Kids have unending supplies of energy, especially during the summer months. Get your family out of the house to burn off some of that extra fuel with some great outdoor games! Teamwork, cooperation, and hand-eye coordination can all be built while while enjoying a little bit of friendly competition. These nine outdoor sports and games are all free to play and you might recognize a couple classics from your childhood. Read on to find out more!
photo credit: borisdenis via flickr
What is it about tennis balls that make them so fun to play with? The bouncy qualities mean you hardly even need a racket for younger players to go wild, but kids will love trying to whack the ball. Watch a few clips of Venus and Serena to get in the right frame of mind, and be sure to get those grunts in! Schools and parks everywhere have free tennis courts—try Lents Park, with its many courts. If your little athletes fall in love with the sport, consider enrolling them in tennis lessons.
4808 SE 92nd Ave.
2. Frisbee Golf
The game might be simple (throw the disc!) but the challenges and fun abound. While you can pay for great disc golf courses all over, try making your own course by choosing targets one-by-one. Or head to Piers Park in St. John’s for a free course that weaves around giant Douglas Firs. It’s a bit tough, but always fun!
9298 N Bruce Ave.
photo credit: Craig via flickr
This classic game is great for any age, with lots of fun and an easy ways to learn. The big ball is great for smaller kids learning to kick and run, but bigger kids will get some good distance on it! Pick a place with a large field and lots of space to run around (try out the massive Happy Valley Park), then flex those kicking muscles and go!
Happy Valley Park
13770 SE Ridgecrest Rd
Happy Valley, Or.
Nothing is cuter than watching a troop of kiddos running after a soccer ball! Take the family out for your own version of soccer for the same amount of fun. Choose a smaller field with makeshift goals for little kid, or run it out on the whole field! Invite your friends and neighbors for an even bigger game!
Brentwood City Park
60th SE Duke St.
Photo credit: Pablo Punk via Flickr
5. Spike Ball
You’ll need to purchase or find a friend with the net, but once you’ve got that, you can take this pretty much anywhere with grass or sand. A challenging and fun cross between volleyball and four square, players take turns bouncing a ball, hitting it three times before it can hit the net again. Once the ball is served, there are no boundaries or sides, so you gotta move! You don’t need a lot of space for this game, so you can head to smaller parks like Hillsboro’s Turner Creek.Learn more about Spikeball.
Turner Creek Park
789 SE 31st Ct.
6. Pickle Ball
Another hybrid sport that’s gaining popularity, Pickleball combines elements of tennis, badminton, and ping pong into an easy-to-learn game great for all ages. Players use paddles to hit a plastic ball with holes back and in a fast-paced game. It’s a fun new challenges for older players, while still being easy and accessible for younger! You can play anywhere that has tennis courts, like Colonel Summers Park in SE Portland. Learn more about Pickleball.
Colonel Summers Park
SE 17th Ave & Taylor St.
photo credit: Dave Parker via flickr
7. Four Square or Hopscotch
This is an old-school game that never actually gets old. If you haven’t played hopscotch in forever, it’s actually a bit harder than you remember! Look up the original rules or make your own. And four square is a simple game with hours of fun. The upside of these is that you can play literally anywhere there’s a free patch of concrete–even in your own driveway!
8. Beach Volleyball
The classic beach game is always fun, and easy to adjust to different levels of expertise. Younger kids will enjoy throwing the ball and forth, while older kids can be challenged to an all-out throw down. And when it’s too hot, take a plunge in the water to cool off before coming back for more! Head to Collins Beach on Sauvie Island for an expansive beach–draw a line in the sand and get scoring!
Collins Beach, Sauvie Island
38155 NW Reeder Rd
photo credit: Lance via flickr
9. Hide and Seek
You might have thought you outgrew this game, but the thrill of discovering someone is always fun. If you smaller kids, limit the area to the playground and have an adult keep a watchful eye out. Older kids can be given more space–add twists like a capture the flag challenge or water balloons. A park with trees and good landscape variety is great for this, like Mt. Tabor Park.
Mt. Tabor Park
4110 SE Hawthorne Blvd
What’s your favorite outdoor game? Tell us in the comments below!