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10 garden games for kids (with no equipment!)

1. Tag

Perhaps the most famous children's game—they even made a film about it! We’ve all played it at some point in our lives and the rules couldn’t be simpler. Someone is ‘it’ until they tag someone else. Then they are ‘it’. Repeat until the sun goes down!

2. Charades

A pen and paper might be required for this classic parlour game—but it’s certainly optional. Split into two teams, one player must act out a phrase or word for their teammates to guess. Great fun for adults and children. 

3. Stuck in the mud

Often called freeze tag, this enjoyable outdoor pastime is a great variation on the traditional game. Tagged players remain frozen until a teammate unfreezes them by tagging them. The game ends when everyone in the group has been successfully immobilized.

4. Dance switch

A brilliantly energetic way to spend an afternoon in the garden. A group dances independently, until one person yells out a new dance style at random intervals. The designated style can be anything—the more outrageous, the better. Body-popping, the worm, ballet, a solo waltz: the possibilities are endless!

5. Miss Mary Mack

A stone-cold classic clapping game that’s easy to learn and a heaps of good honest fun. It’s traditional three-word repetition structure gives the game a vintage playground feel.

6. Hide and seek

The absolute go-to of outdoor children’s games; easy to play, needs nothing but at least two players, and can provide hours of enjoyment. Hide and seek involves one person covering their eyes and counting while everyone else searches for a good hiding spot. When time is up, the seeker utters those immortal words: coming, ready or not!

7. The floor is lava

This game can be played either indoors or out—and, luckily, doesn’t involve the sourcing of any actual molten lava. One player yells, ‘the floor is lava!’ at which point the remaining players must find safe haven off-ground. Safety can be found anywhere: a wall, a tree, a swing. Just don’t touch the floor!

8. Hopscotch

Technically we’re cheating on this one as for best results, you’ll need some chalk to draw the hopscotch squares and numbers. But, if you’re looking for a completely no-tech experience, you can always use imaginary markers. Otherwise, simply find a path, chalk out your board, and hopscotch until your heart’s content!

9. Simon says

Another timeless children’s activity. Simon says involves a player yelling out basic instructions for the rest of the group to carry out—touch your nose, clap your hands, stick out your tongue—but only if the command is prefixed by the eponymous ‘Simon says’. If a player follows the instructions without hearing those vital words: they’re out!

10. I Spy

The staple of any long car journey with children, this classic game can also be enjoyed in the garden. One player must think of a visible object, then use the phrase ‘I spy with my little eye…’ followed by a descriptive clue ‘...something beginning with L’. The remaining players must then try and guess what the spyer is thinking of.

Posted on July 23rd 2021

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