The 25 Best Outdoor Games to Keep Kids Entertained All Summer (2022)

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Outdoor games provide children with valuable learning experiences, social interaction, exercise, and, oh, a ton of fun!

Kids are not meant to be stuck indoors 24/7, and they naturally thrive when they play outside, says Meghan Fitzgerald, a former school principal and the cofounder of Tinkergarten, a company that designs outdoor games for children. Even the simplest outdoor play teaches kids skills in a fun, hands-on way that nothing else can—especially not a screen. Kids just think they’re playing and having fun together, but in the process, they’re also learning scientific principles, having valuable social interactions, getting exercise, and releasing stress, Fitzgerald explains. Plus, as long as the pandemic is around, playing outdoors is safer for everyone.

The dilemma? How to peel your kids away from YouTube and video games and get them out in nature. If you’re looking for backyard games. we’ve got you covered. These outdoor games for kids are simple, frugal, easily adapted to any age, and can be done in groups of two to 100 kids.

Classic outdoor games for kids

They’re classics for a reason! These games, which have been around for decades, require little or no equipment, are easy to understand, and, as you probably remember from your own childhood, are a ton of fun. Take a trip down memory lane, and spread the good times to the next generation with these oldies but goodies.

Capture the Flag

Teamwork is the name of the game in this classic outdoor game for kids. Start with at least six players, and divide into two teams. Mark a designated playing space and establish a home base with a “flag” for each team. On “go,” each team tries to run into enemy territory, steal the flag, and make it back safely to their side. However, if you’re tagged by an opposing team member, you’re frozen and can no longer help your team. Keep the space small for younger kids, but for older children, you can add obstacles, hideouts, or play it in the dark. You can also try this glow-in-the-dark version for extra cool effects.

The 25 Best Outdoor Games to Keep Kids Entertained All Summer (1)Westend61/Getty Images

Ghost in the Graveyard

Gather at least five kids, and designate a home base as the safe spot. Choose one person to be the ghost. The ghost hides while the rest stay at the base and count to 30. The kids then spread out and look for the ghost. When someone finds him or her, they yell, “Ghost in the graveyard!” and everyone attempts to run back to base before the ghost tags them. If the ghost tags someone, that person becomes the new ghost. If the ghost doesn’t tag anyone, the last child back to home base is the ghost.


This easy outdoor game for kids is like reverse hide-and-seek. Start with a group of four or more children, and pick one kid to be “it.” All the kids count to 30 while the child who is “it” finds a hiding spot. The kids then spread out and look for the hidden child. When they find him or her, they quietly hide with the other kid(s) until all the children are hiding in the same spot or as close as they can without being seen. The last one to find the spot becomes “it” for the next round.

The 25 Best Outdoor Games to Keep Kids Entertained All Summer (2)Thomas M. Scheer/Getty Images

Kick the Can

Pick an open area, preferably paved, like a driveway, and set an empty tin can in the middle. Gather at least four children, and pick one of them to be the “guard” or “it.” The guard counts to 30 while the other children hide. The hidden children’s goal is to kick the can without getting tagged by the guard. The guard’s goal is to protect the can, keeping it from getting kicked, by tagging any kid running toward it. Once tagged, that child is frozen where they stand. The child who kicks the can wins, or the guard wins if he or she tags all the other players out. Looking for more affordable activities?

(Video) 10 Easy Outdoor Activities to Keep Kids Entertained during Quarantine

Hospital Tag

Regular tag is fun, but these tweaks to the rules can take it to the next level. Choose someone to be “it.” That child chases the other kids, trying to tag them. Once a child is tagged, they have to cover the spot where they were tagged with their hand to keep playing. The second time they are tagged they cover that spot with their other hand and keep playing. The third time they are tagged, they have to go to the “hospital,” where they are out for the rest of the game. The child who is “it” wins when all the other players are in the hospital. The first child in the hospital is the next “it.”

The 25 Best Outdoor Games to Keep Kids Entertained All Summer (3)John M Lund Photography Inc/Getty Images

Red Rover

Divide at least 10 children into two groups. Place each group on separate ends of an open space, like a field or large yard. Each group forms a line, holding hands. One line starts the game by chanting, “Red rover, red rover, send X right over,” where X is the name of a child on the other team. That child then runs across the field and tries to break through the line at any point. If the child fails, they join that team’s line. If they succeed, they choose a player to bring back with them to their original team. Play until all the kids are in one line.

Red Light, Green Light

Gather a group of at least five children, and choose one to be the traffic light. Put the traffic light at one end of an open space and the rest of the kids at the other end. The traffic light starts with his or her back to the group. When that child yells, “Green light,” the group runs toward them. At any point, the traffic light can turn to face the group and yell, “Red light,” and everyone must stop running. If a child keeps running through a red light, they are out. The traffic light continues saying “red light” or “green light” until they are tagged by another child, who then becomes the next traffic light.

Mother, May I?

Start with a group of at least five children, and choose one to be “mother.” Line up the group of kids on one end of the open space, and place the “mother” on the other end, facing the group. Kids in the group take turns asking, “Mother, may I…?” filling in the blank with a request to move. They may ask things like “May I take three hops on one foot forward?” or “May I do one cartwheel?” or “May I run backward for two steps?” Mother then says “yes” or “no.” The first child to successfully reach mother and tag him or her is the next mother. This game is also a good way to instill some of the manners you should be teaching your kids.

Jump Rope Copycat

There are many jump rope games to play, but a popular version involves copying the other players. For this outdoor game, start with at least two children, each with their own jump rope, and space them apart in a circle. One child starts by doing a trick—say, jumping the rope once on one foot. The next child then performs the first trick and adds one of their own, like jumping in a circle. The third child must perform both tricks in order and add one of their choosing. Continue around the circle, with each child adding on a trick. When a child fails to perform the sequence in order, they are out. Continue until only one child is left. These jump ropes come in a pack of four, with cute animal handles.


Chalk is a wonderful medium for creativity, and while kids love drawing with it, there are also many ways they can use it for interactive games. One fun way is to play Story. Choose a large sidewalk or driveway, and give one child some chalk. Ask them to draw the introduction to a story while saying it. For instance, “Once upon a time there was a puppy…” and draw a puppy. The next child takes the chalk and adds onto the picture story—”…who got lost in a forest.” Each child continues, adding onto the picture and the story and creating a fantastical tale as they go.

The 25 Best Outdoor Games to Keep Kids Entertained All Summer (4)mixetto/Getty Images


Hopscotch is another classic game to play with chalk. Have the child or children draw a hopscotch board on a flat, paved surface. The board should be made up of connected basic shapes with numbers showing the order they should be jumped on. You may need to help kids who are younger or who have never seen a hopscotch board before. Once it’s completed, each child chooses a token (usually a small rock or wood chip). They take turns tossing it onto a space, in order. If the token lands on the space, they jump the whole board but skip the spot where their token is. The first child to complete the whole board wins.


Jacks is a great game to play when it’s hot or the kids are tired from running around. It’s best played with one to four kids, but you can add more children if you purchase more than one jacks set. Seat the children in a circle on a flat, paved surface. The first child tosses the jacks into the middle, then takes the bouncy ball, bounces it, and grabs one jack before the ball hits the ground again and catches the ball after its second bounce. The child replaces the jack and passes the ball to the next player, who repeats the action. In each round, one jack is added to the number that must be grabbed before the ball bounces, until they are scooping the whole pile of jacks at once. If a child misses, they are out. The last child wins. You can also play this one inside when the weather isn’t great, along with these strategy board games.

(Video) Keep Your Kids Entertained All Summer Long 6/25/15

Sharks and Minnows

This playground classic works best with large groups of children—the more kids, the better! Identify one child to be a “shark,” and the rest are “minnows.” The shark stands in the middle of an open space, and the minnows line up at one end, facing the shark. When the shark says, “Fishy, fishy, come out and play,” the minnows walk slowly around the field. When the shark yells, “Shark attack!” all the minnows try to run to the opposite end of the field. The shark chases the minnows and tags as many as he or she can. Every tagged player is now a shark. Repeat the round until all players are sharks.


School-age kids will get a kick out of this classic outdoor game that’s like tag but played on playground equipment. Start with at least four children, and designate one to be “it.” The child who is “it” starts on the ground, counting to 10, while the rest of the kids climb up on the playground equipment. “It” then tries to tag another player. If “it” is on the ground, they can keep their eyes open, but if they climb on the equipment, then they have to close their eyes. If “it” thinks another player is on the ground, they can yell, “Groundies!” and that player becomes “it.” A child can also become “it” if they are tagged by the current kid who is “it.”

The 25 Best Outdoor Games to Keep Kids Entertained All Summer (5)Viara Mileva/Getty Images

Sporty outdoor games for kids

Children are often involved in formal sports teams or clubs from a young age, but sometimes they just want to get outdoors and throw, kick, or hit a ball around and not worry about getting a penalty or letting down their team. These sports are fun in any setting, and you can round out the theme with these sports jokes your little athletes will love.


Tennis’ newer and cooler cousin, this racquet sport is also more kid-friendly. It’s played with solid racquets and a small plastic ball that is similar to a Wiffle ball. Kids can play on teams of two or one-on-one. The first person to score 11 points with at least a two-point lead, wins. The official pickleball rules can get a little complicated for younger kids, but they’ll enjoy just hitting the ball back and forth over the net. Get the whole family playing with this parent-child pickleball starter set.


Recess is calling! Grab a rubber playground ball and head over to a baseball diamond (or set up four bases in a diamond shape in an open space). Gather at least 10 kids and divide them into two teams. The rules are similar to baseball, but the pitcher rolls the ball to the kicker, who then kicks the ball and (hopefully) rounds the bases. Set an equal number of innings, and the winning team is the one that scores the most runs by the end.

The 25 Best Outdoor Games to Keep Kids Entertained All Summer (6)RealPeopleGroup/Getty Images


Kicking a ball into a goal is a favorite pastime of many kids, and soccer turns that childlike love into one of the world’s biggest sports. The official rules of soccer lay out all the details, but if you’re playing for fun, you can keep it simple. Divide a group of at least eight kids into two teams. Give them a soccer ball and tell them to kick it into the opponent’s goal—no hands allowed! The team with the most goals at the end wins. By the way, this is why Americans say soccer instead of football.


American football is a favorite sport among kids, but playing an official youth football game requires a lot of equipment, safety gear, and rules, as well as a specialized field. Thankfully, you don’t need all of that to play a fun backyard game with your kids. Divide a group of at least eight kids into two teams. Set up a field with a goal-line at each end, and challenge them to throw or carry the football over the line. To avoid injuries, stick to touching instead of tackling.


Hitting a ball with a bat requires a little more coordination than some other sports, but the challenge is what makes it fun for kids. The list of official little league rules is long, so if you’re just playing for fun on a summer night, it’s fine to stick to “home rules” (aka whatever you decide!). Head out to the local baseball diamond and divide at least 10 children into two teams. Take turns being “at bat” and pitching. Hit the ball, round the bases, make it home, and score a point for the team! Older kids might already have their own equipment, but you can get younger ones started with this all-in-one set that comes with a bat, ball, and glove.

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The 25 Best Outdoor Games to Keep Kids Entertained All Summer (7)Kevin Dodge/Getty Images


Nothing but net! The only thing kids love more than kicking a ball into a hole is throwing a ball into a hole—the premise of basketball in a nutshell! Go to a local basketball court, bring a ball, and divide at least 10 kids into two teams. Assign each one a basket, and challenge them to pass, throw, or bounce the ball to teammates, working together to score baskets. If you’ve got a kid with a summer birthday, sports equipment is an easy gift for boys or girls, and you can put it to good use right away.

Outdoor party games for kids

These outdoor lawn games are perfect for summer holiday parties, birthdays, or just a lazy Saturday afternoon. Play right alongside the kids, or kick back, relax, and watch the kiddie fun from the sidelines.

The 25 Best Outdoor Games to Keep Kids Entertained All Summer (8)Cavan Images/Getty Images


This old-school bean-bag toss is a fun outdoor game for kids and grown-ups alike, and it’s easily adjusted for different skill levels by moving the goals closer or farther apart. It can also be played solo or with others. Start by setting up two cornhole boards, spaced as far apart as you need. Children play one at a time, and when it is their turn, they can throw three bean bags at the board, aiming for the hole. Each bag in the hole earns a point. It’s fairly simple to make your own cornhole game or you can get this starter set, which comes complete with boards, bean bags, and official rules.

Ring Toss

Keep it simple by setting up wooden poles and letting kids toss plastic rings on them, or up the ante with another creative version of this game. Use inflatable pool rings and have kids toss them onto people. You can also change the difficulty by using different items for the rings, like plastic bracelets, hula hoops, rope rings, or pool diving rings. Or go for giggles with this inflatable flamingo hat and rings.

Giant Jenga

Jenga, the classic block-stacking game, is always a hit, but it’s even more fun when you play the giant version outdoors. Take 56 rectangular blocks of the same size and stack them into a solid tower. Gather one to 10 children and have them take turns removing a block and adding it to the top. The goal is to not knock the tower over. You can make your own wooden blocks or buy them as a set with a carrying bag and rules.


Ladderball looks simple enough—you toss two golf balls tethered by a rope onto the rung of a ladder—but it’s trickier than it seems. Organize children into teams, or have them play solo. Each ladder rung is worth different points. The person or team with the most points wins. This Rally and Roar set comes with three different ways to play, making it perfect for both novices and experts.

The 25 Best Outdoor Games to Keep Kids Entertained All Summer (9)Alistair Berg/Getty Images

Scavenger Hunt

Create a list of items that can be found around your home or neighborhood—some easy to find and others a little more challenging. Gather two or more children and give each one a list. Whichever kid collects all the items on the list first is the winner. If you have a large group, divide children into teams with one list per team. Lists can be customized to fit a theme, like a birthday or the 4th of July, and you can even pick up some premade scavenger hunt cards to make things easier. For the summer and beyond, you’ll also want to stock up on these classic board games.

(Video) Keeping Kids Busy This Summer

Next, check out the best kiddie pools that’ll keep the kids cool this summer.


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What are outdoor games short answer? ›

Cricket, Football, and Hockey are the outdoor games. Many of these outdoor sports are team sports and playing them improves our creativity, social and leadership skills and also our ability to work as part of a team. Chess is an indoor game.

What are the 5 outdoor games? ›

There are a variety of outdoor games that are played in India like Kho-Kho, kabaddi, cricket, volleyball, basketball and football.

What game do children play outdoors? ›

Teach your child some fun traditional games like: Tag. Hide-and-Seek. Capture the Flag.

What is a fun outdoor game? ›

Other Outdoor Games

Pool games – tons of fun games to play in a swimming pool, perfect for a pool party! Frisbee Tic-Tac-Toe – this fun idea only takes a few materials you probably have on hand including frisbees! DIY Cornhole Game – if you don't already have a corn hole game, here's how to make your own!

What are outdoor games Class 4? ›

Football, Cricket, Basketball, Volleyball, Hockey and Kho-Kho etc are some common outdoor games.

What is the most popular outdoor game in 2022? ›

Best Outdoor Games for Kids
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What is the best outdoor activity for 8/10 Years Old? ›

Playgrounds and backyard swing sets make excellent outdoor activities for kids. While they can simply run around, up, and over the structure, swing on the swings, and slide down the slide, they can also come up with their own open-ended, innovative activities.

What are the 4 examples of outdoor recreational activities? ›

Examples are hiking, fishing, skiing, snowmobiling and wildlife viewing. Outdoor recreation can overlap with competitive outdoor activities such as orienteering or ski races.

What are 3 outdoor activities? ›

Q: What kinds of outdoor recreation can I do on public lands?
  • Hiking and camping.
  • Hunting and fishing.
  • Canoeing, kayaking and rafting.
  • Sailing and motorboating.
  • Biking.
  • Rock Climbing.
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  • Skiing.

What are some of the most popular outdoor activities? ›

Running was the the most popular outdoor activity amongst people in the United States in 2021, accounting for over 64 million participants. The second most popular outdoor sport in the North American country was hiking with approximately 58 million participants during the same year.

What is the fastest growing outdoor activities? ›

Running, jogging and trail running remained the most popular outdoor activity, but BMX biking saw the largest growth in participants from 2015 to 2016. Over the past three years, stand up paddling was the top outdoor activity for growth, increasing participation an average of 18 percent.

What outdoor games do 12 year olds play? ›

Fun Outdoor Games for Middle School Kids
  • Jump the rope. Get a skipping rope and choose a play place with a firm surface. ...
  • Mud hurdle run in the backyard. Source. ...
  • Take the Flag. Source. ...
  • Scavenger hunt in nature. Source. ...
  • Kick the Can. Source. ...
  • Splat bucket. Source. ...
  • Red Rover. Source. ...
  • Bowling in the backyard. Source.

How do I entertain my kids outside? ›

Next time the weather looks inviting, try these creative ways to play outside:
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What is outdoor creative play? ›

The Outdoor Creative Play and Learning standards-based program offers unique opportunities to extend classroom learning outdoors! Developed in partnership with PlayCore and Robert-Leslie Publishing the playground activities are designed to stimulate creativity, imagination, and learning during outdoor play.

What are examples of outdoor activities? ›

Other traditional examples of outdoor recreational activities include hiking, camping, mountaineering, cycling, dog walking, canoeing, caving, kayaking, rafting, rock climbing, running, sailing, skiing, sky diving and surfing.

Why outdoor games are good 10 lines? ›

It can help in their physical development.

Outdoor play keeps kids active and can boost their physical stamina and fitness. Playing outdoor games can also strengthen their muscles and bones, build immunity, and lower the risk of many diseases like diabetes, heart problems, and obesity.

What are school outdoor activities? ›

5 Outdoor Activities for Kids that they can enjoy with friends and family
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What is outdoor school activity? ›

Outdoor education programs sometimes involve residential or journey wilderness-based experiences in which students participate in a variety of adventurous challenges and outdoor activities such as hiking, climbing, canoeing, ropes courses and group games.

What is the funnest game in 2022? ›

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What can 10 year old kids do when they're bored? ›

Check out these kid activities perfect for a day indoors.
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  • 10 outdoor activities for older kids.
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What are the 7 principles of outdoor recreational activities? ›

The Leave No Trace Seven Principles
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  • Leave what you find.
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  • Be considerate of other visitors.
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What are the 5 kinds of recreational activities? ›

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What are the 11 essential tips for outdoor activities? ›

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Which hobbies are outdoor? ›

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What are the 5 benefits of outdoor activities? ›

Here are some of the health benefits:
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  • Your self-esteem will improve. Outdoor exercise stimulates all five senses in a way that indoor activities cannot. ...
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  • You will exercise longer and burn more calories.
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What motivates people to do outdoor activities? ›

Physical health
  • Motivations for Starting: Desire or need to improve physical health and fitness.
  • Motivations for Sustaining: Experiencing the physical health and fitness benefits.
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Why are outdoor activities so important? ›

The freedom and space of being outdoors can encourage more expansive movement leading to good physical exercise and helping prevent obesity. When they play outdoors, children have fun and benefit from: running and chasing which can develop good physical fitness, agility and stamina.

What is the most popular activity in America? ›

Listening to music topped the YouGov poll of the most popular leisure activities with 85% of people enjoying it and just 3% who didn't. That high number was consistent among all age groups from millennials through to boomers.

What grows very fast? ›

For total growth, try giant kelp. That can grow about 60cm per day, although the average (in spring) is more like 27cm. Huge organisms like kilometre-scale underground honey fungus networks will probably beat this, although measuring it is difficult.

What is the number 1 growing sport? ›

America's fastest-growing sport is a cross of tennis, pingpong and badminton. Freida Yueh (right) says of the increasingly popular sport of pickleball: "It's addictive so we just started playing and now with our other friends and relatives—actually everybody we know now plays pickleball."

What are 5 indoor activities? ›

Fun Indoor Activities for Older Adults
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How can I keep my 12 year old busy in the summer? ›

Tween summer activities ideas
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  3. Design something (instead of just doodling) ...
  4. Create an online brand (not just operate a lemonade stand) ...
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  6. Create a new recipe (not just bake cookies)
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What is the best outdoor activity for kids? ›

50 Seriously Fun Outdoor Activities for Kids
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  • Nature Scavenger Hunt. ...
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  • Sensory Sand Box Play. ...
  • Backyard Bounce House. ...
  • Stomp Rockets. ...
  • Visit A Botanical Garden.
12 May 2022

How can I make outdoors more fun? ›

25 Ways to Have Fun Outdoors
  1. Climb a tree.
  2. Throw a frisbee.
  3. Spend time together on an evening family walk or ride.
  4. Fill a tub or a paddle pool for some water play.
  5. Paint a fence or a window.
  6. Head to a National Park for a bushwalk. What is this? ...
  7. Grab a magnifying glass and hunt for bugs!
  8. Swing your hips in a hula hoop.
17 Apr 2011

How do you make outdoor activity fun? ›

100 Things to Do Outside This Summer at Home
  1. Plant a garden. Here are a few tips for gardening with kids.
  2. Have a picnic. ...
  3. Fly a kite.
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  6. Go on a scavenger hunt around your neighborhood.
  7. Give the car a good wash.
  8. Make DIY chalk paint, then decorate the driveway.
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What is outdoor free play? ›

Outdoor free play is the spontaneous play that comes naturally from children's natural curiosity, love of discovery, and enthusiasm.4 Children learn best when all of their senses are involved and they are engaged in self-initiated, hands-on exploration of the world around them.

How much outdoor time do kids need? ›

Children of all ages should spend at least 90 minutes a day outdoors. While this can seem hard to achieve in our busy lives, it may be mostly achieved at school for primary-school aged children. Talk to your child's teacher about their break time activities if you're unsure.

What are six benefits of outdoor playtime? ›

Here are just six of the many benefits of outdoor play!
  • Health and Physical Development. Having more space to play typically leads to children being more active. ...
  • Social Skills Development. ...
  • Independence and Exploration. ...
  • Cultural Learning. ...
  • Mood and Appreciation for Nature. ...
  • Improving sensory skills and learning.

What is the outside game? ›

Outside - Is a first-person survival horror, Your main task is to survive at any cost or die at the hands of the maniac who lives in the region. In the first early version of this game, there will only single player. You will play as a young girl who has got mysteriously lost in the depth of the woods.

What are outdoor games Class 3? ›

Ans. Outdoor sames are basketball, football, and badminton.

What is called outdoor game? ›

Some of the outdoor games are cricket, tennis, football, volleyball, basketball, and so on. Also, you can find outdoor activities like cycling, fishing, camping, trekking, etc. Knowledge of Outdoor game activities vocabulary will be very beneficial for the people who love traveling to different places.

What's the meaning of outdoor games? ›

Definitions of outdoor game. an athletic game that is played outdoors.

How do I entertain my child without toys? ›

Play a Quick Game
  1. Play a game of "Rock, Paper, Scissors."
  2. Arm or thumb wrestle for a few minutes to keep those little hands busy. ...
  3. Play patty-cake or teach your child some clapping games. ...
  4. Play a fun game like "20 questions" or "I went to ...". ...
  5. Speak pig Latin or make up your own secret code.
30 Jul 2021

Why do people call 911? ›

A 911 call might be about a noisy neighbor, a trespassing concern, or from someone experiencing a mental health crisis. As the nation's helpline, 911 is typically the only resource that's readily available to people seeking any kind of timely assistance.

Why are outdoor games good? ›

Playing outside allows kids to develop more advanced motor skills than children who spend most of their time indoors, including agility, balance and coordination. Kids who spend time playing outdoors are more likely to move in ways that challenge their muscles, bones and physical endurance.

What sports are outdoor? ›

An even greater diversity of sports are played outdoors, including field hockey, racing/running, baseball, football, archery, horseback riding, kayaking, rock climbing, and a countless number of other activities.

What are indoor outdoor games? ›

Indoor Games are played within a closed environment and a number of them are played by sitting at one place. They include chess, card games, games played with gamesmen and dice, carom, etc. whereas, outdoor games are played on the ground or at least in open environment. Games such as kabaddi, kho-kho are outdoor games.

What is outdoor example? ›

Outdoor recreation refers to leisure activities that take place in a natural setting and benefit the body, mind and/or spirit. Examples are hiking, fishing, skiing, snowmobiling and wildlife viewing. Outdoor recreation can overlap with competitive outdoor activities such as orienteering or ski races.


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