Outdoor Party Games are wonderful, active games for warm, sunny days, although children seem to enjoy playing outside no matter what the weather is like!
Age: All ages (depending on the game)
No. of players: As many as possible
Equipment: Depends on the game
Time: 10 minutes+
Aim: The aim varies with the game.
After some introductory indoor games, bring the children outside for as much fun and exercise as they can take! (For some indoor game ideas, see Preschool Party Games, Childrens Party Games, Teenage Party Games and Musical Party Games)
Jumping Circle. You will need a a rope about 3 metres (10 feet) long with a bag tied to one end for this outdoor party game. The bag should be filled with something soft but fairly heavy, such as some old clothes. One player (the Swinger) stands in the middle of the circle with the other players around the outside. The Swinger swings the rope around the circle with the bag just clearing the ground. The other players must jump over the rope as it swings around. Players who miss are out. The last player becomes the Swinger for the next game. Variation: To make the game harder for older children, you could put an object, such as a plastic bottle, near the Swinger. Players try to retrieve the object. A player who succeeds without getting caught by the rope becomes the next Swinger.
Water Bomb Toss. Two lines are marked on the ground about 5 metres (16 feet) apart. Two teams line up behind one of the ropes. One player from each team is opposite them on the other line with a bucket of water bombs (balloons filled with water until they're about the size of a tennis ball). On a given signal, each thrower must throw a water bomb to the first person in their team, who tries to catch it. The catcher moves to the back of the line and the next player on their team tries to catch a water bomb. The team which successfully catches the most water bombs wins. (You can see why this is an outdoor party game.)
Piñata. Piñatas are great for an outdoor party game. A piñata (pronounced pin-YAR-ta) can be made quite easily from cardboard or paper mache before being decorated with bright colours. It is filled with lollies or other treats and hung from a tree branch (or similar) by a piece of string. Children take turns to be blindfolded, spun around and attempt to bash the piñata with a bat or stick. The child who breaks the piñata open wins, but everyone shares the lollies!
Crazy Golf. You will need to set up a golf course where players must hit a rubber ball between various objects using a bat, broom or similar as a "golf club". For example, the course may start with them hitting the ball between two shoes, then under a chair, through a large pipe, zigzag between some flower pots and so on. Divide the players into two teams and time each player as they complete the course. The team with the fastest total time wins this outdoor party game.
One Knee, Two Knees. Players stand in a circle. One player throws a tennis ball to another player using an underarm throw. If the catcher misses the ball, they must kneel down on one knee, unless the thrower threw the ball so badly that there was little chance of catching it, in which case the thrower must go down on one knee. The catcher then throws the ball to someone else, and so on. A player on one knee can stand up again if they catch the ball next time it is thrown to them, but if they miss again they go down on two knees. Players can always work back up each time they catch the ball but must work down each time they miss the ball.
Mini Olympics are easy to organise and provide so much fun and exercise for an outdoor party game. Players compete in teams over a set number of events which could include:
Limbo is an outdoor party game where everyone can play but it helps to be little! Two adults hold a broomstick about shoulder height, all the children form a line and walk under it. They must not touch the ground with their hands, and cannot lean forwards or sideways to fit under the broom; they are only allowed to bend backwards. On the next round, the broom is lowered about 5 centimetres (2 inches) and all the children go under it again. Any child who touches the ground with their hand, falls over or touches the broom is out. Each round has the broomstick lower and lower until finally only one player (the winner) is left.
Balloon Treasure Hunt is a competitive treasure hunt for two teams. Before the game, a number of objects are hidden around the garden, one item per player. Each player on each team is given a balloon. Inside each deflated balloon is a piece of paper with the location of one of the hidden objects. Competitors on both teams must blow up and burst their balloon, and then follow the instruction to find the object. The first team to find all their objects wins.
People Golf is an outdoor party game played in pairs, with a number of marks on the ground to show each 'hole' of the course. One player is the golfer while the other partner is the 'golfball'. The golfball should be blindfolded and must not peek. The golfer aims the golfball and tells them how many steps to take to reach the hole. The golfball takes that number of steps and stops. If they stop on the mark, the golfer scored a hole-in-one. If not, the golfer aims and shoots again until the golfball hits the mark. They then try for the second hole and so on until they have completed the course (say, six holes). A running total of shots is counted. As one pair finishes the first hole another pair can start. The team with the lowest overall score wins.
Balloon Burst can involve as many people as want to play. For this outdoor party game, an area is marked on the ground. Each player blows up a balloon and ties it loosely to their ankle with a piece of string. At a given signal, competitors try to burst their opponents' balloons by treading on them without getting their own balloon burst. Any player whose balloon bursts or who steps out of the area is out. The last player with an intact balloon wins.
What's Your Cargo? This outdoor party game involves everyone standing in a circle with one player in the centre (the Cargomaster). The Cargomaster throws a tennis ball to a player and says, "Ships are sailing. What's your cargo?" That player must catch the ball and answer with some sort of cargo. For example, they could answer "Bananas" or "Jewels". If the Cargomaster accepts their answer they can sit down, otherwise they run around the outside of the circle back to their position. The Cargomaster must have a rule (which is known only to himself) for a cargo to be acceptable. For example, the rule could be that the first letter of the cargo must be the initial of the player, or it could be that only five letter words are cargo. Play continues until everyone works out the rule and gives a correct answer. The player who sat down first becomes the new Cargomaster with a new (hidden) rule.
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The Family Guide to Party Games
The Family Guide to Christmas Games (Volume 1)
The Family Guide to Christmas Games (Volume 2)
The Family Guide to Printable Board Games
The Family Guide to Printable Travel Games