As a parent I’m always looking for ways to have fun with my kids. As a parent of 5 kids, though, it’s tricky to come up with ideas that are fun for the whole family where we can bond. Here’s 10 of my go to fun outdoor games for family bonding that you can totally try with yours!
These games would be great for you and your kids to play together, but also extended family too. Depending on the weather where you live you could play them after Thanksgiving dinner. They’d also be great additions to birthday parties too.
While one on one time with kids is valuable, I think time together with the whole family is equally as important.
I tried to choose a mix of games that need equipment and ones can be DIYd with things you get around the house. Have fun!
Capture the Flag
The game: This classic game involves strategy, speed, and teamwork. Divide your family into two teams, each with a flag. The goal is to capture the other team’s flag without being tagged.
Why I like it: This one involves cooperation between the teams and encourages family members to work together. This is especially great when it comes to siblings that don’t always get along.
Make it more fun: Do a kids vs parents game, change up the teams often, and consider adding a prize (maybe winning team chooses what’s for dinner?) to raise the stakes.
Water Balloon Toss
The game: A perfect game for hot summer days. Pair up, start close, and toss a water balloon back and forth, taking one step back after each successful catch. The last pair with their balloon intact wins!
Why I like it: This game builds hand-eye coordination, but it’s also a good chance for a parent or older sibling to help coach a younger child on throwing technique.
Make it more fun: If you have a wide mix of ages assign pairs into evenly skilled teams to level the playing field. Don’t forget to do a full on water balloon fight after!
The game: Create a list of items or clues leading to specific locations. This game encourages problem-solving and cooperation.
Why I like it: Scavenger hunts are one of my kids’ favourite activities so I always like to include them on lists like this. I love that you can tailor them to your child’s skill level and that it encourages siblings to work together to find everything.
Make it more fun: Do a themed scavenger hunt around a holiday or your child’s special interest. I like doing this pumpkin one in the fall.
The game: This lawn game involves players taking turns throwing bags of corn kernels at a raised platform with a hole in the far end. A bag in the hole scores 3 points, while one on the platform scores 1 point.
Why I like it: It’s a simple game that anyone of almost any age will be able to play. Young kids can easily be moved closer to make it easier and grandparents or those with most mobility issues will have no problem joining in on the fun too.
Make it more fun: Make your own cornhole came board and decorate it as a family! You could also do prizes for who gets the most points.
The game: Set up targets (like trees or picnic tables) around your yard or park and try to hit them with a frisbee in the fewest number of throws.
Why I like it: This game is gaining popularity so your kids might already be wanting to play it with you. Like the cornhole game it doesn’t involve a lot of physical movement which makes it easier for a wide range of family members to play together.
Make it more fun: A lot of communities are adding frisbee golf courses. I know my area has three different ones and we can even borrow equipment at our local library. Check out what’s in your area!
Tug of War
The game: All you need is a long rope and something to mark the middle. The first team to pull the other across the line wins.
Why I like it: This is a classic and kids can never seem to get enough of tug of war – especially with the family. I like that it’s a bit tough and tumble, perfect for energetic and competitive kids like mine.
Make it more fun: Arrange the teams evenly with a mix of ages to make sure it’s fair. Last time we did tug of war in our house we also did kids vs parents and that was a lot of fun.
The game: Each participant places both legs inside a sack or pillowcase that reaches their waist. The race begins after the signal, and the participants hop forward from the starting line towards the finish line. The first person to cross the finish line is the winner.
Why I like it: I don’t know what it is about this game but kids seem to find it so fun. We did it for my daughter’s birthday one year and man were they into it! I also find that kids have a bit of advantage vs adults here making it a great option if you have younger kids.
Make it more fun: Try adding prizes or having players decorate their racing sack before the game starts.
Egg and Spoon Race
The game: Balance an egg or ping pong ball on a spoon and race to the finish line. The fastest one to reach without dropping the egg wins.
Why I like it: This is about balance, hand eye coordination, and speed all working together. It’s also super easy to set up and explain which I love.
Make it more fun: Consider the ages and personalities of your players; real eggs up the stakes, but might upset some younger kids when they break. We player this as one of our outdoor games for family bonding last easter with plastic eggs and the winner got the prize inside theirs.
The game: Set up a fun and challenging obstacle course using items you have around your yard. This could include crawling under tables, jumping over ropes, or zigzagging between cones.
Why I like it: Although it’s a little bit more work to set up than some of these other games it can be a great way to bring families together. Kids will love it just because, but they’l really like seeing their parents trying to navigate it with them.
Make it more fun: If set up is too much work go to a local playground or, even better, one of those big obstacle course places and do that together instead.
Hide and Seek
The game: A classic game that never gets old. One person is ‘it’ and counts while the others hide. ‘It’ then tries to find everyone. The last one found becomes the new ‘it’.
Why I like it: This is another one that is pretty balanced age wise. As we get older and more logical we’re also bigger and it’s harder to hide! Kids love this one but getting the whole family involved is a great bonding experience.
Make it more fun: Try hide and seek variations – this list I found has some great ideas.
These outdoor games are perfect for family bonding with a variety of ages and can include kids, parents, grandparents, cousins, and the rest of your extended family – or none at all. Some you’ll need an even amount of players, but most can be played with a group of any size.
Hopefully this helped give you some ideas to keep in your back pocket the next time you want to get outdoors and have some fun as a family!