Six kids of different ages, genders, and nationalities playing outdoor games for kids without equipment on a grass playground

4 Outdoor Games for Kids Without Equipment

Playing outside can often require a ball, rackets, a rope, chalk, diverse toys, etc. However, sometimes all children need is some outdoor games for kids without equipment. This means high demand for creativity is a must!

A plain and simple outdoor field game day where kids can bond with each other fosters their imagination, improve their health, and most importantly get away from screens and the internet! 

The greatest thing about these games is that you do not need to bring a stitch of accouterments! Kids can play all 4 of these games pretty much anywhere and they require no equipment whatsoever.

We divided these games into two groups so you can easily navigate the ones you prefer the most. 


2 Outdoor Games for Kids in Group Without Equipment 

When outside, there is a high chance that kids will find themselves in a group of friends. This can be in casual gatherings for everyday play or some events like birthdays, celebrations, etc.  You can get everyone together for a good time by planning some games and activities.

These outdoor games have a lot of benefits and are suitable for different ages. Let’s check them.

#1 Tag

Very easy and popular game with the simplest rules and flow. One of the kids is ‘it’ and runs around chasing everyone, and the one who gets touched gets tagged. With some ground rules, this game can quickly turn very interesting. Also, the game is great for larger groups. The more kids you have the more fun will be.


Here are a few rules to follow:

  • No pushing and pulling, light touches only.
  • No plucking the hair or other areas.
  • There is no running out of bounds (all players must stay within the designated area).
  • Before ‘it’ starts chasing other players get a head start on running.
  • When an ‘it’ kid is unable to catch someone after a certain period, someone else becomes ‘it’ and tries to catch them (this helps kids not get stuck playing it for a long and prevents it to become boring).
  • If ‘it’ tags a player, that player becomes ‘it,’ and they should announce it loudly so everyone is aware and they can start over.

Game variations

Safe zone: Determine one area as a safe zone. In the safe zone, kids who are being chased cannot be tagged. However, make sure you limit the time when in the safe zone and also limit the number of players allowed in the safe zone at the same time.

Flashlight tag: The concept of the game is the same. However, the kid who is ‘it’ can tag other players by using the flashlight instead of touching them. This variation of the game is suitable to play at night in an open field.

Freeze tag: Rather than becoming the tagged person, they are frozen in place. The game is over when there is only one person left untagged. In the next round, that person becomes ‘it’.


What is this game good for? Playing outside and being active is always a better idea than staying inside looking at the screen. Kids have a healthy activity that can help develop their dexterity, imagination, socialization, and most importantly have lots of fun and laughs.

#2 Red rover

This game also is suitable for a larger group of kids. However, this game requires adult supervision.  

Split the kids into two groups, as even as possible. Each group should form a line with their hands linked together. The two lines face each other about 30 ft. apart. 

It begins with the first team calling out a player, singing: “Red rover, red rover, send [the name of the player on the opposite team] right over”.

When the player is called, he/she runs to the other team to break the chain formed by their hands. The player who fails to break the chain joins the opposing team. But, if the kid breaks the chain, he/she will get to pick one of the two players, whose arms they ran through. That person will join their team. When one team has every player, the game is over.

The game can get a bit aggressive and tripping and falling may occur. That’s why kids need to wear proper sports shoes and play this game on the field such as on grass. 

For that reason adult supervision is preferable. 

A few rules to follow:

  • No loose hand holding. When the player runs and the kids who are holding hands make them loose, the runner can easily fall. 
  • No tightly hand holding. Luckily, kids at a younger age are not that strong so this will probably not happen. However, it’s good to mention to them that they should not hold so tight so the runner can get hurt from the hit.
  • Divide the groups fairly. Mix boys and girls and make approximately equally strong teams.

What is this game good for? This game is good for spending that extra energy kids always have. It is also good for their physical development, dexterity, and coping. 

2 Outdoor Games for Kids Without Equipment for Family Gatherings

Whether out for a picnic, a casual walk in the park, or a simple field trip, families can have so much fun together. Usually, family gatherings include a large number of individuals of various ages, thus you will need activities that are easy to learn and enjoyable.

#1 Cops and robbers

As usual, this game doesn’t require any equipment, however, it requires a lot of physical activity. Let’s explain. 

Divide the family members into groups of two. Make sure that the team is as even as possible. The teams will be the cop’s team and the robber’s team. Give specifics on the game’s play area and the jail’s location. Now the fun part can begin! 

The team of cops needs to chase the robbers and catch them all. If they tag them, they have to go to ‘jail’- an area you determined as a jail. 

However, ‘free robbers’ have the power to release their team players by sneaking into the jail and tagging them. The aim of the game is for the cops to tag all the robbers and place them in jail. Once when that is done, the game is over. 

Rules to follow:

  • Divide the teams into two equal groups. When the game is over, you can switch teams.
  • Determine the playing field and the ‘safe zone before the game starts where robbers can hide and avoid being tagged.
  • Choose the object that needs to be stolen (this is only if you want to add some variations to the game) 

Game variations

  • When robbers are in jail and their teammates un-tag them, they have about 10 seconds to get away before the cops can tag them again.
  • To make the game more complicated, take an item/object that the robber will try to steal. The game is over once the robber steals the object and escapes from the cops, or when the cops tag and place in jail all the robbers.
  • Choose if you want the robbers to pass the thing from player to player. This will mostly depend on the item you chose. e.g. a ball will be easy to throw but a flag would be very difficult. Make every effort to provide a balanced and fair game.

What is this game good for? Probably one of the best games for teamwork. ‘Saving’ your teammate from jail develops a sense of compassion, and teamwork, as well as a sense of competence and the desire to win. This also refers to the ones that are in the copes group. Working together, developing strategies, and helping one another.

#2 Jockeys Up

Put all of your group members into pairs so that their weight and height are similar. In each pair, one person is the horse and the other is the jockey. The players labeled as horses should stand in a circle in the middle of the jockeys. Each one should face the back of the person in front of them. Jockeys should make a larger circle around the horses, facing the opposite direction.

The game starts when a non-player shouts, “Horses go!” and the horses begin galloping. Then, horses yell “Jockeys go” and they start galloping as well. 

As soon as the leader shouts “Jockey’s Up,” each jockey must jump the horse’s back. The winning team will be the last one remaining after eliminating everyone else.

Game variations

  • To spicy things a little bit you can tell them to change direction.
  • Add some additional rules to the game. Instead of galloping and jumping on horses’ backs, they need to obey instructions coming from a leader. Those rules are: ‘Jockey Up’- The jockeys need to put their hands on their horse’s shoulders. ‘Jockey Down’ – Jockey should put its hands down by its sides. ‘Jockey Switch’ – The jockeys and horses change places and switch their roles.

What is this game good for? The game is very fun yet it helps with building kids listening skills and helps them with their concentration span. It also aids kids to be more nimble and to learn the basics of teamwork. You can repeat the game and roles as long as kids have fun. The greatest thing of all about these outdoor games for kids without equipment is that parents get to enjoy them as well! 


  • Petra Moskatelo

    Petra is the main editor and writer here at Footmeter. She is passionate about helping people find the right solution. She holds a university Master's degree in pedagogy, and she knows a lot about children and learning.