Games for kids don’t have to include a screen, batteries or a smartphone charger. Whether you’re on the hunt for outdoor games or indoor games for kids, we’ve got you covered. Check out the completely cool classic two-player games that will keep your kiddos busy all summer long—and throughout the rest of the year too. Get ready for some serious nostalgia with these all-time favorite finds!
You spend hours of sunny summer camp hours playing cat’s cradle with your BFF. Now it’s your child’s turn! Check out the super-fun string game instructions from Moms Minivan here!
Do you have a basketball net or access to one? The first player picks a spot and tries to make a basket. If they get the ball in the basket, the other player has to follow from the same space and in the same way. Miss the shot and get an “H.” The game continues, adding an O-R-S-E one by one as players miss shots. The first one to spell HORSE is out. Change the game and pick a different word to spell!
Hand Clap Fun
From pat-a-cake to Miss Mary Mack, two-person hand clap games provide plenty of indoor or outdoor entertainment for your child—minus a screen.
Are you on the search for outdoor games for kids? Let the sun lead the way during this game of tag. Head into the yard and look for your shadows. Pick one player to be it and yell “go.” The “it” player tags the other player’s shadow to win. Not only is this a fun-filled summer game, but it’s also an easy way to social distance when you head outside to play.
Mother May I
Mother, may I take a step forward? Like red light/green light, this old school game helps kids to build self-control skills. If you haven’t played the game in years, one player asks, “Mother may I ..?” And the other either says, “Yes you may” or “No.” Even though you’re the mama, take turns playing the role of mother for this game.
Red Light, Green Light
Does your child sometimes struggle to stop when you say freeze? Help your kiddo to build self-control with this nostalgic playful pick. Create your own pretend play street, stand across from each other and call out “green light” to move and “red light” to stop. Switch callers every other game and keep the activity going.
Introduce your child to a good old game of jacks. This indoor game is an easy activity to take the boredom out of a rainy afternoon. Grab a bouncy ball, pick up a pack of jacks, and get ready for a game of pick up. Not only is this a fun-filled family activity, but jacks also help your young child build fine motor and math skills. Don't remember how to play? Find the rules here.
Put your stockpile of sidewalk chalk to work with this outdoor game for kids. Draw a hopscotch board together, find the perfect pebble to toss and play the number-filled game together. If your child tires of the traditional board, change things up and use letters, shapes or almost anything else your creative kid can draw.
Hide and Seek
Whether you’re looking for outdoor games or indoor games for kids, hide and seek is an old school pick that the littles always enjoy. Turn the tables on your kiddo and let them play the role of the seeker as you hide!
A childhood fave from way back, 20 questions gives your littles the chance to flex their critical thinking skills. Pick a person, place or thing, and let your kiddos ask away. Of course, they can only pick “yes” or “no” questions for you to answer. Bonus—this game also helps your child to build counting skills!
This one’s another standby that’s great for long car rides, days at the park or just about anywhere else! Spy something that’s a color, that starts with a specific letter or is a certain size. Kick the game off yourself, and then let your kids take their turn spying with their own eyes.
I’m Going on a Picnic
Sharpen memory skills and reinforce your kiddo’s alphabet prowess with this simple alphabet story game. The first player starts by saying, “I’m going on a picnic, and I’m going to bring …” Then, the player adds an item that begins with the letter “A” (i.e. “apples”). The next player repeats what the first player said, and adds their item beginning with the letter “B” (“I’m going on a picnic, and I’m going to bring apples… and bananas”). And so on. The object of the game is to get as far into the alphabet as you can while still remembering all the alphabetized items.
One, two, three, four, let’s have a thumb war! Stick out those dominant hands and get your thumbs ready to wrestle with this simple game that can be played anywhere thumbs are found. Don’t remember how to play? Here’s an easy how-to video by Howcast.
Simon says to try this game with your kids instead of handing them your phone the next time you’re waiting for anything. Simon also says click here to find the rules of the game—as if you didn’t already know.
Rock, Paper, Scissors
Get your game hands on and “shoot!” Want to know how to be a Rock Paper Scissors star? Watch this fun video from Buzzfeed on “How to Win at Rock Paper Scissors.”
—Melissa Heckscher & Erica Loop
Featured image: iStock