Top 8 Outdoor Games for Kids: Summer Camp Edition

Sometimes we get so caught up in doing what we think is the right approach or curriculum for our kids’ development that we forget one of the most important—if not, the most important—part of a child’s development: play. 

While traditional academic activities and learning are also vital to a child’s development, it’s important to remember that play “lets children practice what they know, and also what they don’t. It allows them to experiment through trial and error, find solutions to problems, work out the best strategies, and build new confidence and skills.”

So, don’t forget to encourage your kids to get outside and play this summer! And you’d probably find some benefit in joining them, too. Check out these outdoor games to try with them this summer: 


Outdoor Games For Kids

1. Capture the Flag

Ah, a classic—Capture the Flag! You might remember playing this when you were a child. The rules are simple: two teams compete, each one attempting to obtain the opposing team’s flag and prevent that team from stealing their flag. 

Capture the Flag requires a lot of running around and coordination. In addition to coordination, other benefits include cardiovascular endurance, agility, and reaction time. 

2. Scavenger Hunt

Scavenger hunts never go out of style: simply make a list of specific items for your kids to seek. Scavenger hunts allow children to engage with what they are learning about in tangible ways. Through trial and error, children can apply their learned knowledge and correct any misconceptions they may have which helps to build more connections with what they are learning and further their understanding. 

3. Water Balloon Toss

Ever try a water balloon toss? It’s perfect for hot summer days. The challenge is to throw each other a balloon filled with water and try not to pop it. Players will be constantly throwing the balloon at each other, and all you have to do is catch it without it popping and getting them all drenched. And if they do, it’ll be a blast getting wet and cooling off regardless of “losing.”

The water balloon toss game is full of physical activity and promotes teamwork and hand-eye coordination in the process. Use this game to help your child find solutions to challenges quickly and accurately.

4. Tug of War

A summer camp classic, tug of war is an athletic contest where two team players pull against each other at opposite ends of a rope. While the game may seem purely about strength and brute, it involves teamwork, mental endurance, and fitness

5. Three-Legged Race

A three-legged race is when two partners stand shoulder to shoulder and tie their inside legs together with a piece of soft fabric. Designate a starting line and a finish line and see how quickly the teams can move from point A to B! 

A three-legged race provides a unique combination of physical activity and teamwork. Try it with your child to practice communication and problem-solving while getting your dose of exercise and fresh air. 

6. Dodgeball

Ready for flashbacks to your school days? Grab a ball and head outside for a good old-fashioned game of dodgeball. Here’s how you play: 


“At the start of each game, the balls are either split evenly between teams or placed across the length of the center line, creating a scramble to claim them at the first whistle. At first, players must pass to a teammate before targeting an opponent. Once a player has been struck by a live dodgeball, they are eliminated from the game. A ball is considered ‘live’ when it has left a player’s hand and is in the air before touching the floor. It is subsequently referred to as a ‘dead ball’ once it has left the boundaries but can be retrieved by any player occupying that space of the court.”


Playing dodgeball can help your child develop and practice some core skills—one of the biggest being physical skills. Not only is it a great way to keep kids entertained, but a game of dodgeball is enough to achieve a day’s worth of recommended exercise. 

Dodgeball is also one of the best outdoor games to enhance social skills among children. It’s a team sport that requires cooperation and communication. 

7. Cornhole

You might have played cornhole with friends at a recent barbeque, but it’s also a great game for kids. It’s a game in which small bags filled with dried corn are tossed at a target consisting of an inclined wooden platform with a hole at one end.

Cornhole helps children learn teamwork, sportsmanship, and simple addition. It also enhances their hand-eye coordination.

8. Relay Races

A relay race is a type of racing game where participants take turns completing a set distance or task. It’s a fun and healthy activity that promotes teamwork and physical fitness. Relay races can be played with a large group of people, which is why it’s the perfect game to make friends at summer camp

There are many benefits to relay races for your children, including: 

  • Improved cardiovascular health
  • Increased physical fitness
  • Teamwork and communication lessons
  • Self-confidence and motivation
  • Fun and social exercise 

Head Outside & Play

Advanced motor skills, improved muscle strength and cardiovascular endurance, teamwork, and communication are just a few of the benefits your child can experience from playing in any of these outdoor games. So, head outside and get playing! 

We understand that most parents have busy schedules, which is why summer camp is the perfect opportunity for your child to play games, learn new skills, and make friends. Learn more about Brooks School Summer Programs, where we offer a variety of different games and programs through our Day Camp. Happy playing!