9 Classic Outdoor Play Ideas: for Outside or In!

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9 Classic Outdoor Play Ideas: for Outside or In!

March 25, 2020

When your kids are feeling cooped up, there’s no better remedy than a bit of playtime. With the COVID-19 safety measures in place right now, families with young children especially are feeling the effects of cabin fever. Getting outside is our favorite way to play those hemmed-in feelings away. And if you are staying indoors right now, this list of 9 outdoor games and activities can be enjoyed just as much inside.


Recess Favorites: Everyone’s favorite subject – recess! Whether it’s a timeout from school, chores, or work, taking a break is important for kids and adults alike, and these recess classics are the perfect solution.

  1. Hopscotch – You can easily make your own hopscotch course outside on your driveway, in the yard, or on the sidewalk – but did you know this childhood staple can be enjoyed indoors too? Simply find an open, carpeted space in your home and use tape on the ground to make your own course. Whether you’re playing outside or inside, design your course to be as easy or difficult as your little ones want. Add some built-in spins or different sized shapes to make it trickier.
  1. Chalking – Trade the blacktop for an easel or sidewalk and get chalking! It’ll feel like a perfect spring day making chalk creations, inside or out. Use prompts to spark creativity and laughter depending on how silly you want to be. A few examples include:
    • Draw what your imaginary friend would look like if we could see them
    • Draw your favorite animal eating your favorite food
    • Draw a portrait of the person next to you

Alternatively, you and your kids can make your own chalk to use for your drawings.

  1. Hula-Hooping – All you need is an open space and a hula hoop to feel like you’re on the playground. Make your hula-hooping even more fun by dressing in your favorite florals with leis and sunglasses and playing some music. Add a little friendly competition to keep it exciting. Who can hula hoop longest? Can your little one hop on one foot without losing their hula? Can they catch they catch a ball and keep going? Variations are endless.


One with Nature: Harness the spirit of the Great Outdoors to create unique adventures for your family.

  1. Go on a Family Hike – It’s still important for your family to get sunlight and fresh air. Check that it’s open and head out to your family’s favorite trail or forest preserve for some time with nature. If you have to stay inside, go on a hike around the house. Is your family heading to the Rockies or the Grand Canyon? Maybe Yellowstone or the Great Smokies? Or somewhere entirely imagined – let your little wanderers decide! Each room in your house can be a different site. You can put cushions on the ground to be “rocks” to climb on, crawl into a fort “cave” made out of blankets, or hide toys or other little treasures to be discovered.
  1. Picnic Party: Spice up lunch time and turn it into a picnic. Pack all the essentials in your little red wagon – a giant blanket, today’s lunch, and some delicious lemonade are a good start – and lay out your feast in your backyard or your living room. Kids will love making something as routine as lunch a bit more special.
  1. Gardening: Have your child flex their green thumb and help upkeep the greenery. They can help water house plants or assist in planting fruits and veggies in the garden. Even if your family doesn’t have a garden, young children will still enjoy pretend playing by gardening fake plants with a watering can and a wheelbarrow of their own. Older kids can “harvest” fruits and veggies from the fridge, and you can work together to come up with a creative meal based on what you have.


Get Sporty: All kids can be little Olympians with silly versions of these sports – gold medals optional!

  1. Volleyball: So simple, but SO fun. For indoor play, tape off a “court” and use a ribbon or jump rope tied to two chairs to create an instant net. Blow up a balloon (or two or three!) and watch your family have a blast trying to keep it up in the air. For added challenge for older kids, have them play on their knees if you have carpet. If you’re playing outside and don’t have a net, don’t worry – little ones will be plenty entertained just hitting the beach ball around and trying to keep it up in the air!
  1. Bowling: You don’t need to go to a bowling alley for strikes & spares! A small rubber ball or beach ball can be your trusty bowling ball. Plastic bottles, cans, or cartons make perfect pins. You don’t even need 10…try setting up some trick shots with a few pins or striking some moves as you bowl. Style points always count!
  1. Mini Golf: You don’t have to be a pro golfer for this one to be a hole in one with your kids. All you need are a couple of golf balls, a few plastic cups to be your holes, and golf clubs (or get creative and use a roll of wrapping paper or a toy baseball bat if needed). Add obstacles as you see fit. Down the stairs? Around the couch? Off the deck? Through the bushes? Setting up the course might be just as fun as the actual putting! Older kids will have a blast with both, so feel free to leave them in charge of set up.


What are your family’s most creative games? Show us your ideas by tagging #radioflyer on social media!