Bright sunny days are not meant to be cosseted inside. It is to run amok, shout and roll in the grass, and the best way is to play games outside. Outdoor games are not just about physical exertion and having fun, but it also unconsciously hones qualities like co-operation, decision making, concentration, communication and spirit of healthy competition in children. Most of the outdoor games are variations of the classics, ‘tag’ and ‘hide-n-seek’, played out in groups or as a ‘chaser’ and ‘denner’. Listed below are 10 fun outdoor games:
1. Hide and Seek
This classic fun game involves everyone, age and size irrespective. The game has one ‘it’ who counts to some number, while others scurry and hide. After counting, the ‘it’ tries to find the others, and last first one to be found becomes the new ‘it’.
2. Red Light, Green Light
Also called ‘Freeze’ or ‘Stop’, in this game one child is the traffic light and when he says ‘red light’ or ‘stop’, everyone freezes. He then turns back and says ‘green light’, and everyone moves towards the traffic light. Anyone caught moving during the ‘freeze’ becomes out or has to start again.
3. Four Square Ball
The game can be played on the sidewalk or a playground, where the surface is divided into four squares, ranked king to peasant, and the players are divided into four groups each in one square. Bounce the ball around and person who misses it goes to a lower ranked square. Additional rules are always added to this game and becomes more as the game gets on.
Called ‘catch n catch’ also, it is an eternal masterpiece with many variations played over the ages. The idea is simple; one player is the ‘it’ and he runs chasing the other players, trying to tag them. The newly tagged person becomes ‘it’ and the game continues. A popular variation is the ‘freeze tag’ where the tagged person becomes a statue.
5. Blind Man’s Bluff
A variation of the classic ‘tag’, here the ‘it’ is blindfolded and the area for the other players to run about is demarcated.
Here, all players get numbers and gather around one player who is ‘it’. The ‘it’ tosses the ball upwards and everyone else runs away. As the ball reaches up, ‘it’ calls out a number and that numbered player has to catch the ball before it touches the ground calling out ‘spud’. Everyone freezes and the player with the ball tries to hit anybody out. If he hits, that child is the new ‘it’ and if he misses, he becomes ‘it’.
7. Sprinkler Fun
An ideal game for hot summers, it is better for the kids to don their swimming suits. Open the sprinklers, and children have to save themselves from the spraying waters. Last player standing is the winner.
8. Capture the Flag
In this fun game children are divided into two teams and each team has an area where they have a marker – a flag, twig or a pebble. The idea is that one player from the opposite team comes in and tries to take away the flag, and get back safely. Enemy players will be tagged in your territory and sent to jail, from where there are freed when their team mate will come and tag them.
9. Red Rover
This age old fun game has two teams facing each other 20 feet apart. The teams hold their hands and call out, “Red Rover, Red Rover, let ‘child’s name’ come over”. Then that child has to run quickly and try to break through the hands held. If he manages to do so, he can take away a team member to his own team.
10. Mountain King
This race game is fun, healthy and active and can be played in large playgrounds or small backyards. Place a flag on the top of somewhere accessible and when you say ‘go’ the children have to race to get the flag first. The winner is the ‘Mountain King’.