Easy and fun backyard games for kids: best backyard games for toddler and yard games for kids and tweens for fun in the sun this summer!
The sun has finally made an appearance here and, with it, an extra weapon to my mommy’s arsenal: time outside!
‘Go play in the garden’ is my go-to answer to pretty much anything in the good season. Feel cranky? You need some fresh air, go into the garden! Fighting with your sister? You need some fresh air, to into the garden. Bored? Go into the garden!
My kids comply, they do indeed go into the garden when I tell them to, however, the first time I resorted to this technique this year, it backfired.
They went into the garden and they shouted We are bored, there is nothing to do!’
I gave then the boredom by the book answer ‘come up with something to do so you are not bored anymore’ but then I started thinking indeed, there would be no harm in giving them some input about what to do.
And so, I came up with a list of tried and tested backyard games for kids and then the magic happened: my kids added more themselves!
So, this is now our go-to list of the best backyard games for kids: perfect for the only children, siblings, time with friends and time with mom and dad!
Best backyard games for kids
Build a fort
My kids call this game ‘dens’ and spend an incredible amount of time with it.
Sometimes the build one den, showing that they can indeed work as a team if they put their mind to it, and some times they build one each sibling rivalry usually resulting in pretty imaginative creations, sometimes with multiple floors, doors and windows!
The cool thing about this backyard game is that it doesn’t need anything elaborate to happen. My two usually get hold of garden chairs (or indoor chairs), boxes, blankets, clotheshorse and they let their imagination run free.
This is a good garden game for motor skills and imagination and can be done alone, with mom and dad or with friends.
Start a garden
There is something magical and immensely satisfying about growing vegetables and the delight of children when they see their hard work bearing fruit is, literally, priceless.
It is a type of activity that keeps them busy, teaches them skills, puts them in touch with nature and the origin of our food and it also can help with fussy eaters: my super fussy child never ate vegetables willingly, until she became a proud carrot producer herself!
Starting a garden is easier than it may seem and doesn’t require much space. Depending on what you are working with, you can dig into the grouds, create a raised bed or even have a garden in a box.
For extra fun! As well as getting the kids to help in the garden itself, get them to design their garden first. Get them to draw the space they have a planting pattern: this will keep them busy but also help them develop vision, fine motor skills and space awareness!
Play with sprinkles
Nothing beats water when it comes to summer fun and you don’t need a pool to make the most of that scorching sun. if you have a sprinkler or even just a hose, that can be enough to fuel hours of fun!
Just make sure the kids follow a couple of precautions: wear water shoes or sandals to avoid injury and wear sunscreen. Water and sun, even if in the garden rather than the beach, can cause unpleasant sunburn.
Pins, balls, pens and paper and you have all you need for the ultimate garden bowling party! With friends, between siblings but even just with mom, bowling is a fun and easy way to have fun in the sun.
Make sure the kids write down their personal best each time the play so the next time they can challenge themselves at setting a nee record!
Croquet is another easy and fun game for kids and one you can play even in a small yard as long as you have a lawn or soft ground.
It’s a goal
When I was growing up, in our city apartment, we didn’t have space for a football game but was always had space for penalty shoots! Even in a small yard, setting up goals (or even one of them) is an easy way to give focus to outdoor time.
A good game to play alone or in a tournament with friends.
I don’t know what it is but kids seem to have a love affair with camping so why not indulge in this passion setting up a tent in the backyard for them?
You may need to help them set up at the start, depending on the tent you have, but then they are guaranteed hours of fun: my two love to ‘furnish’ the tent with blankets, cushions, teddies and they are fastidious about rules: you cannot enter with shoes for instance… I wish they were as precise with this in our own house!
To make this backyard camping even more fun, you can join in too. How about making s’mores or fire up a BQQ or even indulge in a garden mocktail and make it feel like a real camping trip?
Teddy bear’s picnic
This is one of the cutest backyard games for toddlers and one of the easiest to set up. Our favorite way to do it is to set up a blanket away from the direct sun, layout teacups and kitchen paraphernalia and of course all of the cuddly toys, then feast on rice cakes and mini sandwiches.
Another toddler favorite is playing with bubbles, may they be small ones from a party bag or big ones from a pool. Making your own bubbles mix is easy but it is useful to buy the first set for bubble-making so that you can use the wands over and over again
On the pavement (with chalk) or with a lawn set if you have a backyard with grass, hopscotch is always a fun one and great to help with coordination too!
If you have more space, a shadow tag is a fantastic kids’ backyard game to use up energy and get exercise. You need more than one player and the sun to cooperate and you are done: one player is ‘it’ and they need to catch the others by standing on their shadow. The one that is caught becomes ‘it’ and the game resumes.