School’s out for the summer!  No other words make kids so happy and parents so nervous as summer break. Wondering what you’re going to do to keep the kids entertained (and out of your of your hair) this summer? Don’t panic, we can help!

Sometimes you want to engage your kids in a summer learning activity to avoid brain drain and keep their minds sharp. But other times, you just want them out of the house having fun. Giving you a moment of peace in the process. To that end, we’ve rounded up some classic outdoor summer games and toys sure to keep kids happy and parents sane.

Classic Outdoor Summer Games

Many of the games you played when you were a kid are still just as fun today. They’re called classics for a reason!  Why not pass the torch on to the next generation?

You might not have thought about these games for years. That’s why we’re here, to remind you. And don’t worry… if you forgot the rules, we’ll remind you of those too. Classic games require little to no equipment. So you can get the kids out and playing quickly if they start to get restless.

These low-tech games tend to involve more than one child, making them perfect for large families. Or, you can team up with other neighborhood moms and take turns hosting play time in your backyard. Maybe you get the kiddos for an hour or two today, and another neighbor gets them tomorrow. Either way, the kids will be happily entertained while you and your fellow moms get a much needed break.

Freeze Dance

Choose one person to be the DJ. When the music starts, everyone else dances (the crazier the better!). When the music stops, the dancers must freeze in their position. Anyone caught moving after the music stops is out. The game continues until there is one person left, the winner.

Equipment: Music player or person making music.
Number of Kids: 3 or more. This is great for groups!

Red Light, Green Light

One person is the traffic light at one end, and the other players are at the other end. When the traffic light faces the group, he or she says, “Red light!” and everyone must freeze. The traffic light then turns his or her back and says, “Green light!” while the group tries to get as close to the traffic light as possible. The traffic light turns around quickly, again saying, “Red light!”, and if anyone is spotted moving, they have to go back to the starting place. The first person to tag the traffic light wins and gets to be the next traffic light.

Equipment: None.
Number of Kids: A small group, 3-8 seems to work best.

Tag

Talk about the ultimate classic outdoor kids’ game! Tag is always a good time. But did you know there are many different versions of tag to choose from?  Mix it up and the kids will never get bored. This game also burns off a lot of excess energy, which may produce side effects that include children going to bed on time. Let’s hope so!

Basic Tag

A group of kids decides who will start out as being “it.” That person chases the other players around, trying to tag one of them with their hand. The newly tagged person is now “it.” There is often the rule of “no tag-backs” where you can’t tag the person who just tagged you. The game ends when everyone is too tired to keep going.

Equipment: None.
Number of Kids: A group of any size (for all kinds of tag).

Shadow Tag

In this fun version you tag each other’s shadow with your feet instead of tagging their body. Thus, it must be played on a sunny day. The closer to noon, the smaller the shadow and therefore the harder the game.

Freeze Tag

This is a variation of Tag where if the person who is “it” tags you, you have to freeze where you are. Another participant can tag you to unfreeze you.

Blind Man’s Bluff

The person who is “it” wears a blindfold and tries to tag the other players. Be sure to play this in an area safe from obstructions and other hazards.

Marco Polo

This variation of tag is played in a swimming pool. Whoever is “it” closes their eyes and yells “Marco!” The other players then yell “Polo!” The “it” person has to tag one of the others, and then that person is “it.” Be sure to play in a pool that is not too deep for any of the players.

summer outdoor games and toys
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Fun Outdoor Summer Toys

What about those times the kids need a little extra inspiration to get them out and moving? That’s where outdoor toys come in. The right toy can be a great incentive to play, and it can keep kids busy for hours. Here’s some of our summertime favorites.

Kites

Feeling a little breezy in your neighborhood? Why not have the kids go fly a kite! Take them to a local park or beach and they can let their imaginations soar into the sky. Try a colorful fun version like this Rainbow Kite.

Ring Toss

Remember this fun game from summer camp? Ring toss can help kids work on their hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills. It’s also great way to burn off a little physical energy. Plus, some healthy competition amongst friends can be a good thing. Pick up a sturdy outdoor Ring Toss Game like this one and let the fun begin.

Kid Binoculars

Why not get the kiddos a pair of Sturdy Binoculars made especially for them and then turn them loose in the great outdoors. Think of all the possibilities! Bird watching, hiking, summer outdoor concerts, spying on dad…. So much fun.

Bouncers

When you really need to burn off some serious energy, nothing beats having a bouncer in your own backyard. Get all the neighborhood kids jumping their way to a good time. We especially like the Little Tykes Jump ‘n Slide Bouncer because it’s sturdy and comes with a slide, which just adds to the fun.

Water Toys

On a hot summer day, nothing beats cooling off with an awesome water toy. Sprinkler toys like the fun Sunny Patch Blossom Bright Sprinkler are a great choice. We also love slip and slide type toys, particularly this cool inflatable Surf ‘n Slide toy. Both are a great way for the kids to beat the heat while having fun.

So what are you waiting for? Get the kids outside and moving with one of our classic outdoor summer games or toys.  They’ll burn off some energy, and you can enjoy an iced coffee in peace.