15 Backyard Game Instructions

Here are the instructions for iMOM’s 15 Fun Backyard Games. First, print out the cards for the 15 Fun Backyard Games and place them in a hat. Let your children draw a card and head to the great outdoors to get the fun started.

1. Amoeba Tag

  • Two people are it.
  • They hold hands and chase people.
  • Any person they catch joins the chain by linking hands.
  • When another person is caught, they can stay together or split 2 by 2, but they must split even numbers and can link together at will.
  • This game is played until nobody is left.

2. Band-Aid Tag

  • One person is “It.”
  • Whenever someone is tagged by “It,” they must hold a band-aid (their hand) on the spot where they were tagged.
  • Then the game continues.
  • When someone runs out of band-aids, (they get tagged three times), they are frozen until two other people come over to free them.
  • The two other people need to tag the frozen person at the same time and count to 5.
  • Let the game continue for as long as it remains exciting and fun.
  • Switch the person who is “It” often.

3. Car Lot

  • Pick a category for Car Lot (i.e. fruit, cars, candy, etc.).
  • Once the category has been picked, select one child (or Mom is usually good at this part) to be “It” and send them to the middle of the playing area. Everyone else lines up at one end of the playing field.
  • Once lined up, the child (or Mom) that is “It” yells out three items within the category.
  • The children independently choose 1 of the 3 items to be.
  • When the “It” child calls out 1 of the 3 choices, everyone who picked that choice runs to the other end of the playing field trying to avoid being tagged by one of the “It” people.
  • If tagged, that child must sit down right when they are tagged.
  • When sitting down, the child may tag someone.
  • If someone is tagged by a seated person, the person sitting down may get back up and play the game. Example:It” calls out: The category is Fruit. “It” calls out the 3 choices: a. Apples  b. Oranges  c. Strawberries

(Wait for children to SILENTLY choose item) “It” calls: Apples (Apples run)

4. Catch the Dragon’s Tail

Equipment Needed: One rag or flag per dragon

  • Divide the children into teams of 6 or 8.
  • Have the children in each team form a line and then put their hands on the waist of the person in front of them to create a “dragon.”
  • The last person of the dragon, or tail, is given a rag to hang out of the back of their pants.
  • The object of the game is for the head to catch the tail and pull the rag from that player.
  • If he succeeds, he will become the new tail.
  • The old tail does not become the new head, he stays in his same order.
  • This game can be given a time limit in case a player is having trouble catching the tail.

5. Clothespin Tag

Equipment Needed: Clothespins

  • Hand any number of clothespins to all the kids. (The more clothespins everyone starts with, the longer the game lasts.) Have them pin them to their shirt sleeves, hems, pockets, etc.
  • Then have them all scatter on the playing field.
  • On the signal, everyone runs around snatching clothespins from one another, kneeling down to attach their newly-acquired prizes.
  • At the end of the game (usually a time-limit), the one with the most clothespins wins.

6. Dirty Diaper Tag

  • One person is “It.”
  • Whenever someone gets tagged, they become frozen until someone, who has not been tagged, crawls through their legs.

7. Dizzy Izzy Bat

Equipment needed: Two baseball bats

  • Split the group into two teams and designate a spotter for each team.
  • Place the two bats on the ground. Leave a lot of space between each of the bats (about 15-20 feet).
  • Have each team line up (relay style: one person behind the other) about forty feet from their team’s bat.
  • When the game begins, the first person in each line must run to the bat, pick it up, place the large end on the ground, bend over so their forehead is on the flat end of the bat, and spin around ten times.
  • They must then run back toward their group and tag the next person’s hand in line.
  • The entire group must complete the task.
  • The first team to have all members complete the task wins.

8. Everybody’s It

  • Designate the playing area and the boundaries.
  • Have the children spread about in a scatter formation.
  • On the signal to begin, all children are “It” and may tag any other children.
  • Once a player is tagged, they leave the playing area to perform the designated exercise or skill. Example: When you get tagged, you must leave the area, perform 10 jumping jacks, then you may enter the game again.
  • If two players tag each other at the same time, they must both leave the playing area.

9. Fire on the Mountain

  • Have the group lie flat on their backs.
  • When you say, “Fire on the mountain,” the group has to stand up as fast as possible.
  • The last one up has to then sit out until the end, or do 10 jumping jacks, push-ups, sit-ups, etc.
  • When the group is on their back, they are to lie perfectly still.
  • If you say something other than “Fire on the mountain” (Mickey Mouse, Montana, Mazda, etc.) and they flinch or begin to get up, then they have to sit out or do the 10 jumping jacks.

10. Shark and Octopus Tag

  • Everyone begins the game as an octopus and stands on one side of the playing field.
  • One person is chosen to be a shark and they will stand in the middle of the playing field.
  • Play begins when the shark calls out, “Octopus, Octopus, swim in my ocean!”
  • All players must run across the playing field trying to get to the other side without getting tagged by the shark.
  • Anyone who is tagged must sit down where they are tagged.
  • They now become the shark’s helpers.
  • When the shark calls out, “Octopus, Octopus, swim in my ocean!” again, the players will try to run back to the other side.
  • Anyone who runs within arms’ reach of the sitting players and gets tagged must sit down.
  • The game continues until there is only one person left.

11. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Game Setup: This game is suitable for 9–16 children. Before play begins, determine how long you will want to play (20 minutes, 30 minutes, etc.) and then designate the following areas on your playing field. (This diagram is for illustrative purposes only; use whatever works for your specific location.)

  • Starting Line
  • Snow White’s Castle
  • Dungeon

Assign each child to be one of the following Seven Dwarfs (double up if needed):

  • Bashful
  • Doc
  • Dopey
  • Grumpy
  • Happy
  • Sleepy
  • Sneezy

Select one player to be the Wicked Witch. Select one player to be Snow White.

Game Play: Explain that the witch has cast a spell on the dwarfs. The object of the game is to capture as many dwarfs as possible and imprison them in the Dungeon before the time is up without them being rescued by Snow White.

  • The witch calls out the name of one of the dwarfs, and they must run to the opposite end of the yard and back without being tagged by the Wicked Witch.
  • If a dwarf gets tagged, he must go to the Dungeon.
  • Once in the Dungeon, the dwarf can only be released by Snow White, who normally stays in the safety of her castle.
  • But once Snow White leaves the safety of her castle, the Wicked Witch can tag her.
  • If the Wicked Witch tags Snow White, or if she has any dwarfs at the games end, the witch wins.
  • If all the dwarfs are safe at the end of the game, as well as Snow White, the dwarfs and Snow White win the game.

12. Sock Tag

  • Have the children take their shoes off and pull their socks slightly off.
  • Children crawl around on the ground on their hands and knees and try to steal the other children’ socks.
  • Once both your socks are stolen, you’re out.
  • The last person with a sock on wins!

13. Spider Tag

Equipment Needed: 1-3 foam pool noodles

  • Divide the children into teams of 3.
  • To build a spider, the three players forming a team will interlock elbows while standing back to back.
  • Select 1 or 2 teams to be the “Its” and give the “Its” 1 noodle per team.
  • On your signal, the spiders who are “It” will attempt to tag another spider with the noodle (below the shoulders).
  • Upon tagging another spider, they will give the noodle to the tagged spider and leave.
  • The tagged spider must give the noodle to any one of their players, spin around 3 times, then they may chase after any other spider.

Following are the basic rules of the game:

  • Spiders must be connected when tagging another team.
  • If a fleeing team comes apart, they are counted as tagged.
  • Each time a spider is tagged, a different player in the group must have the noodle.
  • Upon being tagged, spiders must spin 3 times before chasing.
  • Taggers must tag below the shoulders.

14. Spoon Game

Equipment needed: Two cups, two spoons, two sections of long string (6–8 feet each).

  • Split the group into two teams.
  • Place each cup on the ground about 10 feet apart from each other, then have the teams line up about 30 feet away from the cups.
  • This will be a relay race.
  • Have each team line up their members one behind the other.
  • The first person in each line for each team ties the string around their waist with the spoon tied from the hanging end (spoon side to your back).
  • When the game begins, the first person on each team with the string around their waist races down, squats over the cup, and tries to get their spoon in the cup without using their hands.
  • Once they get it in, they run back to the line and help tie the string around the next person’s waist.
  • The first team to successfully have all members get the spoon into the cup and return to the starting line is declared the winner.

15. Toilet Tag

  • Select 1-3 children to be it.
  • All players scatter around the playing area, except the “Its”.
  • On a signal, the “Its” attempt to tag the players
  • When a player is tagged, he must assume a toilet position (one knee on the ground and the other knee up, one arm straight out to the side).
  • The tagged player must remain frozen in this position until they are rescued by another player.
  • To be rescued, a player must sit on the knee of the frozen player, grab their straight arm and make a “Whoosh” sound while pulling the arm down to simulate the flushing of a commode.
  • Once a player flushes the toilet of a frozen player, the frozen player is freed.
  • The game ends when a certain time limit has been met or when all players are frozen.