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5 Outdoor games for family fun

Whitney Coy is a freelance writer and editor based in Columbus, OH, where she lives with her husband and two daughters. She writes frequently for SheKnows, as well as several other websites. She writes on topics including parenting, trav...

Take the fun outside!

Summer’s here -- it’s time to get off the couch and head outside! Get the whole family involved with these games that will bring you together and make everyone smile.

parents and child playing tag in yard

Backyard bowling

Bowling is always fun, but who wants to be cooped up in a bowling alley when it’s gorgeous outside? Bowl right in your backyard for a fun time with your family. Pick up an outdoor bowling set at most stores where toys are sold or easily make your own. Collect 10 2-liter bottles and use them for your pins. Use any ball you have (basketballs work great) as your bowling ball. Put a few inches of water at the bottom of each bottle for weight. If you want to get fancy, make a family project out of painting the bottles, either to resemble actual bowling pins or with any design you like.

Check out backyard games to keep kids entertained >>

Sprinkler dash

Set up several sprinklers across the yard, and have one person try to run across the yard without getting hit with water. Let players who aren’t the runner operate the sprinklers, turning them off and on, while the runner tries to surprise them with their direction. The winner is the person who can go the longest without getting wet.

Flashlight tag

It’s always fun and exciting for kids to play outside when it’s dark. Indulge them with a game of flashlight tag. One person is designated as "It" and given a flashlight. "It" then closes his eyes and counts to a predetermined number while everyone else hides. Once he arrives at the number, "It" takes off in search of everyone else and tries to shine the flashlight on anyone he finds. The first person to find themselves in the beam of the flashlight becomes the next "It."

8 Fun outdoor games for kids >>

Blind obstacle course

Set up several large objects across your yard. Anything works -- try patio furniture, lawn chairs, big buckets, wheelbarrows, outside toys and anything else you can find. Once everything is scattered, bring everyone outside to study the obstacle course you created. One by one, blindfold each player and let them try to cross the yard without bumping into an obstacle. The player to get the farthest is the winner.

Water Limbo

Everyone knows how to play Limbo. This is the same game, but with water instead of a Limbo stick. Play some fun music and get everyone dancing. Then have one player (an adult would be best) hold a water hose. Adjust the spray so you have a straight stream, and hold it at about shoulder-level for most of the players. Keep getting lower and lower, until the last dry player remains. The game probably won’t last very long on a hot day, because you’ll find many of the players are hitting the water on purpose to cool off.

7 Great ways to cool off on hot summer days >>

Quick Tip

When playing outside in the heat, be sure to stop for plenty of water breaks.

More outdoor fun from SheKnows

How to encourage outdoor play
Wet and wild games to play at home
Mom, I'm bored! Six outdoor activities for familes

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