Backyard Games for Kids are great activities that get kids out in the fresh air and bring the whole family together. Have outdoor fun -- and get exercise -- while you play games with your kids that challenge them physically and mentally.

On the following pages, you'll get great ideas for backyard games that the whole family can enjoy.

Backyard Obstacle Course

Learn how to create an obstacle course for your kids that's challenging and fun. Read about this backyard game.

Hit the Hoops

Make a basketball court in your own backyard and practice dribbling, shooting, and other basketball skills with your kids.

Tag Games

Learn variations on traditional tag that will keep kids having fun for hours without ever leaving the backyard.

Backyard Balancing Game

How well can you balance objects you find in your backyard? Enjoy this easy backyard game with your children.

Storyteller Scavenger Hunt

Your kids can get creative with this fun backyard storytelling game. Have a Storyteller Scavenger Hunt in your own yard.

By the Number Hopscotch

Make a hopscotch game without squares that tests kids' observational skills. Read about this innovative backyard game.

Tree Tag

This game of tag has an interesting twist that you and your kids will love. Get lots of exercise with this backyard game.

Gymnastics Jam

Watch your kids choreograph and execute gymnastics routines when they play Gymnastics Jam. Read about this exciting backyard game.

A Backyard Obstacle Course is easy to create and gets kids exercising. Learn this backyard game on the next page.

Looking for more outdoor fun? Try:

Backyard Obstacle Course

On your mark, get set, GO! See how fast you and your kids can make it through a Backyard Obstacle Course.

How to Make a Backyard Obstacle Course

What You'll Need:

  • Hula Hoops
  • Garden Hose
  • Lawn Chairs
  • Wading Pool
  • Apples
  • Garbage Bags
  • Soccer Ball
  • Stopwatch or Watch with Second Hand

Step One: To set up your course, look around the house for things you can use. You'll be surprised at what you can do with everyday objects.

Step Two: For example, set up a zig-zag row of hula hoops to hop through on one leg. Roll out the garden hose so it makes a winding path for you to jump back and forth over until you reach the next obstacle. How about a row of lawn chairs to crawl under without knocking any over?

Step Three: After you've squirmed through the lawn chairs, race around a full wading pool three times and bob for the apple.

Step Four: Next, have a garbage bag ready. Jump in feet first and hop to the next obstacle. Kick a soccer ball through a maze of lawn chairs set up around the yard.

Step Five: You can time how long it takes to go through your course. Then, challenge a friend to try the course!

Hit the Hoops is a backyard game that lets kids practice their aim. Learn how to make Hit the Hoops on the next page.

Looking for more outdoor fun? Try:

Hit the Hoops

The Hit the Hoops backyard game tests your aiming skills. Heads up! Don't bother going to the gym to play basketball. You can hit the court right at home.

How to Play Hit the Hoops

What You'll Need:

  • Garbage Can or Cardboard Box
  • Lawn Chair
  • Basketball

Step One: Look out, Michael Jordan...here I come! First, you'll have to decide where you want to put your basketball court. If your backyard isn't very flat or a ball doesn't bounce well on it, head to the driveway and get your home court ready to go.

Step Two: Find an empty garbage can or a medium-sized cardboard box and place it up on a lawn chair. That'll be your net. Now you're all set to play some b-ball!

Step Three: You know the rules: you can dribble (or bounce) the basketball, shoot at your net, and even slam-dunk if you like. But traveling (taking more than two steps without dribbling the ball first) is a no-no.

Step Four: If you're really up for a challenge, place another basket at the opposite end of the driveway. Now you can play from end-to-end. You can even get a few friends together and play in teams.

Try new Tag Games that put a whole new spin on the traditional game of tag. Learn this backyard game on the next page.

Looking for more outdoor fun? Try:

Tag Games

Tag Games aren't all the same. You've probably played tag tons of times. Why not spice it up?

How to Play Tag Games

What You'll Need:

  • Friends

Step One: Tag can be fun, but try air tag or shadow tag with your friends for something different. In air tag, the only time you're safe is when your feet aren't touching the ground.

Step Two: So if you're being chased, hang from a tree, jump onto a rock, or stand on your hands. Just grab some air! (Lying on the ground with your feet in the air is not allowed.)

Step Three: As for shadow tag, the only way you'll become "it" is if your shadow is tagged. So make sure you and your shadow keep on moving!

Backyard Balancing Game challenges kids to balance objects they find in the backyard. Learn this backyard game on the next page.

Looking for more outdoor fun? Try:

Backyard Balancing Game

Backyard Balancing Game tests children's ability to balance objects. How many pinecones can you stack without watching them fall?

How to Play Backyard Balancing Game

What You'll Need:

  • Anything Stackable You Can Find Outdoors
  • Paper
  • Pen

Step One: Start out stacking something easy, like leaves or flat rocks.

Step Two: Then, work your way up to tougher hurdles like tree branches or pebbles. Anything you can stack is fair game.

Step Three: Just for fun, keep records of how much of each item you were able to stack.

The Storyteller Scavenger Hunt is a backyard game that stimulates kid's imaginations. Learn how to play this backyard game on the next page.

Looking for more outdoor fun? Try:

Storyteller Scavenger Hunt

Storyteller Scavenger Hunt is a backyard game that's creative and challenging. Most of us have gone on a scavenger hunt -- a race to find items on a list. But this one has a very creative twist.

How to Play Storyteller Scavenger Hunt

What You'll Need:

  • Paper Bags for Collecting Items
  • Friends

Step One: Each team (two or more to a team) must bring back the items on

the list (a list like something red, something living, something old, something hard, something soft, something gross).

Step Two: But here's the trick. The winner isn't the one who finds all the items. The winner is the team that finds the items AND comes up with the best story to string them all together.

For example: "Once upon a time, a pioneer girl snagged her red hair ribbon on this old piece of barbed wire, while running from a swarm of pill bugs with runny noses. Why were the pill bugs swarming? To steal her bag of marshmallows, of course. They were tired of sleeping on hard, hard stones."

Step Three: Get the picture? This one is bound to be a laugh magnet.

By the Number Hopscotch will keep your kids jumping for joy. Read about this great backyard game on the next page.

Looking for more outdoor fun? Try:

By the Number Hopscotch

By the Number Hopscotch is a backyard game that will get your kids hopping and skipping. Hopsctoch has always been a game of numbers. Now it's also a game of observation.

How to Play By the Number Hopscotch

What You'll Need:

  • Chalk
  • Pebbles

Step One: Make a traditional hopscotch course. If you want to hop from one numbered square to the next, you'll have to spot something visible in the neighborhood that represents that number.

Step Two: Want to hop to one? Find something solo like a flagpole or a ball. Want to take the leap to two? Find something with two legs or two wheels. Ready to skip over to four? A car with four tires or a dog with four legs had better be nearby.

Step Three: The first one to the last square wins. Use the pebbles to mark your place while someone else takes a turn.

Tree Tag is a backyard game that makes foliage an important part of the activity. Find out how to play Tree Tag on the next page.

Looking for more outdoor fun? Try:

Tree Tag

Tree Tag is a backyard game with an interesting twist. Tag turns over a new "leaf" with this crazy adaptation.

How to Play Tree Tag

What You'll Need:

  • Open Space with Trees
  • Packing Tape
  • Blank Paper
  • Markers
  • String

Step One: It starts out normal enough. One person is "it" while the others scatter and run. But there are three to five tree bases, and each runner can only claim sanctuary twice at each tree before they're left with no choice but to run until they're caught.

Step Two: Clearly mark each tree base with a numbered paper and one blank sheet of paper. Attach them with packing tape so you don't hurt the tree and so it can be easily removed when the game is over.

Step Three: Now give each runner a different colored marker tied to a string around their neck. When they get to the base, they must mark the blank sheet with their color-coded "X." Two strikes, and that tree is not longer a free zone.

Step Four: The last player out wins and can either be "it" or pick the next "it."

Let your kids show off their tumbling skills when they play Gymnastics Jam. Read about this backyard game on the next page.

Looking for more outdoor fun? Try:

Gymnastics Jam

Gymnastics Jam is a backyard activities that lets your kids show off their tumbling skills. Watch them excel at their own Olympic events.

How to Play Gymnastics Jam

What You'll Need:

  • Flat, Open Field of Grass
  • Sidewalk
  • Chalk
  • 3 x 5 Notecards
  • Pens or Pencils

Step One: Draw a make-believe balance beam on your sidewalk with chalk. The make up silly steps, hops and twirls, somersault your way across a grassy field, and dangle from your swingset rings.

Step Two: Then have your friends score your routines by holding up numbered cards from one to ten. Take turns being an athlete and a judge.

Looking for more outdoor fun? Try:

ABOUT THE CRAFT DESIGNERS

Backyard Obstacle Course by Maria Birmingham, Karen E. Bledsoe, and Kelly Milner Halls

Hit the Hoops by Maria Birmingham, Karen E. Bledsoe, and Kelly Milner Halls

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

Backyard Balancing Game by Maria Birmingham, Karen E. Bledsoe, and Kelly Milner Halls

Storyteller Scavenger Hunt by Maria Birmingham, Karen E. Bledsoe, and Kelly Milner Halls

By the Numbers Hopscotch by Maria Birmingham, Karen E. Bledsoe, and Kelly Milner Halls

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

Gymnastic Jam by Maria Birmingham, Karen E. Bledsoe, and Kelly Milner Halls