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The best family outdoor games

When you want to get the entire family outside, a fun game is a great way to go. Games can be a fun way to build confidence, bond, and create fun memories as a family. Games are also excellent ways to discover more about each other and help pass the time without screens.

These games cover a range of ages, abilities, and purposes. It’s time to get everyone into fun family outdoor activities and make the most of those free afternoons or evenings. Here are four great ideas to get you started.

Bucketball — Best for all ages

Bucketball is a customizable game that allows you to make the rules, set the players, and adjust the difficulty. Your toddler can play with a simple bean bag and one bucket, for example, providing hours of fun throwing and retrieving the bean bag.

Bucketball
Kan Kankavee/Shutterstock

If you’ve got bored teens, you can use any number of containers and objects. Set up buckets and assign points based on distance, for example. Set up one bucket and award points for difficulty — think no broken eggs, or a very bouncy ball in a small container.

You can buy buckets or find containers of your own, making this an all-around hit no matter what your circumstances are and no matter who is playing. It’s a customizable, flexible, and fun winner.

Obstacle courses — Best no-spend option

If you don’t want to purchase any games or equipment, take a look at your surroundings. You’ve got all the trappings of a wonderful obstacle course using just the things you already have in your backyard.

This is another one you can customize based on the abilities of the people playing. If you’ve got a short period of time, it can be a quick game of skill. If you have longer, you can play in teams. If your family doesn’t like competitions, you can cheer each person on. 

Toddlers and smaller children could jump into shapes drawn with sidewalk chalk. You could make it a race or a tag-team event. You could also get your kids to create the obstacle course themselves.

Ultimate Frisbee — Best active game 

Ultimate Frisbee is a high-energy game that gives you and your family lots of chances to get out and get active. Your local park may have a frisbee course already set up, but you can also create your own with some simple household items.

family frisbee
VaLiza/Shutterstock

The basic premise of ultimate frisbee is the same as golf. Try to get the frisbee to touch the marker in as few throws as possible. You can have as many markers in your course as you want and increase or decrease the difficulty based on who is playing.

This simple game can happen in your backyard with a small frisbee and teams, or stretch out across an entire ball field if you have access.  

Water-balloon dodgeball — Best for summer

The game of tag gets an upgrade with this summer favorite. Instead of using the classic dodgeball, switch to family-friendly water balloons. Each person takes a turn in the middle, or you can play sides. Each player dodges the water balloons, and the last person to get drenched is the winner. 

You can use this game to cool off, and when everyone dries off, play again. It’s a fun way to cool off and can get kids excited about being outside when you can’t get to the pool or a waterpark. Plus, with new gadgets, you could fill up balloons with water in no time.

This game is a great way to get your kids to move around, and it can work with just a few people or many. It helps make the outdoors more comfortable during those deep summer months when the sun is intense and humidity makes activity difficult.

Getting the most from your outdoor time

Family games are fun ways to bond with your loved ones and add some flair to your outdoor time. The great thing about outdoor games is that you can customize many of them to include everyone, no matter the age or ability.

If you don’t want to invest in game gear, some of these options are possible with things you already have around the house. Obstacle courses and ultimate frisbee, for example, are also great to get kids in the mix, creating their game courses and keeping score. 

Whatever game you choose, know that outdoor time with the family is a valuable memory for both you and your children. It’s easy to spend time in front of screens and forget everyone around you, but with a few simple games, you could make your evenings and afternoons fun and magical.

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