Move Yourself to Better Health


Physical Activity

Active Games

Outdoor Play For Schools For Workplaces Sedentary Time  Walking 
group of children running in a field

Physical activity and play are some of the important ingredients to growing up happy, healthy and strong!  Active games are a great way for kids to get moving while having fun.


Tag Games

kgirls running outside

Cops and Robbers

Players: 5 or more
Equipment: None

Instructions:

  1. The players are split into two teams; the cops (2 players) and the robbers (the rest of the players).
  2. The cops are in pursuit of tagging the robbers. When tagged, the robber is put in “jail” or a designated area in the field or backyard.
  3. Robbers may “jail break”. This is done when a robber runs towards the jail and tags a robber in jail without being tagged themselves.
  4. The game is over when all robbers are in jail.

Octopus

Players:  15 or more
Equipment: None

Instructions:

  1. One player is the octopus and is “it” and they stand in the middle of the play area, like a backyard or soccer field.
  2. The other players line up at one end and they are the fish.
  3. The octopus yells “Octopus” and all the other children try to run to the other side without being tagged.
  4. If tagged you become seaweed, and become frozen. They must wave their arms to help tag other passing fish.
  5. The last fish to be tagged becomes the octopus in the next round.

Freeze Tag

Players: 3 or more
Equipment: None

Instructions:

  1. One person is “it” and is trying to tag the other players.
  2. When tagged you become frozen.
  3. Another player can unfreeze you by giving you a high-5.
  4. When all players are frozen the game is over!

Icicle Tag

Players: 3 or more
Equipment: None

Instructions:

  1. One player is “it” and stands in middle of the playing area. Everyone else stands on one end of the area in a line.
  2. The player who is “it” must pick an action for everyone to do, like running, bunny hopping, crab walking, crawling, etc.
  3. Everyone must try to get to the other side doing that action without being tagged.
  4. If tagged, you are frozen until another player unfreezes you.
  5. Goal is for everyone to reach the other side!
mother playing tag with kids

Dead Ant Tag

Players: 6 or more
Equipment: None

Instructions:

  1. One person is “it” and chases the others in attempt to tag them.
  2. When tagged, the player must lay down like a dead ant – lay down on the ground with hands and feet sticking up in the air.
  3. In order for the ant to become alive again, four people must tag one limb each.
  4. Once dead 3 times, this player is also “it”.

Werewolf

Player: 3 or more
Equipment: none

Instructions:

  1. Choose one player to hide, they are the werewolf.
  2. The rest close eyes and count to 30. They then go and search for the werewolf.
  3. When someone finds the werewolf, they must shout “werewolf!”
  4. The werewolf can now run out of hiding and chase the players.
  5. If tagged, you also become “it” with the werewolf.
  6. Last person not tagged is the werewolf in the next round.

Lava Monster

Players: 2 or more
Equipment: None

Instructions:

  1. This is usually played on the jungle gym/playground at your local park.
  2. One player is the monster and they are on the ground. The rest of the players must stay off the ground (sand, woodchips).
  3. The monster will try to tag the players as they navigate on the playground equipment.
  4. If tagged, join the monster!

What time is it Mr. Wolf?

Players: 3 or more
Equipment: None

Instructions:

  1. One player is chosen to be Mr. Wolf and stands at the other end of the driveway or backyard with their back to the group.
  2. The other kids chant, “What time is it Mr. Wolf?”
  3. Mr. Wolf can respond in one of two ways:

If you are tagged, you become the wolf!

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Games with a ball

children outside chasing a ball

Catch

Players: 2 or more
Equipment: Throwing object (soft ball, football, Frisbees) and baseball glove (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Take turns throwing the object back and forth.

Ideas to make it more fun or challenging:

Horse

Players: 2 or more
Equipment: Basketball and Basketball Net

Instructions:

two boys playing basketball
  1. Decide on the order of turns (who goes first)
  2. The first player then makes any kind of shot at the net
  3. If Player 1 makes the shot, Player 2 has to try to make the same shot from the same place and using the same style that Player 1 did.
  4. If Player 2 makes the shot then Player 3 (or Player 1 depending on how many players you have) attempts the same shot…so on and so forth.
  5. But if Player 1 misses that first shot, the second player becomes the ‘leader’
  6. Each time a players misses a shot, another letter is added to their score, beginning with H, then O, R, S, and finally E. When a player spells HORSE, they are out of the game.
  7. The last person standing wins!

Lawn Bowling

Players: 2 or more
Equipment:  5 to 10 plastic water bottles, soccer ball

Instructions:

  1. Weigh down the bottles with some dirt to act as bowling pins.
  2. Set the pins on a flat surface and have players try to knock down as many pins as possible in two attempts.
  3. If a player knocks down all pins in one attempt then it is a ‘strike’, in two attempts, a ‘spare’.

Bottle-Bash Soccer

Players: 4 or more
Equipment: Soccer ball and 10 plastic water bottles partly filled with water

Instructions:

  1. Divide players into two teams.
  2. Have team members make a line of 5 bottles each, with the two lines of bottles at least 10m apart. Bottles in each line should be at least 25cm apart.
  3. Players then pass the ball to their own team players and try knocking over the other team’s bottles, while guarding your own bottles.
  4. There are no boundaries, so players can attack from any direction.
  5. The team to knock over all of the other team’s bottles wins!

Spud

Players: 4 or more
Equipment: A soft ball

Instructions:

  1. Each game starts with the person who is “it”, throwing the ball high up into the air.
  2. When the ball is in the air, the other players begin to run away.
  3. When the “it” person catches the ball, they yell “spud” and everyone must stop running.
  4. The person who is “it” can then take 3 big steps in any direction.
  5. They throw the ball at another player (below the waist) and if hit, that player becomes “it”.
children throwing ball into the air
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Skipping songs

children skipping

Equipment: Skipping rope
Instructions: Sing one of the following songs as you skip - one player jumping the rope and 2 others turning the rope (or 1 person turning and the other end tied to something at waist height).

Jack be Nimble Jack be Quick

Jack be nimble Jack be quick, Jack jumped over the candle stick. Mumble (allow time for the person to do the mumble), Kick (allow time for the person to do the kick), Sizzler (allow time for the person to do the sizzler), Split (allow time for the person to do the split), Pop (allow time for the person to do the Pop), Hit It – 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.

Mumble – by putting both feet together and making very small hops
Kick – kicking one foot outward and then back
Sizzler – crossing and uncrossing feet and legs as you jump
Split – open and closing legs as you jump
Pop – jumping high with both feet coming off the ground together

Apples, Peaches, Pears and Plums

Apples, peaches, pears and plums,
Jump out when your birthday comes,
Is it January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December
(Child jumps out when their birthday month is called)

Bluebells

Bluebells, cockle shells, eevy ivy over!
My mother sent me to the store
And this is what she sent me for:
Salt,
Vinegar,
Peppers!
1, 2, 3, 4, 5…
(Keep counting to see how long you can skip)

High, Low, Medium, Slow

High, low, medium, slow,
Jolly ol’ pepper and away we go!
(Turn the rope according to the words: “High” – the skipping rope is a foot off the ground; “Low” – the skipper bends down to skip; “Medium” – normal skipping; “Slow” – slow skipping; “Pepper” – really fast skipping)

woman and young girl skipping

Teddy Bear

Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear,
Turn around (skipper turns around)
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear,
Touch the ground (skipper touches the ground)
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear,
Tie your shoe (skipper hits his shoe)
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear,
How old are you?
1, 2, 3, 4, 5…
(Continue counting out loud. The skipper jumps out when his age is called)

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Other group games

kids playing outside

Duck, Duck, Goose

Player: 4 or more
Equipment: None

Instructions:

  1. All children sit in a circle facing inwards.
  2. One child stands and walks around the outside of the circle, tapping each child on top of the head saying “duck”.
  3. Finally they will tap a child on the head and say “goose” and then take off running around the circle.
  4. The child labelled goose gets up and runs around the circle in the same direction as the other in attempt to tag them.
  5. The race is back to the empty spot in the circle.
  6. The first back wins!

Musical Chairs:

Players: 5 or more
Equipment: Music and chairs (one fewer than the number of participants).

Instructions:

  1. Place the chairs in a circle.
  2. Start the music and all the players will dance around the chairs in a clockwise direction to the sound of the beat.
  3. When the music is stopped, the players must try to sit down on a chair as quickly as possible.
  4. The player that doesn’t find a chair in time is out!
  5. Remove one chair and repeat process until there are only two players left and one chair. The player to sit in that chair wins!
kids playing musical chairs

One person games

girl playing hopscotch in rainboots

Hopscotch

Players: 1 or more
Equipment: Hopscotch Grid (made with side-walk chalk) and a small object

Instructions: 

  1. The first player tosses the object into one of the numbered sections. That player then hops through the course, skipping the square with the object in it.
  2. Single squares must be hopped on one foot.
  3. Upon successful completion of the sequence, the next player continues the turn by tossing the object into another numbered square, and repeating the pattern.

Hula Hooping

Players: 1
Equipment: Hula hoop

Instructions:

  1. Step into the hula hoop and bring it up to your waist.
  2. Spin the hula hoop and use your hips to keep it moving in a circle.

Jump Rope (Single)

Players: 1
Equipment: Individual skipping rope

Instructions:

  1. Stand up and pick up the rope.
  2. Step over the rope.
  3. Use your hands and wrists to swing the rope over your head.
  4. When the rope is coming toward the front of your feet, hop over it.

You can sing different skipping songs as you skip – some of the songs have actions or different types of jumps you do while skipping and singing.

boy playing jump rope

Target Practice

Players: 1
Equipment: A ball or something to toss

Instructions:

  1. Choose different target spots on different objects. For example you could tape an ‘X’ on a fence, put a basket on a chair, put a plastic cup on a table, or anything else that won’t get damaged as a target.
  2. Stand at a distance where you think you could throw the ball to hit the target and try throwing.
  3. If you were able to hit the target then put a rock, stick or a mark (you can use chalk) so you know where you could hit the target from, then try moving farther away or to a different spot and try hitting the same target.
  4. If you were not able to hit the target, then try moving closer and throwing again. 

The goal is to see from how many different spots you can hit the target, or how far away you can stand and still hit the target. To make it harder, try this game for each arm (play the game with one target using your right arm to throw, and then play the game using your left arm to throw).

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Do you have an active game idea you would like to share? Please email us at physicalactivity@durham.ca and your active game idea could be shared here too!

For more ideas, visit:

Toronto Public Health
ParticipACTION - Bring Back Play