Sharks and Minnows

One child is the shark and stands in the middle of the yard. The other kids are the minnows and line up at one end of the yard. The object is for the minnows to get from one end of the yard to the other without being caught, aka tagged, by the shark. If tagged, then the minnow also becomes a shark. The game is repeated as the number of sharks grows. The last minnow is the winner.

Red Light, Green Light

A player is the traffic light, standing at one end of the yard. The other players line up on the opposite end of the yard. The traffic light turns away from the other players and says, “Green light!” Players try to run as quickly as they can towards the traffic light. At any time, the traffic light can turn around and say, “Red light!” That’s when all players must freeze. If they are spotted moving, the traffic light sends them back to the start. The first player to reach the traffic light wins and gets to be the next traffic light.

Mother, May I

Like Red Light, Green Light, one player, “Mother,” stands at one end of the yard. All other players line up at the other end of the yard. Players take turns asking “Mother” if they may take 1, 2, 3 or more steps forward. “Mother” answers “Yes, you may,” or “No, you may not.” The first player to reach “Mother” wins and gets to be the next “Mother.” This game invites creativity, too, because players can ask to take baby steps, giant steps or even spins.

Blind Man’s Bluff

One player is designated “It” and is blindfolded. To start the game, “It” spins around five times as the other players disperse around the yard. Now “It” tries to find the others, who must stay rooted in the spot where they landed when “It” stopped spinning. Players can dodge and duck from the seeking “It,” but they can’t move their feet. “It” moves around the yard until all the players are found while whoever got caught first wears the blindfold for the next round.

Freeze Tag

This variation of the classic game of tag involves players freezing whenever “It” tags them. They must stay frozen as “It” tries to tag the other players, but they can unfreeze and rejoin the game if another player tags them. The game ends when “It” freezes all players.


Players draw and number a hopscotch grid, usually 10 squares. Start by tossing a rock or beanbag onto Square 1. Hop over the square on one foot, going up, then down the grid. Players stop on Square 2 to pick up their marker from Square 1. Repeat, tossing the marker to Square 2 and so on. For added difficulty, players lose a turn when they fall, touch a line with their feet, or miss tossing their marker onto the next square.

– Katy M. Clark

Frisbee Tic Tac Toe

Draw a tic tac toe board on the driveway with chalk or in the yard with spray paint. Gather four Frisbees for each player and try to get the Frisbees to land in the squares to win tic tac toe.

Water Balloon Toss

Stand in parallel lines and pass a water balloon back and forth without dropping it. Change it up by setting one person in the middle of a circle with a bowl on his head. Players try to toss the balloon in the bowl.

Clothes Pin Tag

Everyone clips a hinged clothes pin to the back of their shirt. The person who is “It” tries to grab the clothes pin as they run by.

– Pam Molnar

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