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Outdoor Games for Parties

Take the fun outdoors! There are many memorable outdoor party games to play at a child's party. Here are just a few.

Red Rover

Red Rover is best played outside for a summertime party. It requires a lot of space and room to run.

The game begins by picking two opposing teams, which should be done by an adult or by picking names from a hat. Then give each team a name. You can call them the “A” and “B” teams or the “Jets” and the “Sharks”—whatever you prefer. You can pick silly names, too: Try the Weebles and the Wobbles for little kids.

High Score

You can have a really good time just picking the names for your various teams. Let the kids get really creative. The sillier the name, the more they will giggle—the more fun for everyone!

The two teams should form opposing lines—facing each other—with a large space between them. Each child holds the hand of the child next to him or her to form a chain.

The team that goes first (and you can choose by the “Eenie, Meenie, Meinie, Moe” method or one of the other rhymes) forms a huddle to decide which member of the opposing team they want to “call over.” When they make the decision, they rejoin hands and say “Red Rover, Red Rover, we call Joey over.” Joey then high-fives his teammates and prepares for the run, while the opposing team clasps hands as hard as they can.

It's Joey's job to try to run as fast and hard as he can to breakthrough the opposing team's chain. If he breaks through, he gets to go back to his team. If he doesn't, then he joins the opposition and must call over, and hold back, other members of his original team.

If Joey breaks through the line and returns to his team, his team then gets to call someone over. If Joey doesn't break through, then not only does he join the opposing team, but they get to call someone over again!

High Score

I always liked the idea of a prize “grab bag.” Buy several little toys, games, or books, wrap them in birthday party paper, and put all the prizes in an oversized trash bag. When a child or team wins, let them dig into the bag and pull out one wrapped item. But never let any child feel like a loser. Every child should have a chance to dip into the bag at some point in the party. This is supposed to be fun for everyone! Try to take note of which children didn't win anything during the party and let them dig into the bag before they go home. Make sure you get enough gifts to go around.

You keep playing until one team has “captured” all the players from the opposing team. When the game is over, you divvy out the prizes to everyone—because you'll note here—all the children wind up on the winning team in the end. In Red Rover, everybody wins!

Red Light/Green Light

Red Light/Green Light is another great game for the outdoors. You can also play it inside, in a basement for example, if you have enough room (at least 15 to 20 feet).

In this game, one person is the “stoplight.” You can choose the person by drawing the name from a hat or using one of the rhyming methods. The person acting as the stoplight stands at one end of the yard with his or her back to the rest of the players. There should be about 15 feet between the stoplight and the players.

With his or her back to the others, the stoplight says “green light” which give the go-ahead for players to start walking toward the stoplight. At any time, the stoplight may say “red light” and turn around quickly to spot anyone who doesn't stop in time. If the stoplight catches anyone still moving, that person is out. The stoplight points to each player who was caught moving and calls out his or her names one at a time. For example: pointing to each player one at a time, he or she says: “Tara, I saw you” and “Matthew, I saw you, too.” Those children have to sit on the sidelines and watch the rest of the game.

Play resumes when the stoplight again turns his or her back to the others and says “green light.” The play keeps going like this until either everyone is out or someone touches the stoplight.

If all players are caught, the stoplight wins. If someone touches the stoplight before he or she turns around, that player is the winner.

What's the Time, Mr. Wolf?

For this game, one child is chosen to be the wolf. The wolf stands about 10 feet away with his or her back to the rest of the children. The children call out in unison: “Mr./Ms. Wolf, what time is it?” The wolf returns the call with a response of 1 through 12 o'clock—turning around to face the other children as he or she does so.

The children will then take as many steps as the time announced. For example: Let's say the wolf says it's 10 o'clock—the children can take 10 steps forward. There is no limit on the size step the kids can take—they can take huge steps or little steps.

When everyone has taken a step, the wolf turns his or her back to the other children again and the children cry out the same question. It keeps going this way until the wolf finally says “dinner time!” The wolf turns around and chases the children. The children have to run back to the start line. If they make it to the start line, they are safe. The wolf has to try and catch at least one person to become the next wolf.

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Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Family Games © 2002 by BookEnds, LLC. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit Amazon's web site or call 1-800-253-6476.


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