Some of these games have rules. Children may want to break them, make up new ones, or assign some rules only for some players to make the game feel more even. Children often use creative ways to make common games even more fun!
Tag games are fun for all ages, easy to play and need no extra equipment. All you need is a space large enough to run around in. Even very young children seem to love running around with their friends and family members.
Simple Tag: One person is ‘it’ and chases the others until that person tags (touches) someone else. The person who was tagged is now ‘it’.
Hotdog Tag: If you are tagged, stop and stay in that spot until two others come to free you by standing on each side of you - just like a bun holds the weiner in a hot dog.
Shadow Tag: Tag players by stepping on their shadow instead of touching them (great for little ones who don't like to be touched).
Frozen Tag: If you are tagged by the person who is ‘it’, you are ‘frozen’ in that spot. Usually, you stand with your arms extended until one of your team-mates runs under your extended arm to free you. The object of the game is for the person who is ‘it’ to freeze everyone in the group so that no one is left to free anyone else.
Games can be played with only two people or with many. Here are some examples of simple games to play outdoors:
Follow the Leader Everyone follows the leader in a line wherever the leader goes while doing whatever the leader does! The leader might run with arms outspread like airplane wings and make jet plane sounds. The leader might jog, skip, hop or walk backwards while clapping their hands. There is no limit to the movements. The person who is next in line becomes the leader and the leader changes often. The previous leader goes to the back of the line and the game continues.
Simon Says There is one leader who gives directions to the others and they follow them, but only if the leader says “Simon says” first (or they could use their own name). If they do not say "Simon says" before giving a direction and the others follow, they they are out and sit down. The last person standing wins and becomes "Simon."
Red Light, Green Light One person is it and they stand away from the other players facing away from them. When they call "green light!" the other players move towards them. If they call, "red light!" everyone stops and they are allowed to turn around to see the players. If they see someone moving, that person must return back to where they started. They continue calling "green right" "red light" until someone touches them. That person wins, and gets to be it.
Hide and seek One person is it and must find the other players. The last person found gets to be it. To mix it up, play indoors or outdoors. Little ones seem to love it especially if their adult family members are "it". Pretending to be a large snuffly dog or a growling, stomping bear making a lot of noise on the way to finding the others makes this even more fun! Create boundaries of where players can and cannot go. Play it in the dark or with eyes closed.
Kick Ball uses a large ball like a soccer ball. It is played like baseball except that you kick the ball rather than hitting it with a bat.
Parents, grandparents and older children can also teach their friends and family simple games such as Hopscotch, Four Square or other favourites. Children also love to make up their own games that will evolve over time!
The Summer of Play project and the contents on this page are part of an initiative that grew out of the Canadian Association for Young Children. Please visit CAYC Saskatchewan on Facebook for more information: http://www.facebook.com/CAYCsask
Regina and these playspaces are situated on Treaty 4 territory, the original lands of the Cree, Ojibwe, Saulteaux, Dakota, Nakota, Lakota, and on the homeland of the Métis Nation. Play is a significant part of culture and identity. Provided by the Government of Saskatchewan and offered by the University of Regina, there is a Cree language learning resource available under "Schools and play." Visitors are encouraged to visit the Anti-Racism and Play webpage.