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Best 40+Awesome Outdoor Birthday Party Games Kids

Planning a backyard Birthday party for your kids this summer? Here are some of the best outdoor party games for kids of all ages. You’ll find some of your favourite classic backyard party activities here along with some really fun and creative new ideas!

My kids’ birthdays are in summer and early fall, so when they were young, we always held their parties outside in the backyard.  I loved planning the simple outdoor games and activities for those parties. They were never fancy, but they were a ton of fun and they made for some of the most memorable times for my kids and their friends. 

Many of my readers have asked about outdoor party ideas for their kids, and I thought it would be fun to ask our Happy Hooligans Facebook Community for their favourite for outdoor party games.

Best Outdoor Party Games for Kids of All Ages - Happy Hooligans 

kids game

Their suggestions were amazing! There was a great mix of timeless classic activities and a lot of creative new ones. I’m excited to share some of my followers’ favourites as well as some of my own personal favourites with you today.

If you’re planning an outdoor party for your kids this summer, or even a backyard BBQ with family, friends and neighbours, here are your must-try outdoor party game ideas.

Paper Valentines Fortune Cookies (short)
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1. Find the Gummy Bears 

For this hilariously fun and entirely messy game, you’ll need canned whipped cream (or Cool Whip), gummy bears, and a plastic plate for each participant. Give everyone a plate piled high with whipped cream with 3 gummy bears hidden inside. The first person to find all of their gummy bears wins. Oh, and did I mention that no hands are allowed?  

2. Homemade Bubbles

Bubbles are always a hit, especially when they’re gigantic bubbles!  This homemade recipe makes the biggest bubbles ever with just 5 kitchen ingredients.

 3. Treasure Hunt

Create an outdoor treasure hunt by leaving clues around the yard. Party guests can break into teams and work together to find the clues. The first group that finds the treasure wins. Here are 30 clues to get you started!

4. Donut Eating Contest

Not your traditional donut-eating contest – this kid-friendly version involves hanging donuts from a string attached to the clothesline. Participants must try to eat the swinging donuts without using their hands. Our social media friends report that this game was a huge hit with the adults in attendance too!

5. Nerf War

Break out the Nerf guns (you can get them here) for a wild and fun outdoor game! Divide kids into teams, and create a “safe zone” for each side where they can reload and restock their darts. If you don’t want kids shooting at each other, check out these creative Nerf games they can play instead. 

6. Jumbo Ring Toss

Hammer a thick wooden dowel from the craft store into the lawn and have kids try to toss hula hoops around the poles. If you’re having a small party of just three or four children, get hula hoops in as many colors as you can. That way each child can have his or her own set of colored hoops to toss.

7. Limbo

Limbo never goes out of style! If you don’t have a broomstick handy, use a pool noodle as the bar. The person who can get under the lowest limbo stick wins!

8. Water Balloon Toss

For those mid-summer days when playing in the water sounds like a great idea, try a water balloon toss! Kids take turns tossing the balloon back and forth as they move further away from one another. The last team with an un-popped balloon wins. Blow up 100 self-sealing water balloons in 60 seconds with this.

If you’d rather not use balloons, go for a homemade sponge-bomb toss.

9. Musical Patio Chairs

Break out the plastic patio chairs and the music, because this classic party game is heading outdoors! For an added twist, play it blindfolded. It’ll be a whole lot more challenging and fun. 

1o. Miniature Golf

Set up a miniature golf course in your own backyard with golf tees and red plastic cups. Kids can use pool noodles to hit their golf balls into the cups. The player with the lowest score wins the game.

11. Swat the Fly

This one is a favourite among toddlers and preschoolers: Print off some pictures of flies. Glue them to paper plates, and attach long string to each plate. Give half the kids the plates, and the other half, pool noodles. The kids with the plates run around the yard, dragging their flies and the others chase them, trying to smack the flies with their noodles.

12. Scavenger Hunt

Similar to a treasure hunt, a scavenger hunt is fun too. For kids who are too young to read, draw the items that they’re to find. I used to often hide all of the loot bag goodies, and make those the items for the scavenger hunt. Each child would get an empty loot bag at the beginning of the hunt, and by the time they finished, their bag would be filled with treats.

13. Messy Art Table

Squirt shaving cream over an old coffee table. Add food colouring or kool-aid powder, and let kids make designs with their hands or with popsicle sticks.  See it here.

14. “Caterpillar” Hunt

Another great one for the toddlers at the party: Cut 1-2 inch lengths of different coloured wool. Place them across plants in the garden, and around the yard. Count how many you’ve hidden before starting and give prizes to whoever finds the most. Kids can work in teams or individually.

15. Obstacle Course

All ages love an outdoor obstacle course, and the possibilities are endless here. A few terrific suggestions are:

Pool Noodle Obstacle Course

Sidewalk Chalk Obstacle Course

Squirt Gun Painting

This activity is so much fun for all ages, and everyone gets a squirt gun and a canvas to make a piece of art to take home after the party.  Get the easy instructions here.

16. Relay Races

Remember having relay races when you were a kid? Sack races, 3 legged races and carrying an egg on a spoon from one end of the yard to the other are classics! For an added twist, throw in a hula-hooping leg of the race!

Or try a Rainbow Relay Race: Split kids into teams and give each child a paint brush dipped in a different colour of the rainbow. The kids take turns running to a piece of poster board, and swiping their colour in a rainbow arc. The fastest team to paint a rainbow in correct colour order wins!

17. Traditional Tag Game

It’s best played with lots of places to hide. The person who is the counter (or seeker) stands next to a designated tree and closes their eyes while counting to ______.  The rest of the players run and hide.  When the seeker is done counting, they call out “Ready or Not, Here I come!” and begin searching for everyone else.

The goal for those hiding is to get back and touch the tree before being tagged.  Those who are tagged before touching the tree are also “It” and join the seeker.  The last one to reach the tree or be tagged is the seeker for the next game. Check out our other page for more tag games.

kids game
18. Elbow Tag

Divide children into pairs leaving one child who is “It” and one child who will be the first to be chased.
Have each group of partners link elbows– and all of the pairs form a large circle, allowing 10 feet of space between each pair.

“It” runs after the other “not joined by the elbow” child inside the circle—–as in a traditional game of tag.
If the child being chased needs a break–he or she can run to a pair of children and link elbows with one of them.
The child in the pair who WAS NOT linked by the chased child —is now “It’s” new target and must break away quickly to avoid being tagged by “It.”

19. Dead Ants Tag Game

A cooperative game…
One or two people volunteer to be ant-eaters, the rest start out like ants. By tagging them, ant-eaters attempt to stun all of the ants on the anthill—while the ants struggle to avoid the ant-eaters —and rescue their friends.

Start by creating a boundary for play (i.e., the anthill).
Use landmarks such as trees or cones to create the ant-hill and have everyone step inside.
The ants must avoid the ant-eater and work together to save their ant friends who have been stunned.
When an ant is tagged by the ant-eater, the individual sits on the ground and calls for help.
Stunned ants cannot move from the spot, but may wave their arms and legs to alert other ants to their situation.
To make a rescue, four ants must surround a stunned ant—lock their arms in a circle—and escort the individual off the anthill to a location just outside of the play area.
When all four ants have locked into positions for a rescue, they cannot be targeted by the ant-eater.
Once an ant has been rescued, he or she returns with the rescuers to the game.
Play as many rounds as you wish, and switch ant-eaters frequently.

20. Four Square

For this game, you will need a gym floor with 4 squares or pavement and chalk.
1. Draw a 6- to 10-foot square on a paved surface.
2. Divide the larger square into four smaller squares, number the squares 1 to 4, and have each child stand in a block.
3. The player in square 4 serves the ball by bouncing it in his square and tapping the ball into another square.
4. The player in that space must tap the ball (after one bounce) into another kid’s area, and so on, until someone misses the ball, lets the ball bounce twice, or sends it out of the grid.
5. The player who misses the ball steps out and the remaining players rotate up through the numbered squares. If you are playing with more than four players, a new player enters the game at square 1.

The player who is out waiting in line to re-enter the game once square 1 is open again. Whoever is now in square 4 serves the ball to resume play.

21. Kick the Can

To play kick the can, place a coffee can in a large open area to be home base.
“It” counts to 50 while the other kids hide.
When “It” SEES a child, he/she calls their name.
They both race to the can, and try to kick it first.
If “It” kicks the can, the hider is caught and placed in “prison” in a pre-selected area.
If the hider kicks the can, he/she and all players in prison are free, and “It” must count again

22. Hula Hoop Freeze Tag

Scatter out several hula hoops around the play area.
Assign taggers to freeze the other players.
Students inside a hula hoop can not get frozen, but can only stay long enough to count to 10.
Only one child per hula hoop is allowed.

5 kids on a jungle gym looking down at the camera. Text reads outdoor games for kids at school.

23. Hopscotch


✓ Pavement
✓ Stones
✓ chalk


Draw the layout with the chalk – From bottom to top—
3 single squares, 1 double square, 2 single squares, 1 double square, 1 single square.
Number the squares.

The two basic rules of hopscotch are:
1) One foot in each square only
2) Hop over the square with the rock in it.
Use a rock to throw into the first square.
Hop on one foot over the square with the rock in it.
Land with two feet on the double squares.
On the second turn, throw the rock into the second square, and so forth.
The tricky part is staying on one foot when the rock is in one of the side-by-side squares.

If you have a sidewalk–you can also play by marking two sidewalk squares with an “X” going from corner to corner on each square.
The part of the “X” portion closest to you (at the very bottom) would be #1…
#2 would be above that to the right
#3 is to the left of 2—and #4 goes in the top portion of the “X”
Mark the square above the same–with #5, 6, 7, and 8…Proceed to play as above.

24. Pick-Pocket Tag

You will need some flags or a strip of cloth to be used as a tail.
Players have a tail inserted into his/her belt or pocket that is hanging at the back-side.
All players chase one another trying to collect tails while protecting his/her own.
Players with the most tails collected at a specified time are the winners. (Game is good in the gym or outside)

25. Prisoner of War

Divide the children into teams.
They each select one child from each team to be the prisoner of the other team and the two prisoners are placed in jail. This can be a designated area or a chalk box if playing outside.

The teams each line-up and the object of the game is to free the prisoner from the other team.
The teams must get to the prison by going to the other team’s side to free the prisoner.
If tagged, that child then becomes a prisoner too and must go to jail.
If a child makes it to jail, however, he or she is safe as long as he is inside the prison.
The rescuer can only rescue one person at a time and can choose the right time to “break for it.”

26. Sifting for Gold

Have children pretend to be gold miners.
Paint very small rocks, gold.
Hide them in the sand.
Give your children small sifters to sift through the sand looking for gold.

27. Snakes and Worms 

(You can call this game anything you want. An idea is to use brown and green yarn and call it snakes and worms…)

Cut two colors of yarn, each about 20 feet long. (If you have a large group playing at the same time–you may need 3 colors of yarn and cut the pieces longer)
Next cut the long length into many pieces.
Hide the pieces of yarn outside.
When the time to play, carefully explain rules and regulations to children.
Form two teams with one or two kids on each side as captains.
They will tie each yarn piece that is brought to them, to the next yarn piece.
The team with the longest finished yarn string wins!
Idea: This game would also be good for a party–and adapted to the inside.

Great for a worm themed day.

28. Mother May I? 

All the children line up side by side except the player who is the caller. The caller stands at a distance from the lined up players.
He calls on each player in turn to take a number of steps toward him. The steps allowed are: baby steps, giant steps, and scissor steps (like forward jumping jacks.)
The player answers “Mother, may I?”

The mother answers “Yes, you may.”
The player takes the given number of steps toward the caller.
If the player forgets to ask permission after they get directions— and takes steps toward the caller— they are sent back to the starting line. The first player to reach the caller is the winner and new caller.
Idea: Change the name to the season: Teacher May I? Santa, Snowman, Cupid, Leprechaun, Bunny, etc.


Tic-tac-toe can be scratched in the dirt and is more enticing than on paper–Hangman, too. (or use chalk for pavement)
Sketch a checkerboard on the sidewalk and fabricate markers out of stones and acorns.
Or just spread a blanket on the grass for Monopoly or Candyland played in a whole new venue…

7 kids running in the grass with a playground in the background. Text reads outdoor games for children. 

30. Keep Away

Also called ‘Pickle’ or ‘Monkey in the Middle‘…
Two or more players must pass a ball to one another, while a player in the middle attempts to intercept it.
The game could be considered a reverse form of dodgeball—instead of trying to hit people in the middle with the ball, players attempt to keep the ball away from them.

The basic game is played by drawing a circle on the ground about ten feet in diameter.
One person stands in the center (the monkey, the piggy or the pickle) and the rest stand outside the circle.
A player outside the circle must then throw the ball through the circle to another person outside the circle with the goal being to prevent the person who is “it” from getting to the ball.
This continues until the person who is it catches the ball or gains possession due to a failed catch, etc.
Whoever threw the ball last then becomes it, and replaces the person in the middle.

31. Balloon Badmitten 

An idea inspired by World Pre-School Mom is to use fly swatters (At Dollar Store about 2 for $1.00)…Children simply hit the balloon back and forth to each other!


Another great idea is to make paddles simply taping tongue depressor sticks to the back of paper plates. Use the paper plate ‘paddles’ to keep a blown-up balloon up in the air–This game can be played in a gym or outdoors— played individually or in a group! It’s also a great way to repurpose paper plates and balloons! Images by

32. Robots

Divide the group into groups of three or four; in each group, one person has designated the ‘Master’— the others are his ‘Robots’.

‘Robots’ keep moving only in a straight line (walking like robots, of course) until they encounter an obstacle (edge of the area, a tree, another robot, etc.) of any kind.
They then stop and start “beeping” an S.O.S. to their ‘master’ —who must come and start them moving again in another direction.
Perhaps a Master may want his robots to have a “unique” styled distress beep.
Periodically change the Masters in each group.

33. Baseless Baseball

This is a game played much like pinball.
Players aim at targets & award hits (singles, doubles, triples, and home runs) for striking each one.
You need a rubber or tennis ball & targets.

Players need to decide upon a throwing line & targets—-Rocks, boxes, toys, trees, piles of leaves, old sweatshirts, hula-hoops can be targets.
When decided–for safety reasons– mark off the playing field
Make the scoring system equal to the task.
Each target is worth a certain kind of hit. Easy targets are singles, harder ones are doubles and so on.
Players take turns throwing at the targets.
If the target is hit, the player’s team gets the corresponding award (points).
If the target is missed, the player’s team is given one out. When the thrower has 3 outs, the next thrower comes to “bat”.
Play as many innings as you like, keeping score.
The player with the most hits (points) gets to pick the next targets.
This can also be scored as a TEAM EFFORT.
Source: Tonya at
Take a look at some of our other fun throwing games.

kids game

34. Find Your Friend

This is a great cooperation game. For this kids outdoor game (it could also be played in a gym) make sure the land is flat and there are no trip hazards.


Blindfold all children, set them a distance apart from each other, spin them gently/slowly around, and then turn them loose. They must find their friends, link arms, and then find the rest of their friends. They will have a good time shuffling around and bumping into each other!
(Be sure an adult is present at all times)

We have more fun games using a blindfold.

35. Coin Hit


✓ Quarter
✓ Sidewalk with sections
✓ Playground Ball

Players: Two players


Each player stands behind a sidewalk section ‘facing each other’. They place a quarter standing upright in the sidewalk crack between them.
The first player will stand behind the line of the next sidewalk section and try to hit the standing quarter by bouncing the ball at it. If they hit the quarter they get one point and if it is knocked out of the crack they get two points.
The ball will bounce to the other player from across the crack. The second player will take a turn.
The first person to get 21 points is the winner.

36. What Do You Think

(Can be played outside or inside gym area)
This game is for 5 or more players and should be played outside or in an open area.

To play, select four objects to be bases and give each base a name:
“Don’t like it,” “Love it,” “It’s OK,” “Never tried it.”
Make signs for each base to make it easy to remember which is which!
Pick someone to be “IT.” “IT” stands in the middle and the players stand on any base they want. “IT” calls out the name of the food.
Players then have to run to the base that describes how they feel about that food. “IT” tries to tag a player before he or she reaches the base. The player who is tagged then becomes the new “It “

37. Red Light – Green Light

Select one child, or perhaps yourself, to start the game and be the “stoplight”.
All the children line up on the other side of the gym or field.
The designated stoplight yells “Green light!” and the children lined upstart running.
The first one to make it to the stoplight wins and is now the stoplight.
It gets tricky when the stoplight changes, though.
The stoplight should yell “Red light!” to get children to stop.

Any movement by a child means she is sent back to the beginning.
The stoplight can also call out “yellow light” which means the children can only walk very slowly. Variations to this game include yelling “red light” two times in a row or adding body movements.
Say “green light” with your arms up one time and then say “red light,” but throw your arms up again to confuse runners into thinking your body language says “green light.”

38. Running Bases


✓ 2 Bases
✓ At least 3 players and a rubber ball or tennis ball


There are several versions for playing this game. This one is the most basic.

Set up two bases on a play area about 20 to 50 feet apart.(The distance depends on the skill level of the players)
Two players are ‘fielders’. They each stand at a base and toss the ball to each other. All other players are ‘runners’. If there is more than one runner–they divide and go to the bases.
The object is for the runner(s) to move from base to base without being tagged as the fielders toss the ball back and forth. If a runner is touching a base, he or she is safe. If they make it to the next base without being tagged out they score a run. If they are tagged it’s an out.
A runner cannot hug a base. He/she must run at least every second time the ball is thrown. The fielder does not have to stay on the base to catch the ball. They may go after each runner.
The goal of the game is to touch the bases as many times as you can without being tagged out. The runner must keep track of how many times they touch the base before a fielder tags them out. When that runner gets out, they rotate positions so that the fielders can be the runner. After everyone has run, they compare scores. (bases touched).

39. Blind Man Bluff 

This game does not really have an object, but it is fun.
One person puts on a blindfold while the others spin him around a few times.
The blindfolded person is led around the yard in winding circles, etc. — until they get to their destination point.
The blindfolded person then gets to guess where he is and then has his blindfold removed to reveal his location.

40. Kill the Cockroach

Divide the players into two teams. Line them up, one in front of the other and set an odd object in front of the first players in line. They must kick the object across the yard (or gym) and across the finish line to win a point for their team. Kick things like a pillow, empty can, a sock, and so on.

41. Rainbow Tag

✓ Four or more players
✓ Five tongue depressors, each one marked with a color of the rainbow
✓ Water-based face paint crayons in the same rainbow colors
✓ A pink or rainbow-colored article of clothing
✓ Wet wipes

To prepare, hide each tongue depressor along with the matching color of face paint in a different place around the yard.
Next, choose someone to be Pinkie, the player who sneaks around trying to tag the other players and undo their progress. Give Pinkie something pink or rainbow-colored to wear.
To play, set everyone but Pinkie out in search of the sticks.
Each time a player finds one of the colored sticks he should:
Not give away the location to others.
Paint a stripe on his face.
Leave the stick and paint in place.
Bluffing is encouraged to keep the locations secret.
The catch: Pinkie will be lurking, trying to tag the players. Every time he/she does, she wipes off one of their stripes.
The first player to get one stripe in each color wins.

42. Trigon 

Trigon is a game that goes back to ancient Egypt. (Ball State University says this game was also played by the ancient Greeks and Romans.)

1. In the modern version of ‘trigon’, three players stand at the outer points of a triangle, each side being about 20 feet long.
2. A baseball or softball is thrown by a player using the left hand to the player on his right. That player catches the ball with his right hand and throws the ball to the third player with his left.
3. The third player repeats this, throwing to the first player, keeping the action going in a counter-clockwise direction.
4. If a catchable ball is dropped, the thrower gets one point.

Variation: Any player can reverse the direction of play by batting the ball with either hand to either of the other two players.
A player can also hold the ball, stopping play, and a friend throws to confuse opponents. A player may also place a second ball in play, which increases the difficulty of this game. The game is ended when a player reaches 21 points, at which time he/she is declared the winner.

43. Target Throwing

Paint a target on the sheet and tie or sew bells to it; hang the sheet in a safe place. Have children throw balls or safe beanbags at the target. Encourage children to make the bells ring. If there is a visually impaired child, have one child give verbal directions in throwing. Allow a child with poor motor control to get very close to the target.

All of these fun and simple party games kid (and parent!) pleasers that are sure to make your party memorable this summer.

Not sure where to go to find inexpensive party game supplies? Try the dollar store as they often have hula hoops, pool noodles, squirt guns, bubble blowers and lots of great trinkets for prizes in stock at the beginning of the summer season!
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