With summer fast approaching I thought I’d publish a post with outdoor games that are great for this time of the year.

I’ll wake up the fun hunter within me and you using famous games that you’re likely well aware. However, to make matters interesting, I’ll mention little spins and twists we have adopted for these in our family. I’ll then describe other fun outdoor activities I heard about from friends or found on the Internet. Some of these we’ve already tried ourselves, and some are patiently waiting for their chance on our to-try list.

In this article, I cover frisbees, car and bike racing and water gun games.

I hope this list comes in handy. You won’t need to come up with the games when you go to play. Instead, you can spend more time outdoors actually playing with your children.

Frisbees

I bet you’ve played frisbee countless times either when you were young yourself or with your kids. Without a doubt, it’s fun to merely toss it around between the two or three of you. However, there are also some exciting spins you can take on this all-time classic.

You can first compete who throws a frisbee the farthest.

  1. Mark several distances on the ground with fun toys you won’t mind getting hit.
  2. This best played with many kids taking turns. Have them throwing frisbees to see who’s able to throw theirs the farthest. It’s ideal if the kids are approximately in the same age group, so all of them have a fair chance to win.

You can also use frisbees to develop your kid's aim and coordination.

  1. Take a cardboard box and cut out in it an opening that’s large enough for frisbee to fit in and then some. Or use a large lunch box with an open lid, as we did. Put something between the box and the lid to keep it slightly open.
  2. Take a couple of frisbees and try your aim.

Feel free to use color paper, stickers or toys to decorate the box.

It brings me to another little twist we thought of:

  1. Line up a bunch of toys (toy soldiers are best) on a porch railing, a bench or a log.
  2. Your aim is to knock down as much of those soldiers in one go as possible. If it gets too easy, increase the distance and the number of soldiers.

You’ll be surprised how precise your and your kids’ frisbee aim becomes after just a couple of days. One time we used a frisbee to knock down a fallen branch that got stuck on the edge of the roof. Much faster and more fun than reaching for it on a ladder.

Last, but not least, to become the Ultimate Frisbee-Throwing Masters, try “mid-air intercepts,” as we call them. Have one child throw a frisbee and another one throw theirs to try and hit the first frisbee mid-air. Better still, have multiple kids throw “intercept” frisbees to see who’s the first to hit the target.

You’ll likely find this challenging to get started. But keep trying, and soon enough you’ll notice how well you’re able to predict the trajectory of the flying frisbee and throw yours to knock it down.

There’s a variation of this game in the water gun games section as well if you want to combine frisbees with water guns – a killer summer combo.

Just be aware of the windows and lights, if you play frisbees on the porch or near the house.

Car or bike racing

If you have a Power Wheels ride-on car or motorcycle, you can sprinkle up your regular rides using following tips.

  1. Take a bunch of toys or garden tools. Make sure to use the ones without hard edges and parts that stick out. Build a race track with those.
  2. If you have balloons, color flags or paper create checkpoints and other fun highlights on the track. To make the game even more engaging have your little ones step out of the car to perform special tasks at each such checkpoint. They might jump the rope five times, blow soap bubbles, do math problems, etc. before getting back in to continue.
  3. Make your kids race the track to first drive around all the obstacles without knocking any down. Then time them. Have them race to improve their time and compete with each other, if many children are playing at once. Don’t forget to cheer your little drivers as they race towards the finish line.

If possible, try to include different terrain in your track. Have part of it go up- and downhill. Another section can be a bumpy one, e.g., with tree roots sticking out to create an uneven surface. You get the picture. It makes for a more thrilling ride. Just remember to adjust track difficulty based on the age of your little drivers.

It is an exciting activity when many kids are around. The best part of it for you as a parent is that such tracks are easy to change if you have enough cones /toys/tools to use as obstacles. You can mix and switch turns, terrain surface and checkpoint tasks to keep this little game entertaining for a long time.

For safety reasons, I advise against racing several cars at the same time, though, even if you have more than one ride-on toy. No matter how large race track you have, this won’t stop the kids from bumping into each other.

Don’t let the lack of ride-on toys stop you. You can always use bikes or scooters instead. Do watch the surface you’re playing on in such a case though. Unlike Power Wheels which have no-tip protection, slippery grass or rocks can put a bike or scooter race to a screeching and screaming halt as you hustle home for a band-aid.

Water gun fights

It’s not a sissy game, but it’s darn fun game to play nonetheless! When the weather is hot, the pool or a beach is out of reach, or you want a different take on water games. It is the time to pull out your blasters, soakers and other water weaponry and get ready for serious splashing action!

As in other games mentioned here, it’s fun to play water gun battles just with your kids. But it gets so much more exciting when there are many kids around.

Here are several of the exciting water gun games we play.

  • Put up some shapes (pyramids, towers, etc. – your imagination is the only limit) for kids to shoot at. Plastic cups or toys are ideal for that. They’re light enough to be shot down but hold together unless it gets very windy outside. The goal of the game is to shoot down the whole thing with one shot. The bigger the shape, the merrier the win.
  • An interesting alternative for elder kids would be to shoot at large bowls or vases at an angle. E.g., line up some vases at ground level and have your kids kneel, so they cannot aim at the opening straightaway. They’ll need to shoot in bursts and at a slight angle so that their shots first go up and then down in a U-shape fashion.

It’s not an easy feat to achieve. Also, you’ll need water guns that allow alternating the strength of the shot. But once your kids get good at this, it’ll be something they’ll be proud to boast about to their friends.

Combine with a frisbee for a game of trap (skeet) shooting. Throw a frisbee and have your kids try to shoot it mid-air with their water guns. It’s also great if kids are lined up from various sides and can simultaneously try to shoot the frisbee down. Don’t go overboard with throwing the frisbee too high or too fast. At least at first.

Divide the kids into teams and have a blast! It’s even better if you have an outdoor playground or some items you won’t mind kids hiding behind and getting soaked. It makes for a more tactical shootout.

Make sure you watch your kids play water gun battles though. The game can get out of hand very quickly. We once organized such water gun battle during a birthday party at friends’ house, and it completely stole the show. We eventually had to break up the fun when kids lost control and started storming the house trying to sprinkle each other in the middle of the living room.

Don’t let my warning detract you from involving everyone, even younger kids, into water gun games. Just make sure you stand guard and adapt the intensity of the battle accordingly.

Conclusion

Summer is an ideal season not just to go hunting but spend time with family and friends. The good thing about above games is that they’re free (or at least cheap) and very easy to set up. They also offer a lot of spins and twists on the central theme to keep you and your kids entertained for time and again.

With a lot of holidays (Memorial Day and Independence day celebrations to name a few) and longer days, you can invite your kids’ friends over and have lots of fun playing outdoors.

I also hope these games will inspire you to come up with your variations of the central theme. If you do, leave a comment below and share your ideas and ways you play games mentioned above with your kids.

Author's Bio: 

Livia James has covered sports and features for several newspapers in the Southeast. He has also held editor roles at major online media organizations and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.