13 Classic Backyard Games for Toddlers and Preschoolers: Ignite the Fun and Learning

Classic Backyard Games for Toddlers and Preschoolers

Playing outdoor games is a rite of passage for every child. The fresh air, the excitement, and the companionship – it’s a fun way for kids to spend time outdoors, learning new skills, and making friends. In this post, we’ll be exploring some great outdoor game options, focusing on classic backyard games for toddlers and preschoolers.

Importance of Outdoor Games

Kids Playing In The Backyard

Outdoor games serve the dual purpose of providing entertainment and aiding in physical and cognitive development. Participating in these fun outdoor games can help enhance motor skills, cognitive abilities, and emotional intelligence in your young ones. Not to mention, it introduces them to the concept of team play and friendly competition.

So, ready to reintroduce the classic outdoor game into your child’s routine? Here are our favorite outdoor games for kids.

Classic Backyard Games for Toddlers and Preschoolers

Hide and Go Seek

1. Hide and Go Seek: This classic outdoor game is ideal as an introduction to independent outdoor play. The game begins with one child as the ‘seeker’ while the other kids hide. It’s a fun game for the younger children.

2. Duck, Duck, Goose: The game continues when one person walks around tapping the other players, choosing a ‘goose.’ It’s a great outdoor game that also serves as a great way to teach younger kids about taking turns.

3. Tag: This is one of the most loved outdoor games for kids. Two teams are formed, and the game begins by one person being ‘it’ and trying to tag an opposing team member. It’s a fast-paced game that teaches agility and speed.

4. Simon Says: A fun outdoor game, where only one person is Simon and gives instructions to the other players. This classic game helps develop listening skills and cognitive abilities.

5. Soccer: Here’s a classic outdoor game: soccer. Involving a soccer ball and two teams, this team sport can be easily played in your own backyard or local park. Set up your official game and let the fun begin.

6. Musical Chairs: Make use of your outdoor space by setting up a game of musical chairs. As the music starts, the kids dance around the chairs and when it stops, they race to sit down.

7. Tug of War: This game needs a sturdy rope and two teams. Each team must pull the rope into their territory. The team that manages to pull in their direction wins. It’s a great game to build strength and team spirit.

Red Light, Green Light game

8. Red Light, Green Light: This game simulates traffic light signals. One child stands as the ‘traffic light’, calling out ‘green light’ for others to move and ‘red light’ to make them stop.

9. Hopscotch: All you need is some sidewalk chalk to draw a hopscotch board. This jumping game can be played indoors, or outside, and it also helps improve balancing skills.

10. Scavenger Hunt: Arrange a nature scavenger hunt in your backyard, one of the best outdoor games to foster exploration.

11. Four Square: A playground ball, four squares, and at least four players are all you need for this fun outdoor game. The objective is to keep the ball in play, and avoid letting it bounce more than once in your square.

12. Jump Rope: Whether it’s Chinese jump rope or classic jump rope games, they are fantastic for fostering agility and coordination.

13. Duck Duck Splash: An outdoor version of duck, duck, goose, using a cup of water to splash the selected ‘goose.’ It’s a great game for a hot summer day, or even in a swimming pool.

Adapting The Rules of Classic Outdoor Games for Toddlers and Preschoolers

boy playing soccer

Understanding the complexities and rules of classic outdoor games can sometimes overwhelm younger kids. Adapting these games to suit the abilities and understanding of toddlers and preschoolers can ensure they join in the fun without feeling left out. For example, in the game of Tag, instead of tagging and leaving a player ‘out’, you could change it so the player who is tagged then becomes ‘it,’ ensuring continuous involvement.

Similarly, for a game like Tug of War, you could introduce a soft ball in the middle of the rope. The objective for the two teams would then be to pull the ball onto their respective side. This not only makes the game safer for younger children but also adds a fun twist to the classic game. Remember, the main objective is to ensure all children are having fun while developing their motor skills, physical strength, and social abilities.

Making Outdoor Games Safe and Enjoyable for All

While planning and executing these backyard games, safety should be top priority. Select a clean, debris-free area for play. Double-check the equipments for any cracks or sharp edges that could potentially harm the children. For games involving balls, ensure you choose lightweight and soft balls – a soft ball for soccer or a lightweight playground ball for Four Square is ideal so that if the ball hits any child, it would not cause injury.

Also, ensure your backyard is secured and fenced to prevent the little ones from wandering off. It’s equally important to supervise the games at all times, ready to intervene whenever necessary. When incorporating these steps, you can help to ensure that your toddlers and preschoolers have a safe, enjoyable experience playing these classic backyard games.

Final Thoughts


Outdoor games for young ones are not just about winning or losing, it’s about putting in the effort, spending time with others, and having fun. From “hide and seek” to “Four Square,” each outdoor game teaches kids something new, helping their overall growth, while adding a fun factor to their day.

So, get out there with your toddlers and preschoolers in your own backyard, or even take these games to the local park, and see how many points of fun, laughter, and learning you can score.

These classic outdoor games are a wonderful way for little ones to stay active, learn how to interact with other players and enjoy kids’ classic pastime. After all, the goal of childhood is to create beautiful memories while learning and growing, and what better way to do that than among the great outdoors? Happy gaming!

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