Summertime Fun: 12 Games to Play Outside

By Susan Ragsdale and Ann Saylor. This post was originally published by Write Creations Group, LLC.

Summertime Fun: 12 Games to Play OutsideHoliday weekends. Birthday parties. Park gatherings. Community picnics. Camping. Summer is full of opportunities for families and youth programs alike to get outdoors and have some fun.

You never know when you’ll find yourself with a few people ready to play. Here are a few crowd-pleasing outdoor games sure to keep your group moving, laughing, and having fun. Some are energetic. Some are challenging. And some are a mix of both. Pick and choose to find the activity just right for your group.

Water Games
Water games are a great way to cool off and make some smiles. The games can be as simple as

  • Water Limbo. Using a hose instead of a broomstick, players bend to go underneath the line of water without touching it. The line is lowered each time. How low can players go before getting wet?
  • Water Balloon Dodgeball. Two teams stand across from each other and toss water balloons at each other to get members out.
  • Water Freeze Tag. Armed with squirt bottles or water guns, players freeze when they get squirted (tagged) by the person who is “it” and are unfrozen when squirted by teammates. (See further instructions here.)
  • Sharks and Minnows. This game of tag from the 1950s can be played in the water or on land, with or without props.

Lawn Games
Lawn games call for skill but also leave enough space for casual conversations to take place while playing—great for being active while fostering relationships at the same time!

  • Beanbag Toss or Cornhole. In this lawn game, players take turns throwing bags at a hole in a raised platform. Points are awarded for direct hits or near hits, but are subtracted if another team’s bag knocks yours off. First team or player to reach 21 points wins. Want to save money? Make your own set.
  • Kubb. A favorite of our families, this is a game of skill. No running involved! Aim? Very important. Kubb is a great way to focus, get rid of energy (you get to throw things!), and work on your hand-eye coordination.
  • Angry Birds Live! This game is great for outside or an indoor space (should it rain). It takes lots of boxes, balls, and a homemade catapult or store-bought water balloon launcher. How detailed and how much money you spend is up to you. Here is one person’s version of the game, and here’s another example.

Running Games
These invigorating strategic games are sure to leave you energized and revitalized after you work off excess steam or build up your energy. And you use your brain!

  • Streets and Alleys. This chase game involves the entire group creating streets or alleys by standing in rows and holding out their arms; the facilitator calls “streets” or “alleys” to change the direction the group faces, turning streets to alleys or vice versa.
  • Giants, Wizards, and Elves. This classic interactive game of tag and strategy creates fun chaos and hasn’t lost its popularity over time. It works something like rock, paper, scissors: Giants beat wizards, wizards beat elves, and elves beat giants. Show your sign at the same time, and run!
  • Wolverines, Spidermen, and Thors. Don’t have a crowd of Hobbit lovers? Then try putting the same game into a superhero setting: Wolverine beats Spiderman (slashes the web), Spiderman beats Thor (hammer gets stuck in web), and Thor beats Wolverine (hammer breaks claw). See a quick clip here.
  • Capture the Flag. The most complicated of the games in this post, Capture the Flag involves two teams, two flags, and strategy as teams try to win by capturing the other team’s hidden flag. Of course, all the tagging and going to jail gets in the way of accomplishing such a simple task. Check here for instructions on how to play.

Adult Recess
Outdoor games and play aren’t just for the young of body. They’re for adults, too. Want to take advantage of good weather but aren’t exactly an iron man or woman? Gather some friends for an hour or two of adult recess. Bring it all back with dodgeball, tag, potato sack races, water balloon tag . . . the choice is yours. Just get outside and get active. It will do you good.

We would love to hear about your favorite outdoor games, so tag us in your pictures or stories on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram; or send them to us at

Copyright© 2017 by Susan Ragsdale and Ann Saylor at Write Creations Group, LLC. For permission to reprint, contact

Susan Ragsdale and Ann Saylor have created over 891 activities in 8 published works and have led training experiences together with groups of all sizes since 2001. They help people craft fun, engaging experiences where children and teens learn and thrive. See more of their work online: Facebook|Twitter|Instagram|LinkedIn for Ann|LinkedIn for Susan|Books

Brain Booster in a JarSusan Ragsdale and Ann Saylor are the coauthors of Brain Boosters for Groups In a Jar®: Brain-enhancing games to get teens moving and connecting.

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