Summer is finally here, but your kids are on the couch staring at their devices or claiming that they are bored. Get them up and outside with these fun backyard games. Some are classic and some are more modern, but all of them will get your kids moving, playing and having fun.

Blob Tag

Another variation of tag, Blob Tag gets its name from the blob that grows over the course of the game. “It” chases the other players and tries to tag them. If tagged, a player joins “It” by linking hands or elbows, forming a blob of two. This new blob continues to chase the other players, adding to its blob as others are tagged.


Water Balloon Catch

Players stand across from each other tossing a balloon. After each successful catch, players take one step back. As the distance between players increases, so does the likelihood of popping the water balloon. If the thought of filling water balloons makes you tired, then try tossing bean bags or eggs instead.


Sharks and Minnows

One child is the shark and stands in the middle of the yard. The other kids are the minnows and line up at one end of the yard. The object is for the minnows to get from one end of the yard to the other without being caught, aka tagged, by the shark. If tagged, then the minnow also becomes a shark. The game is repeated as the number of sharks grows. The last minnow is the winner.



Players draw and number a hopscotch grid, usually 10 squares. Start by tossing a rock or beanbag onto Square 1. Hop over the square on one foot, going up, then down the grid. Players stop on Square 2 to pick up their marker from Square 1. Repeat, tossing the marker to Square 2 and so on. For added difficulty, players lose a turn when they fall, touch a line with their feet, or miss tossing their marker onto the next square.


Red Light, Green Light

A player is the traffic light, standing at one end of the yard. The other players line up on the opposite end of the yard. The traffic light turns away from the other players and says, “Green light!” Players try to run as quickly as they can towards the traffic light. At any time, the traffic light can turn around and say, “Red light!” That’s when all players must freeze. If they are spotted moving, the traffic light sends them back to the start. The first player to reach the traffic light wins and gets to be the next traffic light.


Mother May I

One player, “Mother,” stands at one end of the yard. All other players line up at the other end of the yard. Players take turns asking “Mother” if they may take 1, 2, 3 or more steps forward. “Mother” answers “Yes, you may.” or “No, you may not.” The first player to reach “Mother” wins and gets to be the next “Mother.” This game invites creativity because players can ask to take baby steps, giant steps or even spins.


Blind Man’s Bluff

One player is designated “It” and is blindfolded. To start the game, “It” spins around 5 times as the other players disperse around the yard. Now “It” tries to find the others, who must stay rooted in the spot they landed in when “It” stopped spinning. Players can dodge and duck from the seeking “It,” but they can’t move their feet. “It” moves around the yard until all the players are found while whoever gets caught first wears the blindfold for the next round.


Get the kids up and outside playing these backyard games. Maybe you’ll join in the fun, too. And if the crowd tires of these games, don’t forget the likes of sidewalk chalk, bubbles, jump ropes, hula hoops and nature walks to beat summer boredom.


Katy M. Clark is a writer and mom of two who celebrates her imperfections on her blog  Experienced Bad Mom.

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