What’s better than a warm spring or summer evening and kids running around outside, squealing with delight? Not much, I don’t think, and these neighborhood games are a great way to make that happen. Some of my best memories as a kid were made playing various neighborhood games out with a bunch of kids. The games listed here are perfect for both younger kids and older kids, although one is marked as good for middle school and older (younger kids could play, too). These would also be neighborhood games that the perfect party idea for any kids party.
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I have had so much fun teaching my kids some of my favorite neighborhood games from when I was growing up. I had a great neighborhood with kids of all ages, and we were outside all the time. My kids have learned new games, too, but it is amazing how the classics, like these, seem to be the ones that are played most frequently.
There is always whiffle ball and kickball, which are great, but these are the ones that don’t involve any supplies and can incorporate large numbers of people of all ages.
Here are some of our favorite classic neighborhood games for kids of all ages!
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Red Light, Green Light (perfect for younger kids + older kids)
What makes this game so great is that an unlimited number of players can play, and people of all ages can play, too.
- In this game, one person plays the “stop light” and the rest try to touch him or her.
- At the start, all the children form a line about 15 feet away from the stop light.
- The stop light faces away from the line of children and says, “green light.”
- With the green light command, the children are allowed to move or run towards the stoplight.
- At any time, the stop light may say “red light!” and turn around, the approaching children stopping in their tracks.
- If any of the children are caught moving after the red light command, they are out.
- Play resumes when the stop light turns back around and says “green light” again.
- The stop light wins if all the children are out before anyone is able to touch him or her.
- Otherwise, the first player to touch the stop light wins the game and earns the right to be “stop light” for the next game.
Freeze Tag (for younger kids + older kids)
This is another game that all ages can play as well as an unlimited number of people.
- In this game, one person is “it” and chases the other players around trying to tag them.
- If a player gets touched, then they are frozen and must stay in place.
- The player will remain frozen until another player who is not “it” unfreezes them by touching them.
- There is no winner and loser, just keep playing until everyone is sick of it, rotating who is “it.”
Ghost in the Graveyard (for middle school kids + older)
This game is again unlimited in players, but younger ones may not want to play just because it speaks of a ghost. This game is really fun when played in the dark. This is a neighborhood favorite over here.
- Pick a yard and landmark within that yard to be “home” such as a tree.
- Choose someone to be the ghost.
- The ghost runs off and hides while the other players stay at home base and chant, “One o’clock, two o’clock, three o’clock rock, four o’clock, five o’clock, six o’clock rock”….all the way up to twelve o’clock when they simply yell, “twelve o’clock—-midnight!!!”
- The players then run all over looking for the ghost.
- When they spot the ghost, they are to run from the ghost, trying to make it back to the “home.”
- If they get caught, they are out.
- Anyone who has been caught gathers around the home base.
- The game continues until everyone is caught.
- Repeat as many times as you want.
Red Rover (for older kids + older kids)
For this game you will need at least eight players to form two teams.
- Each equal team forms a line and holds hands, teams standing facing each other a good 20 feet or so apart.
- One team will chant to the other team saying, “Red rover, red rover let (insert name of player from the other team) come over.”
- The child whose name was called then runs from their line and tries to break through the linked line of kids.
- If they are successful, they return to their team, if they are not, they join the new team who called them over.
- Play continues until one team no longer exists.
Sardines (perfect for younger kids + older kids)
Sardines is similar to hide and seek, only in reverse. Any age and any number of children can play.
- Whoever is “it” hides as normal
- When the counters look for that person and find them, they must hide in the same spot along with them. This really gets fun when a lot of people are playing.
- Play continues until there is only one counter. Laughter is always abundant in this game.
Encourage your children to get out and enjoy good weather on the weekend, or even during the year. Better yet, get out and join them. You can be the “cool mom” who plays right along with all the kids!