Nostalgic Outdoor Games That Will Make You Wish You Were Young Again

One of the joys of being a kid is playing outside with friends, or even by yourself. Children have been playing made-up games or those that have been passed down generation to generation since humans had the luxury to do so. Although there’s no limit to the number of games that can be created, there are a select few that have withstood the test of time with people from many generations remember how they played those select few games. Remember Red Rover? What about lesser known games like Spud and Kick The Can?Here are some of our most memorable outdoor games and their basic rules that will make you wish you were a kid again. Which games do you remember playing?

Don’t forget about fun in the pool!

Tag Is Classic In Its Simplicity

Tag
JERRY HOLT/Star Tribune via Getty Images
JERRY HOLT/Star Tribune via Getty Images

Arguably the most popular and timeless of outdoor games is tag. Played between just a few or numerous people, it’s a game that can virtually be played anywhere and for an unlimited amount of time. The person who is “it” chases the other players around trying to “tag” them.

If the “it” participant touches one of the players, that player is now it and has to tag someone else in order to no longer be the chaser. Although people have their own versions and rules, the basic premise remains the same and has for a long time.

Freeze Tag Is A Fun Variation On Tag

Freeze Tag
Paul Aiken/Digital First Media/Boulder Daily Camera via Getty Images
Paul Aiken/Digital First Media/Boulder Daily Camera via Getty Images

If a regular old game of tag isn’t cutting it, it might be time for freeze tag. The rules are basically the same as tag but if the “it” person tags someone, the person they tag has to “freeze” where they are.

The only way they can get back in the game is if another participant who isn’t it tags you back in. The object of the game is for the person who’s “it” to freeze all the players.

Red Rover, Red Rover Send Somebody Over To Play

Red Rover
Joe Sohm/Visions of America/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Joe Sohm/Visions of America/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Now, this game is not for the faint of heart. Two teams stand around 20 feet from each other. Each time forms a line with the teammates holding hands to create a barrier. The teams then take turns calling out “Red Rover, Red Rover send [an opponents name] right over!”

The person whose name is called then runs as fast as they can at the other team, running into the chain of linked hands. If they break through they can take an opponent back to their side, but if they don’t, they have to join the other team.

Musical Chairs Is Fun And Chaotic

Musical Chairs
Jeff Gritchen/Digital First Media/Orange County Register via Getty Images
Jeff Gritchen/Digital First Media/Orange County Register via Getty Images

Chairs are arranged in a circle facing outward with one less chair than there are people. One person is needed to be in charge of the music. When the music starts, the players start circling the chairs and when it stops, players sit in the chair closest to them.

The person who doesn’t sit in a chair fast enough is out of the game and takes a chair with them. This process is repeated until there is one winner.

Marco Polo Is A Fun Pool Time Activity

Marco Polo
Gregor Fischer/picture alliance via Getty Images
Gregor Fischer/picture alliance via Getty Images

Marco Polo can be played in just about any body of water, although a pool is safer and more preferable. It’s a spin on tag and the person who is “it” has to close their eyes and try to find the other players by only sound.

The “it” person yells “Marco!” and the other players in the pool must respond by yelling “Polo!.” This way, the person who is it has an idea where the other players are. The person who is tagged first is now “it.”

Remember the game about traffic lights? That’s coming up soon.

Freeze Dance Is Exactly What It Sounds Like

Freeze Dance
Jeff Gritchen/Digital First Media/Orange County Register via Getty Images
Jeff Gritchen/Digital First Media/Orange County Register via Getty Images

Similar to musical chairs, one player needs to be in charge of the music. When the music starts, all of the participants start dancing as crazy as they can. The moment the music stops, the players have to freeze exactly where they are.

Any player that is caught moving is disqualified from the game. This continues until one person remains and is named the freeze dance champion. This game can be played with as many players as you want.

Kick The Can Is A Longtime Classic

Kick The Can
Krissy/Twitter
Krissy/Twitter

For kick the can, one person or a team is picked as “it,” and a can is placed in the middle of the designated playing area. The team who isn’t it runs and hides while the “it” team covers their eyes and counts to an agreed upon number.

Those who are “it” then go searching for the other players. If a player is tagged they are taken to a holding area. If a member of their team manages to kick the can, the captured players are released. The game is over when the “it” team has captured everyone.

Four Square Is Serious Business

Four Square
John Parra/WireImage
John Parra/WireImage

Four square is a ball game that is played on a small court that is separated into four squares. Each of the squares is ranked with the highest number being one and the lowest four. Players bounce a ball into each other’s square successfully without hitting their own square or going out of bounds.

Doing either of these results in a demotion of numbers. The objective is to make it all the way to square one. In some cases, the person in square one is allowed to make other rules for gameplay.

Hopscotch Is More Complex Than You Might Remember

Hopscotch
Andia/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Andia/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

By any means necessary, whether it’s chalk, tape, or rope, you can create a hopscotch grid. Number the squares from one to nine and place a stone on square one. Hop over the stone, and following the grid’s pattern.

When you get to the end, turn around and go back, stopping on one foot to pick up the stone with one hand before going back to square one. Continue this pattern with square 2, 3, 4, etc. If you toss the rock onto the wrong square, your turn is over.

Red Light, Green Light Is Traffic Safety 101

Red Light Green Light
RecessStories/YouTube
RecessStories/YouTube

This game requires one person to be the traffic light who stands a distance away from the rest of the players. The traffic light then turns their back to the other players and says “green light!”

All the other players try to get as close as they can before the traffic light turns around and says “red light!” If anyone is spotted moving after red light is called, they have to go all the way back to the beginning. The first person to touch the traffic light takes over the job.

Coming up: Ever play spud?

Marbles Is A Classic And Can Be Played Almost Anywhere

Marbles
JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP/Getty Images
JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP/Getty Images

In order to play marbles, competitors first draw a circle in the sand, dirt, grass, or with chalk in order to create the playing field. Players then take turns flicking their large marble into the circle in order to knock their opponent’s marbles out.

Of course, there are countless variations to the game depending on where you live. In some areas, the goal is to hit a target first, and in others, the goal is to knock marbles out of the circle.

Tail Tag Is Another Spin-Off From The Classic Game

Tail Tag
Tubl Trak/YouTube
Tubl Trak/YouTube

Tail tag is similar to regular tag although there are some differences. Each player has a piece of cloth that they feed through their belt loop or stick in their pants, leaving it exposed. The objective of the game is to steal other people’s piece of cloth or “tails,” while simultaneously protecting your own.

If your tail is taken, you’re out of the game. The player who collects the most “tails” without having their own taken is the winner of the game.

Telephone Is Goofy Fun For Large Groups

Telephone
Stephanie Rabemiafara/Art in All of Us/Getty Images
Stephanie Rabemiafara/Art in All of Us/Getty Images

To play telephone, players sit in a circle and decide on who goes first. The player who is chosen then comes up with a sentence or a phrase and whispers it to the person next to them. The phrase is repeated around the circle until it reaches the last person.

The last person then says the phrase out loud and everyone laughs about how much the message has changed from the beginning of the game. The game is best played with a large group of people.

Pickle Is A Fun Summertime Game To Hone Your Sports Skills

Pickle
Craig F. Walker/The Denver Post via Getty Images
Craig F. Walker/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Pickle is a great game to play for fun, or if you’re trying to hone your baseball skills. All you need is at least three players, two bases, and a ball of some kind. The bases are set up around 20 feet apart with two of the players standing on them.

The two “Fielders” toss the ball back and forth while the “runner” attempts to avoid being tagged by the fielders. If they successfully make it to the base it’s a point and if they are tagged it’s an out.

Spud Isn’t About A Potato At All

Spud
Pinterest
Pinterest

To play spud, every player is given a number before crowding around the person who’s “it.” The “it” person then throws a ball directly in the air and runs away along with the other players.

The “it” person then calls out the number of a player who then has to grab the ball. Once they are in possession of the ball that person yells “Spud!” Everyone then freezes, and the person with the ball tries to throw the ball and hit someone. If they miss, they are now “it.”

Blind Man’s Bluff Is Actually Kind Of Dangerous But Interesting

Blind Man's Bluff
MARLIN LEVISON/Star Tribune via Getty Images
MARLIN LEVISON/Star Tribune via Getty Images

Very popular in Tudor and Victorian England, blind man’s bluff is a twist on tag, although it is considered to be much more dangerous. The person who is it not only has to tag the other players but has to do so while blindfolded.

Although it is a fun game, it’s important to make sure that it’s played in a safe area. Having someone running around while blindfolded can result in an injury if everyone isn’t careful.

Jacks Is A Classic That Tests Your Hand-Eye Coordination

Jacks
Pinterest
Pinterest

Using a flat surface, players scatter the doss like they’re throwing dice. The player whose turn it is then tosses the ball up in the air, lets it bounce once, and collects a certain amount of jacks before the ball bounces for a second time.

The number of jacks picked up goes in order starting at one and increases by one each round. Although there are a lot of variations to the rules, the concept is relatively the same.

Hide And Seek Is About Hiding. It’s Also About Seeking.

Hide And Seek
Luis Antonio Rojas for The Washington Post via Getty Images
Luis Antonio Rojas for The Washington Post via Getty Images

One of the more classic outdoor games out there, hide and seek has been played for generations, with countless twists. However, the original version is played with the “it” person closing their eyes and counting to an agreed upon number.

The other players then run away and find a hiding spot. The first player to be spotted and and tagged is now the “it” person for the next round. The great thing about this game is that it can be played just about anywhere.

Simon Says Read This Game’s Info

Simon Says
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Pinterest

Another game that can be played just about anywhere is Simon Says. One person is chosen to be Simon and begins the game by saying, “Simon says [insert action].” Everyone in the game must then follow the requested action.

However, if Simon doesn’t say “Simon says” and people do the action, those who do the action are out. The last person still in the game at the end is the new Simon for the next round.

H-O-R-S-E Is Grammatical And A Sport, Take That Scrabble!

Horse
Andrew Aitchison / In pictures via Getty Images
Andrew Aitchison / In pictures via Getty Images

When playing “horse,” one player shoots a basketball into the hoop however they want. The other players then has to perform the same action, but if they miss, they receive a letter starting with “H.”

The first person to receive all of the letters to spell out “horse” loses the game. The positions change, so if the player shooting the initial shot misses, the opportunity is passed on to the person who is next in line.