The warm spring and summer weather will be here soon, which means your kids are probably excited about playing outside.
Make sure they have plenty to do by having a few fun toddler outdoor games on hand.
These simple games are easy enough for a toddler to understand but fun enough that kids of any age will enjoy playing, which means everyone in your family is sure to have a blast when they’re playing outside.
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Toddler Outdoor Games
One of the most popular toddler outdoor games is also great for kids of any age – tag. If you have a toddler who loves to run, chase, and be chased, they’re sure to love this easy game.
How to Play: One child is chosen as “it,” who then chases all the other players around trying to tag them. Once someone gets tagged, they become “it.”
Hide and Seek
Kids love hiding and finding things, which makes this classic game a must when playing with toddlers outside. To play hide and seek outside, you’ll need at least three players and a few good hiding places.
How to Play: While there are a ton of variations to this game, most involve one person being “it.” The person who is it counts to a designated number (usually 10 or higher depending on the age of the children playing) then says something like “ready or not, here I come.” While the person who is “it” is counting, the other players must hide. After they’ve reached the designated number, the person who is it starts searching for the other players. The last one to be found is “it” for the next round.
If you have a large group of kids who need to be entertained, this fun game is a great choice. Ideally, you would play with a parachute with handles, but you can also use a flat sheet in place of a parachute.
How to Play: Lay the parachute or sheet flat on the ground and let the kids surround it. Each child grabs a handle or section of the sheet and moves the parachute up and down in unison. Once the parachute begins to move, you can add other objects, like whiffle balls or bean bags to the top, allowing them to pop up and down as the parachute moves. The kids can also take turns running under the parachute when it goes up into the air.
What toddler doesn’t love playing with bubbles? Turn bubble play into a game with this fun idea!
How to Play: One adult or child blows bubbles while your toddler runs around trying to catch them. Make it educational by asking your toddler to count the number of bubbles they’re able to pop in a certain amount of time.
Red Light, Green Light
Another game that’s great for a group, the rules of Red Light, Green Light are simple enough for kids of any age to play. You’ll need a small group of kids (and/or adults) to play, but no special equipment for this fun game.
How to Play: One person serves as a traffic light, standing in front of the group of other players. When the traffic light says green light, all the players must run toward them. When they say red light, all the players must freeze in place. If anyone moves during a red light, they’re out. The first person to tag the traffic light wins and gets to be the traffic light for the next round.
Mother, May I
Similar to Red Light, Green Light, this Mother, May I is another simple game that’s great for outdoor play with toddlers. To play this easy game, you’ll need a group of kids and plenty of room to run and play.
How to Play: One person stands in front of the group of players and acts as the mother. Each person in the group asks “Mother may I move forward?” Mother can reply, “Yes, you may” or “No, you may not.” The group members can also make specific requests, like take large steps, baby steps, jump, run, or whatever other movements they come up with. Whoever reaches mother first wins and gets to be mother for the next round.
If your little one has ever heard you read We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, this fun toddler outdoor game is sure to be a hit. And even if you haven’t read the story, they’ll still enjoy acting out each of the adventures.
How to Play: Line up all the players in a straight line with an adult at the beginning of the line. The adult says “We’re going on a bear hunt. We’re going to catch a big one” followed by an action the group must take to catch the bear. As you travel around the yard searching for the bear, you could:
- Climb over a mountain
- Swim through a river
- Walk through sticky mud
- Crawl through a tunnel
- Sneak past a sleeping animal
- And once you find the bear, run away!
While your toddler may not be coordinated enough to play a game of hopscotch, you can alter the game to fit their skills. To set up the game, draw a series of shapes in different colors and patterns using sidewalk chalk.
How to Play: Tell your toddler to jump along the pattern of shapes yelling out the color and shape as they jump. Or you could tell your toddler which color or shape to jump to next, helping them get a better grasp as they learn their colors and shapes.
Do you have an explorative toddler at home? A scavenger hunt is one of the best toddler outdoor games for inquisitive kids! And the best part about this game is that you don’t really need any special supplies to play. While it’s fun to have a printed list of items to search for, you can also use your imagination and tell your toddler what items to find.
How to Play: Whether you use a list of ideas or come up with items spur of the moment, gameplay is the same. Tell your toddler an item to find outside, then let them search for it. Once they find an item, move to the next thing on the list. You can provide them with specific items, like a rock or a leaf, or items of a certain shape, size, or color.
While this kid-friendly game requires a little bit of coordination, it’s great for older toddlers who have developed their fine motor skills enough to catch. Hot potato requires something for the players to catch, like a ball, bean bag, or even a sock filled with rice. If someone can throw it and catch it, it works!
How to Play: All the players stand in a circle and toss the “hot potato” around to the person next to them. If someone drops the potato, they’re out. Players continue tossing the game, without moving from their spot, until only one person remains. To make the game a little more toddler-friendly, you can allow the players to move closer together after each player is eliminated to avoid big gaps between tosses.
What are your favorite toddler outdoor games to play? Let me know in the comment below.