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20 Playground Games & Activities

This post is sponsored by the Voice of Play.  We are joining them this month to inspire families to get outside & explore their local playgrounds!


Spring is in the air and for so many children that means heading back to the playground!

We’ve already seen an increase in visitors to our neighborhood playground during our evening walks.  Getting the kids outside to climb, swing and slide is beneficial is so many ways:

It encourages them to be active — a lifelong skill that we all need to keep in mind 😉

Outdoor play has so many health benefits — fresh air, development of large motor skills and inspiring a connection with nature are just a few.

And most of all, free play time gives parents the chance to “not be the fun police” 🙂 

I speak from experience here! 

Letting the kids lose at the playground is the perfect opportunity for them to spread their wings while Mom and Dad watch from afar or build leadership skills as they take charge of a game.  Kids are able to practice their social skills with other children, put their manners into play (taking turns is SUCH an important life skill) and have a safe place to explore without being under the constant eye of their parents.

And it’s not all about JUST swinging — there are so many more fun things to do during your next trip to the playground!


20 Playground Games & Activities


1. Swing!

I know, I just said it’s not all about swinging BUT do take some time to enjoy this activity — I don’t care how old you are, swinging is just plain fun and pretty freeing too!  Plus it helps children build their core strength and balance.


2. Play Photo Freeze Dance! 

Have someone pull up a favorite song on their smart phone and let everyone dance.  Then turn the music off and all players have to ‘freeze’ without moving.  Be sure to take a few photos of the funny poses — kids will usually freeze in the best poses if they know you might snap their picture 🙂


3. Make a new friend! 

Always a fun thing to do and it’s good for kids to learn how to introduce themselves to others.


Playground ABC game for kids

4.  Go on an ABC Hunt

Inspire kids to practice their letters with this fun ABC Architecture Scavenger Hunt.


5. “Can You Hear Me?”

We love playgrounds that have the voice pipes or speaking tubes.  Tell jokes or secrets to the kids and see how well the tubes work 🙂


6. Play I-Spy

Try spying colors or letters — if you have older kids, make it challenging so they have to really think about what you’re spying.


Games and books for the playground

7. Enjoy Storytime

Take along a few of your favorite playground books and enjoy a story while you play! Here are a few of our favorite playground-related stories along with affiliate links so you can learn more about each one:

The Swing – this beautifully illustrated board book is based on the poem by Robert Louis Stevenson.  Read along with this simple poem and experience the joy of swinging!

Playground Problem – Part of the Robin Hill School Early Reader series, see what happens when the boys won’t let the girls play soccer at the playground.  A great book (and series) that teaches kids early problem-solving and communication skills.

Bruno & Lulu’s Playground Adventures is all about two friends who love to play at the playground!  Bruno, a squirrel, and Lulu, a chipmunk, shares all types of playground interactions in this early reader book.

How Do Dinosaurs Play with Their Friends? – while not exclusively about the playground, this story is perfect for young kids who need help understanding how to share the equipment and take their turn.


8. Practice counting

Challenge the kids to “swing 10 times, slide 10 times and tag 10 things” or count how many steps there are going up the slide.


9. Play tag! 

If it’s dusk, bring along flashlights and play flashlight tag!


10. Play Hopscotch

Bring along a piece of chalk and draw your favorite version of hopscotch.


Free printable Playground Scavenger Hunt


11. Go on a Playground Scavenger Hunt

Print this free printable playground checklist and see how many different types of equipment you can play on this year!


12. Be an Explorer

See how many animals you can spot or take along this free Spring nature scavenger hunt to use as you explore the park.


13. Walk the Line

Improve your balance by walking on the logs, stepping stools or other balance features at the park (this also improves your bravery too 😉


14. Play Hide and Seek

Always a fun game to play with friends or family members (if you have young kids, hide in ‘teams’).


15. Play an awesome game of “Simon Says”

No matter how many people you have with you, this game is always a great time!  And it’s even more fun when the adults get involved and let the kids be ‘Simon’.


16. Enjoy the Water

If there’s water at your local park, print off this free list of 20 Fun Things to do at the Pond!  Skipping rocks & spying on frogs are two of our favorites!


17.  Create your own Tick-Tac-Toe

Grab a few sticks and rocks for an impromtu game of tic-tac-toe!


 Playground games for kids

18. Have a Family Activitiy Challenge

Get everyone involved in a quick obstacle challenge!  Have each person choose their favorite piece of equipment or activity and then race around to complete the items together.

Yes, my daughter challenged me to go down the curvy slide and yes, I got stuck!


19. Skip to my Lou

Let the kids practice their skipping, jumping, hopping and any other fun activity that let’s them feel like they are flying or taller 🙂 


20. Create your own game!

Just let kids pretend!  We’ve played Pirate Ship, Travel to Disney and many other spur-of-the-moment games that our kids made up on the spot.  Not only is it fun to see them take the lead, we also have some great family memories too.



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