5 Family Favorite Outdoor Games

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We love every chance we get to turn off the television or the video games and get outside. Kids love to play, and the backdoor is just a skip, hop, and a jump away. These five outdoor games that I played as a kid are fun and have lasted the test of time. I can remember being outside all of the time, even if it was just lying in the backyard grass looking up at the clouds, finding pictures, and dreaming. Enjoy taking a look back at our family’s five favorite games to play outside.

1. Red Light, Green Light: Pick someone to be the Red Light. She should be standing across the yard from the other kids with her back turned so that she cannot see them. The other kids stand shoulder to shoulder. Red Light closes her eyes and yells, “Green Light!” Everyone runs as fast as they can to try and get to her and tap her on the shoulder. They must be careful because at any moment, Red Light will turn around as fast as she can and yell, “Red Light!” As soon as the other players see her do this, they must freeze. If Red Light sees anyone moving when she turns around, she must send them back the starting line. The first person to reach Red Light, when her back is turned, wins!

2. Ghosts in the Graveyard: This is fun to play at night. For a recent family reunion, a friend of mine purchased little flashlights to tape to the player’s fingers. One person is chosen to be the ghost. Everyone else hides in the yard. The ghost counts one o’clock, two o’clock, and so on until he reaches “midnight!” Then, the ghost will search for the other players and tag them before they reach home base. Once a player is tagged, they become a ghost and will start looking for the others that are hiding in the yard.

3. No Bears Are Out Tonight: Pick someone to be the bear. This game was the most fun when dad was the bear. The bear hides while the other players run around singing, “No bears are out tonight, daddy killed them all last night.” When the players get close to the bear’s hiding spot, he runs out, growls, and tries to tag one of the players before they can get to home base. The last person tagged wins.

4. Annie-Annie Over: Divide up into two teams and stand in the front and the back of your house. A player calls out, “Annie-Annie Over!” and throws a ball over the house to the players on the other side. If a player catches the ball, they can quietly run around the house and throw the ball at you or catch you and tag you. If nobody catches the ball, they can wait a little bit to make you think they got it, then call out, “Annie-Annie Over!” and throw it over the house again. Your team has won when you have tagged the last player on the other side.

5. Mother, May I?: Our family loves to play this game. Whether we are 2 or 42, it is the most requested. Choose one person to be it. Everyone else will stand in a line facing her. She calls out to each player, one at a time, calling them by name and giving them a direction. For example, she might say, “Michael, take three giant steps forward.” Michael will then have to ask, “Mother, May I?” If she says yes, Michael can do what she said. If Michael forgets to ask, he has to go all the way back to the starting line. The first player to reach “it” takes her place and you start over. Other fun directions include asking players to take baby steps forward, do jigs, cartwheels, somersaults, ballerina twirls, etc.

These fun outdoor games can be played all year long. We have played in the rain, the snow, the sunshine, and in the light of the moon. Go outside and enjoy making memories that will last.


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