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Fun Outdoor Family Games of Yesteryear

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Fun Outdoor Family Games of Yesteryear

Try these fun outdoor games with the family to go on a trip down memory lane and to make new memories with the whole family!

Growing up my friends and I would be playing games on the street until our parents called us in for dinner. When we moved to a street with fewer kids my age, my dad used to play half ball with me and relive some of his childhood games. If your grandparents live close by, they can join in on the fun and share their childhood games and stories. It guarantees a good laugh followed by a safety lesson on what kids can do today. These are some of my family favorites!

Kick the Can. 

An oldie but a goodie. Requires at least four people to play with one person being “It,” an empty can in an open area, and a bench or tree designated as the jail. The person who is “it” counts to a certain number while the rest of the players go and hide. When “it” is done counting, they try to find the hidden players while keeping an eye on the can. If the person who is “it” finds and tags another player, the tagged player must go to jail. Other players can try to sneak out and smash the can, which frees the people in jail.

Around the World.

This can be played with a ball with a large group or just two people. You toss the ball with a bounce and the person who catches it has to respond quickly with a name, where they are from and what they do/grow in the order of the alphabet. The first person may say, “Hi my name is Anna, and I come from Alabama where I grow Apples,” then the second person says, “B my name is Bobby, and I come from Belgium where I make berry jam.”  If you don’t respond quickly, you forget to bounce the ball or miss it you’re out of the game.

Hide the Button.

You can do this with anything, and the rules are simple. Have one person hide a small object in the yard while others are closing their eyes. Then have the other players run and try to find the object first!

Cat and Mouse. 

Players form an outer circle with everyone holding hands. In the center is one player, the mouse, who is being protected from the cat. The cat tries to enter the middle to capture the mouse –sometimes the kids help the cat or the mouse. It becomes a game of chase between the cat and the mouse.  Kids participating in the circle lift their arm up to let the mouse/cat in or out. Eventually, the mouse gets caught, and players switch roles.


Use a volleyball or other net and have two players or teams on opposite sides. With a badminton or tennis racket hit the “birdie” over the net and continue playing similar to tennis.

Baby in the Dark.

End the night on a fun note that also lets the kids wind down. This is my absolute favorite game that evokes deep belly laughter! At a table in a room without the lights on have everyone sit down with a piece of paper and pen. The leader says, let’s draw a baby in the dark and instructs first draw a mouth, now the body, the legs, the hair, the diaper. After everyone is done, you turn on the light and see who has the silliest drawing.

See these Fun Activities that are Cool and Out of School for more family fun! Share your favorite games in the comments! We’d love to hear them!

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About the Author

Melissa Halas, MA, RD, CDE

Melissa Halas, MA, RD, CDE

Melissa is a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator with a master's in nutrition education. She is the founder of SuperKids Nutrition Inc. Read more about her Super Crew children’s books and her experience as a registered dietitian on the About Melissa and Shop page. Discover how nutrition can help you live your best health potential through her plant-based books and newsletter on Melissa’s Healthy Living.

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