Having your party games outdoors means less mess, and less stress, plus it gives your children a chance to really let off steam. These 12 old fashioned outdoor party games are great if you have a big backyard, or try taking your kid’s birthday party to the park for some extra space. Make use of our Picnic Party Food article, and party up in the great outdoors.
12 old fashioned outdoor party games
If you are lucky enough to live in rural New Zealand, then chances are you’ve been to an AMP show or farm picnic. These special days are hilarious fun, and provide great inspiration for some outdoor party races.
Clear an area for your ‘race track’, mark a start and finish line on the ground with a rope, then let the games begin. You could have all sorts of picnic style races.
Outdoor picnic party games
1. Sack Races
Children climb into a sack, and jump to the finish line. Sacks are getting harder and harder to find, but garden centres, or horticulture / agriculture stores should have some on hand.
2. Three Legged Races
Using an old stocking, children have one leg tied to the leg of a partner. They need to run to the finish line as one person with three legs, and usually end up falling over themselves several times along the way. Make sure the stocking is tied tight enough that they have to work as one, but not so tight that you cut of their circulation. Organise a variety of these races – child + child; parent + child; two parents – for hilarious results.
3. Egg and Spoon Races
Give each child a tablespoon and a hard boiled egg. They must balance the egg on the spoon, and run to the finish line. If the egg falls off, they must go back to the beginning and start again.
4. Piggy Back Races
Children piggy back a partner and run to the finish line. If your guests are too little to manage a ‘standing up’ piggy back ride, they could go on their hands and knees with a friend on their back.
5. Wheelbarrow Races
One child puts their hands on the ground, and the other child holds their feet as they walk along. The trick is making sure the wheelbarrow pusher, doesn’t go faster than the wheelbarrow itself.
6. Gumboot Throwing
Give each child a gumboot and see who can throw it the farthest. Of course you could substitute the gumboot for any item that fits into your theme, but the trick is to find something that is ungainly to throw.
7. Egg Tossing
Have the children find a partner, and give each pair an egg to toss. They begin by standing about 1 metre apart, and one child tosses the egg to their partner. The ‘catcher’ then takes a step back, and tosses the egg back to their friend. The game continues, and the pair gets further and further apart, until eventually the egg breaks on catching. The winners are the kids who are farthest apart when their egg breaks.
You could allocate points for each game or race and have an overall winner, or make up certificates for place getters in each activity.
Outdoor water party games
The one thing you can do outside that you can’t do inside – is play with water, and it is especially good fun on a hot summer’s day. Here are some great water games for children of all ages.
8. Water Balloons
Set up targets for children to throw water balloons at, and allocate points for every target hit. You could set up elaborate marks, or simply line up some tin cans along the fence. The closer they stand to their target, the wetter they’ll get.
9. Relay Races
Have some water themed relay races where everybody gets soaked. A simple relay is to have teams transfer water from one bucket to another using a specific tool or method of transport. It may be that they can only use a sponge, a tablespoon, or a leaky cup. The first team to fill the bucket past a certain point – wins.
For more great relay races, check out our Relay Games article.
10. Water Fight
Nothing beats a good old fashioned water fight. Give each child a water pistol or some buckets, and let them go to it. You may want to have some big buckets full of water on hand, or pull out the hose and stand back.
11. Water Slide
Lay a sheet of polythene down a gentle slope in your backyard, cover it in dishwashing liquid, and turn the hose on it from the top. The children can just slide on it and have fun, or turn it into a mini Olympics where they have to impress the judges with their tricks and stunts. (You may need to put some guidelines in place to avoid broken limbs!)
12. Bubble Blowing
Younger children love blowing bubbles, and you can make up simple bubble mixture with dishwashing liquid and water. To make giant bubble wands, cut out the inside of an ice cream container lid, and leave just the plastic rim. You can buy other types of bubble wands from emporium type stores for just a few dollars.
Run Around Games
Being outside means your child can really run around without fear of breaking something or knocking themselves out!
There are hundreds of run-around games you can play, and your child will already have their favourites. Think about easy games like scatter ball, dodge ball or tag-rush (the new generation version of bull rush), or check out our Games for Big Groups for more ideas and instructions.