay races.


Kids always love games like Kick the Can, Green Light/Red Light, Simon Says, Flashlight Tag and Freeze Tag.

Joseph K. Bennett