Outdoor Games for Preschoolers

Posted on April 30, 2019 : Posted in Activities for Young Children, Parenting Tips

With sunny days stretching out ahead, many families plan to spend time outdoors together. While walks and time at the playground are favorite pastimes, perhaps you are looking for new ways to entertain your young children outside. Here are six low- or no-cost outdoor games for preschoolers that will keep your kids busy all through the lovely spring and summer days.


While this classic game does require sidewalk chalk, it won’t be hard to find some for a dollar or less in most stores. To play hopscotch, you will first need to find a somewhat-flat spot that is paved or cement. Sidewalks or the edges of tennis or basketball courts are great options. Just be sure to avoid any space that has bike or vehicle traffic. The board typically consists of a group of ten squares, alternating between one and two squares per row. If you are unsure of the format, just check out the image at the top of this post. Once you have drawn your squares, write the numbers 1-10, with one in each square. Ask your preschooler to help with this part! Then, your board is ready to play. Traditionally, the game is played by throwing a stone into each square consecutively, then jumping to the square and back the board to retrieve your stone. However, your child will enjoy any jumping, skipping, and counting you choose!

Scavenger Hunt

Whether formal or relaxed, children love the opportunity to hunt for treasure outdoors. To help your children go on a scavenger hunt, you can ask them to find a variety of things. Your list could be based on colors, textures (scratchy, soft, crinkly, sticky, etc.), or shapes. Alternatively, you can cut pictures of natural things out of magazines and try to find similar treasures outdoors. Or take a favorite book about the outdoors with you and see if you can match things in your yard to items on its pages. If you aren’t feeling particularly creative, there are many scavenger hunts available online, for all ages and seasons.

Water Play

If you are looking for less structured outdoor games for preschoolers, water is your best ally. Young children will often play in water until they are too exhausted to play anymore. Water play is extremely flexible and allows you to use whatever tools you have on hand. A bowl full of water and small cups and spoons allow your child to mix, stir, and pour to their heart’s content. If you have a bigger container, your child can sail boats or leaves across its surface. Splashing, squirting, and overflowing teach your child about the ways that liquid moves and how their actions affect the world. If you choose to play with water, always keep a close eye on your child and never leave them unattended with more than a small bowl due to the risk of drowning.

Simon Says

This classic game invites parents and siblings to join in as one player becomes Simon and directs the others. The goal of the game is to listen closely and only do the actions that “Simon” begins with the preface “Simon says….” If “Simon” makes a request without including the signature phrase, anyone who does it is out for the round. Of course, every family can adapt the game to their own liking, allow multiple turns and encouraging good sportsmanship along the way. This game is an excellent opportunity for preschoolers to practice listening and motor skills.

Red Light, Green Light

An old favorite among outdoor games for preschoolers, Red Light, Green Light is easy to play for a few minutes or all afternoon. All you need is an open space with room to run. One player stands at the end of the field and says either “red light” (meaning the players must stop) or “green light” (meaning the players can go). The first player to reach the caller while obeying all commands wins the round. This game can be even more fun if the players are required to complete the course doing animal walks (bear, crab, bunny, etc.), backward, or holding a partner’s hand.

If your little one begins to tire of playgrounds or pool time, use these fun and simple outdoor games for preschoolers. You can also include the whole family to make memories together. If you are searching for childcare in a place that encourages physical activity and fun for your child, consider Legacy Academy Berkeley Lake. Call or visit today for more information.