Easy Outdoor Team Games for Kids

Jumping Games like a Flame-Jumping Contest challenge coordination and distance.
Jumping Games like a Flame-Jumping Contest challenge coordination and distance.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

Easy outdoor team games for kids help kids develop social skills while exercising their bodies and minds. The games found in this article include some old-fashioned favorites that are just as much fun today as they were when kids first played them years ago.

For added family fun, some of these games include a craft -- you'll need to draw or create part of the game before you begin to play. So gather up your friends, divide into teams, and get started playing games.

Holding Hands Game

Hold on tight in this game of skill as you pass a peanut to your teammates.

Flame-Jumping Contest

Can you jump high enough so you don't get "burned"?

Steal the Bastille Game

One of the oldest team games around, Steal the Bastille uses both strategy and physical skill.

Backyard Bowling

Who needs a bowling alley when you can bowl in your backyard?

Flashlight Tag

This after-dark game of tag is exciting and fast-paced.

Scavenger Hunts

See how you can put your own twist on a scavenger hunt, an old game that's been around since before Grandma's day!

Spoon It Up!

Can you carry water on a spoon without spilling? You'll need a steady hand to win this game.

Treasure Map

Bury your treasure, surprise your friends with a map, and see which one will be the first to find it.

Continue on to the next page to start learning how to play easy outdoor team games for kids.

For more fun games and crafts, check out:

Holding Hands Game

Play the Holding Hands Game, and see if you can excel in a team challenge. This game requires cooperation more than skill: You'll pass a peanut to members of your team -- while you're all standing in a line, holding hands.

Can a game be both harder and easier than it seems? Yes, it can! It may seem hard to pass the peanut without letting go of someone's hand, but it's easier than it looks -- when you work as a team. Hold on tight, and have fun!

What You'll Need

  • 4 dishes
  • 20 peanuts

How to Play the Holding Hands Game:

Step 1: Divide the players into two equal teams.

Step 2: Have each team line up and clasp hands by weaving their fingers together.

Step 3: Put a dish with ten peanuts at one end of each line and an empty dish at the other end of the line.

Step 4: The first player in each line picks up a peanut with her or his free hand and then passes it to her other hand -- the one that is clasped with the hand of the next player.

Step 5: The next player must use his clasped hand to pass the peanut to his other hand (which is clasped to the person on his or her other side) and so on, until the peanut gets to the last person, who drops it in the empty dish with his or her free hand.

Step 6: As soon as the first player has passed the first peanut, he or she picks up another peanut and begins again.

Step 7: The winner is the team that passes all 10 peanuts into the empty dish first -- without unclasping their hands at any time during the game!

Ready to test your jumping skills? Keep reading to learn about a jumping game that's really hot!

For more fun games and crafts, check out:

Flame-Jumping Contest

If you can jump high enough, you won't get "burned."
If you can jump high enough, you won't get "burned."
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

See who can jump the highest by having a Flame-Jumping Contest with your friends. You won't jump over a real fire, of course, but this game is still hot! And it's just as much fun whether you divide up into teams or play individually.

Before you start the game, you'll need to draw and cut out a cardboard flame, 15 inches high and 10 inches wide. Decorate the flame with markers. Then cut out and decorate another piece of cardboard that is 20 inches square. Fold this piece in half -- that'll make a stand 10 inches high. Now you're ready to play!

What You'll Need:

  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Markers
  • Corrugated cardboard
  • Clothespins
  • Masking tape

How to Have a Flame-Jumping Contest:

Step 1: Fasten the cardboard flame with clothespins to the cardboard stand. Start by pinning the flame so that its bottom is level with the bottom of the stand.

Step 2: Each player takes a turn jumping over the flame without knocking it over or touching it and getting "burned."

Step 3: Each time all the players successfully jump over the flame, the flame is pinned an inch higher. The winner is the last person to jump the flame without touching any part of it.

See the next page to learn how to play one of the oldest team games, Steal the Bastille.

For more fun games and crafts, check out:

Steal the Bastille Game

Each team draws a picture of their Bastille.
Each team draws a picture of their Bastille.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

Steal the Bastille is a game based on the events that occurred at the Bastille, an infamous French prison that was dismantled during the French Revolution.

This is a great team game that's best played in a large backyard or field with lots of trees and bushes to hide behind. Part craft, part team sport, you'll have hours of fun with your friends as you race to steal the Bastille!

What You'll Need:

  • Large heavy drawing paper
  • Markers
  • Two rubber bands
  • Large outdoor play area
  • Red bandannas and blue bandannas (enough for each player to wear one)

How to Play Steal the Bastille:

Step 1: Before beginning play, the players on one team tie red bandannas around their heads. The other team's players tie blue bandannas around their heads.

Step 2: Each team stakes out a "prison" and a safe territory, which the teams mark and show to each other.

Step 3: Clearly mark a dividing line between the two territories. Clearly mark outer boundaries, too. Outer boundaries are lines that cannot be crossed.

Step 4: Each team now draws a large picture of the Bastille, then hides their Bastille picture somewhere on their territory by rolling it up and putting a rubber band around it. The picture may need to be weighted down with stones if it's a windy day.

Step 5: To begin the game, players run to each other's territory to try to find and steal each other's Bastille. If a player is tagged by someone on the opposing team while in the other team's territory, he or she is captured and must stay in prison -- until another of his team members finds and tags him.

Step 5: The game ends when one team finds the other's Bastille picture and brings it back to their own territory, without being tagged by someone on the other team.

Can't make it to the bowling alley? See the next page to learn how to create a bowling game for your backyard.

For more fun games and crafts, check out:

Backyard Bowling

Backyard Bowling is a great outdoor game the whole family can enjoy. It's as easy to play as it is to set up. Just make some "pins" and give it your best shot.

Challenge a friend or divide into teams. Teams are best if you have at least four people playing -- it'll be like your own bowling league. See who can knock over all of the bottles using the fewest balls.

What You'll Need

  • Six two-liter plastic bottles
  • Water
  • Softball

How to Play Backyard Bowling:

Step 1: Find six empty two-liter plastic bottles. Pour water into each one until each is nearly half full. Cap the bottles -- now you have bowling pins.

Step 2: Stand the pins up in front of a wall or fence. Arrange them into three rows -- one row with one bottle, the next row with two, and the last row with three.

Step 3: Stand about 15 steps away from the pins, and roll a softball toward the pins. Take your best shot!

How many bottles can you knock over with one ball? How many tries does it take to knock them all over?

The fun doesn't have to stop when the sun goes down. Keep reading to learn how to play flashlight tag.

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Flashlight Tag

If you're allowed to play outdoors after dark, try Flashlight Tag for an exciting team game. It takes a little preparation before the sun goes down, but once it's dark, the fun begins!

Before playing, check your playing area for any obstacles (such as a bird bath or a barbecue grill) that could be dangerous. If you can't remove the obstacle, mark it by shining a flashlight on it.

What You'll Need:

  • At least three players
  • Flashlights

How to Play Flashlight Tag:

Step 1: Choose one person to be "it" and give that person a flashlight. All other players run and hide.

Step 1: "It" counts to 20, looks for other players, and "tags" them by shining a beam of light on them. Since this kind of tagging can't be felt, when "It" tells you that you've been tagged, you'll have to agree.

Step 3: Tagged players go to "jail." A good "jail" would be a well-lit porch.

Step 4: Players may change hiding places at any time. Part of the fun is that the darkness provides so many hiding places and makes it easier to sneak from one place to another. Be creative when you search for places to hide. Sometimes all you need is a very dark shadow to conceal you.

Step 5: The game ends when all the players are in "jail."

Here's a variation: Give a flashlight to each player. Players can run around or hide, as they choose, but they must flash their light every time "it" yells "Lights!"

Another great team game is a scavenger hunt. Learn more on the next page.

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Scavenger Hunts

Scavenger Hunts develop your tracking skills and provide lots of excitement as you race to find the next object. This game has been around for ages and never goes out of style!

Before you start, set the limits -- do you want the teams to cover the entire neighborhood or just your block? And remember, the items on the scavenger list must be collected only from public areas or from neighbors who give permission. Teams also can "collect" trees or buildings by writing down their locations or by drawing pictures.

What You'll Need:

  • Paper and pencil
  • Paper bags for small items

How to Have Scavenger Hunts:

Step 1: Give teams (two to four kids on each team) a list of 10 to 20 things to find. Make sure the items on the list are hard to find, but not impossible,

Step 2: Send the teams to scavenge the predetermined area.

Step 3: The first team that gets back home with all its items is the winner.

Suggestions: For a Halloween hunt, find something green (like the face of Frankenstein's monster), something pale (like a vampire), or something sharp (like a fang). Spot three stores with Halloween displays in front. Collect ingredients for a witch's cauldron.

Eco-hunt: Pick up something that was thrown away that can be recycled. Spot three examples of people helping wildlife. Find a bird's nest (but don't disturb it). Spot three types of flowers used by butterflies or bees.

Know your neighborhood: Find the largest tree in the neighborhood,

a house with a red door, or the nearest mailbox. List houses with basketball hoops, birdbaths, wishing wells, pink flamingos, or birdhouses.

See the next page to find out how long it takes to fill a bowl the "old-fashioned" way.

For more fun games and crafts, check out:

Spoon It Up

When you play Spoon It Up, you may acquire an appreciation of how farmers used to get water to their fields from a river -- by carrying it there, one bucket at a time.

This game doesn't use buckets, though, or make you go down to a river. Instead, you'll use a large spoon and a bowl of water. It takes teamwork and a steady hand. Here's how to get started:

What You'll Need:

  • Empty bowls
  • Water-filled bowls
  • Large spoons

How to Play Spoon It Up:

Step 1: Set two bowls for each team on opposite sides of a yard or small playing field. The bowls on one side should be filled with water; the bowls on the opposite side should be empty.

Step 2: Each team lines up behind its water-filled bowl. At a signal to begin, the first person in line dips the spoon into the water-filled bowl and carries it across the yard to the empty bowl.

Step 3: The player carrying the spoon then dumps the water into the empty bowl and runs back to the other side of the yard.

Step 4: That player then hands the spoon to the next person in line, and then takes his or her place at the end of the line.

Step 5: Play continues -- passing the spoon and carrying the water -- until the originally full bowl of water is empty. The first team to transport all the water from one bowl to the other is the winner.

Variation: Set a timer. The team with the most water in its bowl when the timer goes off is the winner.

Making and following a treasure map is another team game that's sure to please. Learn more about it on the next page.

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Treasure Map

Make a treasure map to lead your friends to buried treasure.
Make a treasure map to lead your friends to buried treasure.
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

Pirates aren't the only ones who make and follow treasure maps. Bury "treasure" in your yard and then create a map for your friends to follow.

Making the map is just as entertaining as looking for the treasure, but it's also fun to watch your friends try to read your map and follow your directions to find the buried treasure.

Get enough people involved to make two teams and trade maps. The first team to uncover the other's treasure is the winner!

What You'll Need

  • Objects to hide (for the treasure)
  • Brown paper
  • Markers and crayons
  • Twine or rubber bands

How to Make a Treasure Map:

Step 1: Choose the treasure to bury (such as a small toy).

Step 2: Hide the treasure in your yard; you can bury it, put it in some bushes, or place it under a rock. If you are digging in your backyard, be sure to ask permission first!

Step 3: Use a piece of brown paper -- part of a paper grocery bag will work -- to create a map of your yard. The map will show where the treasure is hidden.

Step 4: Put a large X on the map where you hid the treasure. Include the number of paces (footsteps) from place to place, such as from an oak tree to large rock to gate to treasure.

Step 5: Roll the map up, and tie it with twine so it looks like a real treasure map. Then give the map to a friend or the other team. Who'll be the first to find the hidden treasure?

For more fun games and crafts, check out:


Holding Hands Game by Lisa Lerner, Kersten Hamilton

Flame-Jumping Contest by Lisa Lerner, Kersten Hamilton

Steal the Bastille Game by Lisa Lerner, Kersten Hamilton


Backyard Bowling by Maria Birmingham, Karen E. Bledsoe, Kelly Milner Halls

Flashlight Tag by Maria Birmingham, Karen E. Bledsoe, Kelly Milner Halls

Scavenger Hunts by Maria Birmingham, Karen E. Bledsoe, Kelly Milner Halls

Spoon It Up! by Maria Birmingham, Karen E. Bledsoe, Kelly Milner Halls