Playing yard games is a terrific way to spend time with your grandkids. And there are such a variety of games to choose from that you will never get bored. Get the kids outside and have a blast playing classic yard games that YOU played as a kid! These yard games will bring back memories for you and help you make fun memories with your grandkids.
- At least six people are required for this game. Divide into two teams. Teams line up opposite each other 20-30 feet apart. Each team member holds hands.
- The first team picks a player from the other team to “call over”. They then chant “Red Rover, Red Rover, let Susie come over.”
- Susie, (the called player) then runs over and tries to break the chain by running through the linked hands. If the chain is broken, Susie can take either player who allowed the break back to his team. If the chain is not broken, this player joins the team that called Red Rover.
- Teams take turns calling out Red Rover and challenging a player on the opposing team.
- The game ends when all players are on the same team.
Red Light/Green Light
- In this old-fashioned yard game, one child is the designated stoplight. This player stands at a distance and faces the other children who are in a side-by-side line.
- When the stoplight says, “Green light!” everyone moves toward the stoplight. All children must immediately stop when the stoplight says, “Red light!” (or the child must return to the starting point).
- Start a new round when one child reaches the stoplight.
Mother May I?
- Mother May I is a perfect type of game to play with kids outside. One child is the “mother”. Mother gives the commands.
- The rest of the children are given commands by mother and must say “Mother May I?” before proceeding. If they fail to ask permission, they must go back to the start.
- The first player to reach Mother wins.
Tag (there are two different kinds below):
- Regular Tag—Decide who will be IT. This person will chase the other players, trying to tag them. When someone is tagged, the tagged person becomes IT.
It is best to set boundaries for the playing area. For example, you can’t go past the driveway, or you must stay in the grassy area. Smaller spaces will make it harder to stay away from IT.
There can also be a safe zone, like a tree, a stepping stone, or some sort of base. When a player is touching the safe zone, he cannot be caught or become IT. However, a player should only be allowed to remain in the safe zone for a small amount of time. Decide on any rules before starting play.
- Freeze Tag—Decide who will be IT. The person who is IT is able to “freeze” other players. When the game begins, everyone runs away from IT. IT chases after the other players, trying to tag (touch) them.
If a person is successfully tagged, he or she must “freeze” in place (stand still and not move). Frozen people cannot move until another player un-freezes them (touches them to return them to normal). An unfrozen player can resume playing.
Hide and Seek
- Hide and Seek is a great classic old-fashioned yard game to play with kids outside.
- Play with two or more players. Set the rules for hiding before play. Let players know what areas are “off-limits” – don’t go down by the pond, or don’t near the street, don’t go past the fence, etc. The player who is IT hides his eyes and counts to 50.
- NO PEEKING!
- The other players find a place to hide. When counting is complete, IT says “Ready or not, here I come!” This lets the players know the “seeking” portion has begun. At this point, they must try to find all of the other players who have hidden.
- IT tags the found players. The person who is “It” should give the universal “all clear” signal if some of the hidden players do not return home before a predetermined period of time.
- The first person found will be IT in the next game.
- One person in the group will be Simon. Simon stands in front of the players and tells them what they must do.
- The players must only obey commands that begin with the words ”Simon says”. For example, if Simon says, “Simon says cross your legs,”, players must cross their legs. Then if Simon says “wiggle your toes”, WITHOUT first saying “Simon says,” players must not remain still and NOT wiggle their toes.
- Whoever follows a command when Simon didn’t first say “Simon says” they are out of the game. Last player standing wins and gets to be Simon the next round.
- This game can get silly. Be creative with the requests from Simon and have fun!
If you are looking for lawn games that are more of a sport or team play, try some of these. Most will require accessories to play:
With mallets, balls, and wire loops, we were entertained for an entire afternoon!
Horseshoes, a great outdoor game for summer picnics and parties. It requires some strength so it should probably be saved for the older kids unless you get a plastic sent that you
When I was a kid these were actual large “darts” that you would throw toward a hoop. It is played similar to horseshoes The game was called “Jarts”. This game has been outlawed due to the danger but safer version came out that are just as fun (well, almost!)
While these games are some of our favorites to play with the grandkids, the list of games is practically endless! All you need is a good imagination and memories of your childhood and you will come up with your own ideas!