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Simple and Fun Outdoor Games

There are more and more fun outdoor games for kids on the market which our children can enjoy, but we don't always have the time or finances to go out and buy these, so here are a few simple and fun garden games which use only those items which we tend to have hanging around the house and garden.


Make a den

Make a tent

Construct an obstacle course

Create a miniature garden

15 to 1

Noughts and crosses

Paper aeroplanes

Paper football

Click here to let us know your favourite fun outdoor games and share them with others!

boy playing with ball clipart

Make a Den

Making a den in the garden can be as simple or as ellaborate as your child wants to make it and as time and skill allows. If you are fortunate enough to have some old wooden planks or packing cases hanging around, these make perfect walls, but for younger children, an old cardboard box does the trick just as easily. The main aspect of the den is that it is a private place, one where little knick-knacks can be kept and imagination can run wild. Include a log for a seat and another for a little table, a yogurt pot to put flowers in, a piece of cardboard outside the front as a welcome sign and another a doormat and you have the beginnings of a private little house just for your child!.

When my children were younger and we had no spare cash, we nailed four pallets together, used a saw to cut out a window and door and threw a blanket over the top. This simple and cheap 'playhouse' provided them with an imaginary home/castle/hideout for years!

tent clipart

Make a Tent

You can make a quick and easy tent out of an old blanket drapped across the washing line or an old clothes horse and secured by stones or planks on either side. Alternatively, tie a piece of rope to the top of a fencing post or a branch and drape the blanket over that. Pop a sheet or blanket on the floor, invite a pile of teddy bears or dolls and have a picnic!

tent clipart

Construct an Obstacle Course

This is probably our favourite fun outdoor game! Depending on the age and skill of of your child it can be as complicated or simple as you wish. My kids love constructing an obstacle course for themselves, and as much fun is had in making it as trying to get round it - they also like creating courses for the dogs!

Bridges can be built by placing a plank of wood on a couple of bricks or footstools, a cardboard box with two sides cut out can be an obstacle to crawl under, three sticks can be tied together at the top with a rope leading to another pile of sticks, a blanket thrown over the top and it makes the perfect tunnel to crawl through; bricks or old tires are perfect placed in a row to dribble round or hop from; even circles drawn on the terrace with chalk can provide stepping stones.

boy playing with ball clipart

Create a Miniature Garden

A lovely outdoor game which again allows your child to use their imagination and explore nature. Find a old tray or washing up bowl and create a whole country for a friendly snail or ladybird - or even a small action figure or fairy! The tray can be filled with mud, then stones, twigs, leaves, grass, and flowers can be added. An old margarine tub or yogurt pot filled with water creates a perfect pond with clover leaves added on top as water lilies and a little house can be made out of a match box.

snail clipart

15 to 1

This is a tactical game for older children which is not as easy as it looks!

Collect 15 stones or marbles and position them in three rows, five stones per row. Easch person takes in it turn to remove from one to five stones, but only from the same row. The person who is forced to pick up the very last stone is the loser.

kid thinking clipart

Noughts and Crosses

Instead of using pen and paper, turn this simple traditional game into a fun outdoor game by creating the lines out of branches and using stones and leaves for the noughts and crosses. If you have sandpit or a patch of clear earth, you can use a stick to 'draw' it as though it were on paper.

kid thinking clipart

Paper Aeorpanes

Make a couple of paper planes out of paper or thin card, decorate them with pens or crayons to personalise them, then have races to see whose plane travels furtherst or can perfom the most elaborate stunts!

We are fortunate enough to have a balcony above our garden and throw the planes off there ... this means plenty of physical exercise running up and down the stairs to retrieve the planes!

boy playing with ball clipart

Paper Football

Don't happen to have a football handy? No problem! Grab an old newspaper and scrunch up individual pages into balls, securing with sellotape, take it outside and have a kick around or play catch. This is a particularly fun outdoor game on a windy day, as the paper ball is so light it is blown off course and much more difficult to catch!

boy playing with ball clipart

What are your favourite fun outdoor games? Click here to let us know and share them with others!

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