Outdoor games allow young children to run around and expend their energy after sitting in school for hours at a time. You can play a variety of simple outdoor games with small or large groups of children. Mix things up on the playground with variations on classic outdoor games, such as hide and seek, catch, volleyball or dodge ball.
In Sardines, one player hides while the rest of the players seek. When a seeker finds the hidden player, she must join him in his hiding place. As more and more children discover the hiding place, it will become more crowded and, of course, easier to find. Eventually, a large crowd of giggling children will give it away. The last child to find the hiding place gets to hide next.
Bossy Ball requires players to follow the ball’s instructions when they throw the ball. Before you start the game, place 10 or more sticker labels on a playground ball and write different instructions on them. The instructions should tell players a way to throw the ball, such as “while jumping,” “over your head,” “with your eyes closed” or “while singing.” Players must catch the ball and then find the instruction nearest their dominant thumb to follow.
Divide children into teams of four players, and give each player a blanket. One player can hold each corner. Teams must then use their blankets to launch and catch the ball. Teams must move together to put their blanket in position to catch incoming balls. Use a volleyball, beach ball or playground ball. You can set up the game with two teams like a game of volleyball, or with more teams standing in a circle and simply launching the ball to each other.
Cats in the Corner
Mark off a square playing area with cones, and have one player stand in the middle with a ball. Have the rest of the children spread themselves out between the four corners. When the player in the middle yells, “Cats in the Corner!” the children at the corners must sprint to a different corner of the square while trying not to be hit by the ball. Any player hit with the ball has to sit out the remainder of the round. The last cat left standing gets to be the ball thrower in the next game.