Outdoor Family Game Ideas

Written by Casey Foster, BS, ACSM-CPT and Play Facilitator Certified through US Play Coalition

Summer time is a great time of the year to get out and enjoy the fresh air. Families have their favorite activities for the summer like swimming or playing at the park. What does your family do when loading up the car to get to the pool or the park is just too difficult?

Playing games at home with the family in the backyard or in the neighborhood can be a great way to have fun. Playing together as a family builds relationships and blossoms creativity in children. Playing at home teaches children that you do not have to go somewhere to have fun. A family game can be anything that is fun, and the rules can be made up as you go. However, many families struggle with playing games at home. Children might disagree about what to play or have hurt feelings when someone does not follow the rules. Work together as a team to find fun things to do at home by having each person write down three to four fun games to play. After everyone has come up with game ideas, throw each idea into a Family Game Bowl. When your family needs game ideas, pick from the Family Game Bowl. This allows everyone at some point to play the game they like. 

Families can also create their very own games together. This could be a mix of games together like dodge ball-tag or it could be a completely new game that only your family knows how to play. This helps with not fighting over the rules because everyone in the family helps come up with the rules and knows how to play the game. 

If you need some new outdoor game ideas, have fun with two of our favorite outdoor family games at Brenner FIT.

Pool Noodle Hockey

A fun twist on hockey.

For this game, you will need the following: 

  • 2 teams
  • A yard
  • Pool noodles
  • A small plastic or foam ball
  • 4 cones or plastic cups

To play:

  • Cut each pool noodle in half, so each player will have their own pool noodle hockey stick
  • Mark goals with the cones/cups on each side of the yard
  • The pool noodle becomes your hockey stick and the ball is the puck. 
  • Divide into teams. Each team will select a goalie. 
  • The goal of the game is similar to hockey or even soccer, try to hit the ball into the goal using only your pool noodle

Kids love this because using pool noodles takes the athleticism out of the game. Everyone is laughing as they try to hit the ball. For a greater challenge, put two or three balls into play.

Toilet Tag

A new take on a freeze tag game.

To play: 

  • Select one person to be "it." When a person is tagged, he must squat down with one knee on the ground and the other knee up forming the seat of a "toilet." Hold one arm to the side like the handle of a toilet. 
  • For the tagged person to get back in the game, someone must sit on his knee and flush the toilet with a loud "Woooosh!"
  • The person who is "it" wants to turn everyone into a toilet, and everyone else is trying to flush those that have been turned into toilets.
Provided by staff who are part of Brenner FIT (Families in Training). Brenner FIT® is a pediatric weight management program at Brenner Children's that helps families create healthier lifestyles together. Brenner FIT offers free cooking, nutrition and parenting classes.