Toddler Outdoor Games
Many of these toddler outdoor games can also be played inside if the weather turns nasty. It is very easy to plan too much where toddlers are concerned. Therefore, these games are short, sweet and fun!
The more, the merrier for this game. Arrange the group into a circle (about an arm's length away from each other). The first person throws a ball (or bean bag) to a friend calling out "A". The person who caught it returns it to someone else calling out "B". Everyone is working together to see how far through the alphabet they can get. If the catcher misses the ball, the alphabet must start over. This makes it a fun challenge to see if you can get through the entire alphabet!
This game can also be played using numbers instead of the alphabet.
This is a slightly more complicated game of the famous "Simon Says". The object of the game is to listen carefully to directions and to follow them exactly.
The leader will tell a child a specific set of instructions (i.e. "Stand up, walk over to that tree, and give it a hug"). The child must listen carefully and follow the directions exactly. The next child is given a new set of instructions. Game continues until all children have participated.
This can be made a simple or as complicated (and silly) as you wish. This makes it ideal for groups of varying ages. You could also make it much more demanding by calling the child's name after the directions are given. This requires everyone to pay close attention every time.
Equipment: A bunch of small objects to scramble for, like lollipops, wrapped candies, chewing gum, small toys etc., plus a "goodie bag" for each contestant.
The object of this toddler outdoor game is simple: to grab as much loot as you can and shove it into your bag. It's like having a pinata without the danger of swinging a bat around while blindfolded!
You can mark off an area with rope or ribbon, within which the contestants must remain. Or have the children stand on a start line, and run to the "loot line", where all the material is evenly distributed.
To increase difficulty, children could be required to wear mittens. There is a big difference in ability for children under the age of five. The 4-5 year olds have a big advantage over the 2-3 year olds. You can either separate the two age groups, or give the younger ones an advantage.
Look and See
This is a great memory game for the little ones. All you need is 5-10 small objects of any kind.
Have the children sit in a circle or at the table. Place the objects in front of the children, perhaps describing what each object is. Ask the kids to close their eyes (no peeking!). When they open their eyes again, one of the objects will be missing - the question is, which one?
Too easy? Try these variations:
- Objects are all in full view, but no special attention is drawn to them.
- A greater number of objects are used.
- More than one object is removed.
- Time allowed for observation before they close their eyes is shortened.
- Move the objects around, plus remove an object, while eyes are closed.
- If you have a large group of players, instead of using objects, use the people. Remove one person from the room while the eyes are closed.
Here's a fun and simple toddler outdoor game: Arrange the children in an even line at least 3 feet (1 m) apart. They bend over and put their hands on the ground, distributing their weight evenly between their hands and feet. Holding this position, they crawl sideways for a distance of 10-15 feet (3 to 5 m).
This picnic game could be made into a relay race combined with other types of races (crawl sideways, then backwards, then...).
Silly Snake Race
All you need for this game is a bunch of kids ready to get a little silly. Please note that they should be dressed in play clothes, and be prepared for some possible grass stains.
Mark off a start and finish line. Have the first child sit on the ground with his legs out. The second child sits in front of the first, in between his legs. The first child wraps his legs around the second childs waist. The third child sits in front of the second, and the chain continues until the "snake" is complete.
On "Go!" the silly snake starts inching forward by wiggling their bums on the ground in unison. You can make it a bit more difficult by not letting them use their hands.
The race is over when they reach the finish line or collapse into a fit of giggles.
If you have a larger group you could make two snakes and have them race each other.
Steam Roller Race
Better not be too dressed up for the steam roller race, because the kids will have a few grass stains when this is all over.
Here's how it goes: The contestants lie down lengthwise along the starting line, spaced out so there's about 3 feet (1 m) between them. The finish can be as little as 20 feet (7 m) away.
One, two, three - roll! And the children are off, rolling over and over toward the goal. Or at least they try to roll toward the finish line. Some will be rolling in semi-circles, and others into each other. The longer the distance, the more chance there is of a collision!
This toddler outdoor game will bring a lot of giggles. The children are instructed to bend over, put their hands on the ground, and walk. They must walk or run on their hands and feet - not their knees. Every child will want to have a practice run before the race. The course should be only 30 feet (10 m) or so.
The judges will have to watch out for contestants who stand up and run before they reach the finish line. Children are apt to do this. They see someone ahead of them, are anxious to win, and forget they must be "spiders".
What Time Is It Mr. Wolf?
A classic toddler outdoor game! Choose one child to be the wolf, the rest get to be the piggies.
The wolf stands a good distance away from the piggies with his back to them. The pigs shout out "What time is it, Mr. Wolf?" The wolf answers with a time of day (i.e. "3 o'clock"). The piggies count out loud, taking 3 steps towards Mr. Wolf (or 6 steps if it is 6 o'clock, etc.).
The game continues with the pigs asking the time, and the wolf answering. The pigs are getting nearer and nearer to the wolf. Eventually the wolf will yell out "Lunchtime!". He will turn around and chase the pigs back to the start line. The first pig to get caught becomes the next Mr. Wolf.
If you are looking for more exciting children's games geared towards pre-schoolers, please check out best-preschool-games.com.
Return to Outdoor Games page.