Outside Games for Kids Under 5 Years Old

by Krystal Miller ; Updated September 22, 2017

Young children can enjoy the fresh air and excitement of playing games outdoors the same as older children. Create games that children age 5 and younger can play outside with their friends. Games keep children active, prevent boredom and build self-esteem. Awarding small prizes, such as snacks and small toys, to game winners will keep the children enthusiastic about outdoor games.

Hot Potato

Have the young children stand in a circle and select one player to be “it.” That player takes a soccer ball to the middle of the circle and places it at his feet. The ball is the potato, and the circle is the oven. The “it” player must try to get the potato out of the oven using only his feet to kick it. The players standing in the circle must try to keep the ball inside the circle using only their feet. Once the ball is out of the circle, select another player to be “it.” Be sure each player has at least one turn to be “it.” The player who gets the ball out of the circle in the fastest amount of time wins the game.

Barnyard Animal Match-up

Whisper into each child’s ear the name of a barnyard animal, such as cow, pig, horse, chicken or dog. Give two or three children the same barnyard name so there are groups of animals. Tell the children not to share what animal they are. When everyone knows their animal, tell them to begin making the noise the animal makes. The object of the game is for the players to listen for other children making the same animal noise and get into groups. The first group to find all their animals wins the game.

Random Item Bowling

Stand up random items, such as empty cereal boxes, toys, empty soda cans, blocks and stuffed animals, that can be knocked down. Arrange the items in a triangle like bowling pins. Mark a starting line about 10 feet away and have the children line up. Give each child a soccer ball and have him roll it at the items twice. The player who knocks down the most items wins the game.

Musical Hoops

Use several hula-hoops to play a game of musical hoops. Place enough hula-hoops on the ground for each player, less one. Scatter the hoops all over and play music. While the music plays, the children must dance and run around the hoops. When the music stops, the players must try to jump inside a hoop. The player who does not get in a hoop is out of the game. Remove one hoop and keep playing. The last child standing in a hoop when the music stops wins the game.

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