10 Fun Outdoor Games for Preschoolers
When weather permits, playing outside is essential for growing toddlers. Many activities are fun and encourage motor skills, cognitive thinking, and knowledge development.
Most games provide hours of physically active enjoyment while promoting foundational skills including following rules, taking turns, sharing, kindness, honesty, and understanding when and where is the appropriate time for specific activities like running, jumping, or yelling.
The following list of toddler-approved outdoor games is great for playdates, preschool classes, childcare facilities, and even family game time.
With a few modifications, many of the outdoor games can be adjusted to indoor games for rainy, snowy, or cold days that keep your children inside.
Activities for Preschoolers
Simon Says Game
This classic game can be played outdoors or indoors with enough space. The game rules are relatively simple but may take some time for toddlers to get familiar with.
When playing with preschoolers, it is best to have a parent or teacher take the role of Simon and have the children practice following directions.
When a command is given for the children to follow, the person acting as Simon must say “Simon says” before telling the command.
If Simon does not say “Simon says” and any of the children perform the command, they are out of the game and must sit down. The last person standing is the winner of that round.
Tag Games for Kids
Preschoolers enjoy running around and chasing each other. Freeze, line, shadow, and basic tags are four popular choices. In freeze tag, the one or two children who are “it” must tag the other children and “freeze” them in their spot. Unfrozen teammates must tag their frozen friends free.
Line tag is best played in a gym or field with painted lines. Children must stay on the lines to tag each other when they are “it” or save their friends. Instead of tagging a friend physically, shadow tag involves tagging their shadow on the ground.
Duck, Duck, Goose Game
Another classic game that will entertain preschoolers inside or outside. Preschoolers will sit in a circle while one child walks out of the ring and lightly taps each person as a duck or a goose.
When the goose is tapped, they must quickly get up and chase the standing person to tap them before they can sit in the open spot of the circle.
The game continues with the standing person calling out duck, duck, goose until everyone has had a turn.
This is a fun game for all ages. Using a giant, colorful parachute, usually with handles on the outside, preschoolers will learn to work together as a team.
Common games include keeping light objects such as beach balls in the middle without being bounced off, making air bubbles as they sit underneath a slowly falling canopy, and learning the names of colors during randomized color callouts.
Freeze Dance Game
Freeze dance can be played outside with a portable speaker and Bluetooth-connected phone. One person is in charge of the music, while the others are the dancers.
Everyone must dance when music is playing, but when the music stops, everyone must freeze in their spot. If anyone is caught moving when the music is off, they are out of the game until the last person still dancing is the winner, and a new round starts.
Squirt Gun Painting
Painting smocks or aprons are recommended for this activity to preserve clothing. Fill squirt guns with thinned paint at a consistency that is easily squirtable. Place blank pieces of printer paper on easels or hanging from a string with clothespins.
Have your preschooler aim and shoot with the squirt gun to create a painting worthy of an abstract award.
Color Golf Game
This game uses a simple setup and helps children differentiate colors while having fun golfing. Using golfing tees, large plastic toy balls, paper plates, and markers make a three to nine-hole golf course.
Color each plate an individual color to match the balls, use a golf tee through the middle of the plate to hold it in the ground, and use plastic toddler-sized golf clubs for hitting the balls.
Have the preschoolers take turns putting the plastic balls into the color of the hole the ball matches.
Obstacle Courses Game
Using playground equipment, cones, balls, and other on-hand supplies build an obstacle course and, one at a time, have each child run through it.
Beach Balls and Pool Noodles Game
Set up inflated beach balls on one side of a yard, field, or open park. Have each toddler move the beach ball from the starting side to the finishing side only using a pool noodle.
If there are enough children, split the preschoolers into teams and have their teammate move the ball back to the starting side, so everyone gets a turn.
Pool Noodle Obstacle Course Game
Using only pool noodles, design an obstacle course that encourages running, jumping, skipping, hopping, ducking, crawling, turning, and walking.