13 Fantastic Free and Low-Cost Garden Games for Kids

Jill Holtz

July 3, 2020

garden games for kids

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We’re all spending plenty of time in our gardens these days, so we’ve been on the lookout for new games and ideas for amusing the kids. Here are 13 fantastic free and low-cost garden games for kids, guaranteed to have the kids running around and screaming with laughter!

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Most of these games are free or won’t cost much to organise. From ball tosses and scavenger hunts to sensory walks, there’s something for all ages and interests!

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Fun Garden Games for Kids to Play

#1. Ball Toss

ball toss game

Image: Family Fun Magazine

This game is fun for learning some adding up skills as well as being a cool garden game.

You Will Need

  • at least one small ball to toss
  • hula hoops (or you can use skipping ropes to make circles)
  • wooden skewers
  • paper
  • marker pen

Prep for the game

  1. Use the sandwich skewers to make some flags with folded paper stuck onto the top marked with a number for points, e.g. 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30 depending on how many hula hoops you have.
  2. Lay out your hula hoops or circles of rope on the ground and insert the flags in each circle.

To Play Ball Toss

  1. Each player takes their turn to toss the ball five times to see how many points they can add up to make their score.
  2. One person keeps track of scores. You can have several rounds and the person with the most points at the end of the game is the Ball Toss winner.

There’s also a variation of this using water balloons and even more maths! Check out Parents.com for all the details.

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#2. Obstacle Course

Obstacle course ideas - Mykidstime

My two kids love obstacle courses and will plead for me to set one up in the garden. You can do this lots of different ways, one way is as a path around the garden that they have to follow with different obstacles to climb on, jump over, crawl under etc.

We have lots of fun obstacle course tips and ideas here.

#3. Ice Excavations

Ice Excavations

Image: My Little Babog

Take some small toys such as miniature animals, cars and figurines. Place the toys into a small plastic bowl or box, fill it with water and freeze.

The next morning tap the end of the bowl or box to remove the ice block and let the kids excavate their way through the ice to retrieve their toys with some plastic spoons, toy hammers and anything child-friendly that you can find!

#4. Sticks and Stones Tic Tac Toe

nature tic tac toe red ted art

Image: Red Ted Art

I love this idea from Red Ted Art to make a nature tic tac toe game with sticks and painted stones. They have made yellow bees and red ladybirds. If you can’t find enough stones, you could recycle plastic lids and paint them.

And if you are not that artistic you could use a set of stones and a set of pinecones for the 2 players.

#5. Giant Matching Game

giant outdoor memory game 123homeschool4me

Image: 123HomeSchool4me.com

Make a giant matching game for the kids to test their memory with outdoors! This idea from 123HomeSchool4me uses paper plates and fun pairs of drawings.

Or you can make your own cards by printing doubles of designs and then pasting the sheets onto cardboard. Then mix them up and lay them out on the ground for a giant matching game.

You’ll find free printable memory games on the Memozor with lots of designs to choose from, from letters to fruit to animals.

#6. Bean Bag Toss

bean bag toss modpodgerocksblog

Image: Mod Podge Rocks

Make a simple bean bag toss with a set of bowls labelled with points – the further the bowl, the higher points. Then each person takes turns to toss the bean bags and see how many points they can score.

Have a scorer keep track of a few rounds and the one with the highest points in the end is the Bean Bag Tosser King or Queen!

You can get a detailed instructions on making this game using clay pot saucers with a free printable on Mod Podge Rocks.

#7. Outdoor Twister

Outdoor Twister Game sassy style redesign

Image: Sassy Style Redesign

How about a fun game of Outdoor Twister? This is super easy to set up, you just need some paint to make your coloured circles in the garden in rows.

You’ll find all the instructions for setting up yard twister on Sassy Style Redesign.

#8. Limbo Limbo

wooden limbo game amazon

Bring this favourite indoor party game outdoors! For the limbo – this can be a long flexible stick, a broomstick, rope or hose. The object of the game is to see who can limbo under at the lowest point.

How To Play Limbo

  1. Two people hold the limbo stick (or rope) about 4 feet up from the ground while everyone else lines up.
  2. Everyone takes a turn to go under the stick by walking forward and bending backward to limbo under the stick. If they touch the stick they are out.
  3. Once everyone has had a turn going under the limbo stick lower the stick about 6 inches and everyone gets another turn. Continue lowering the stick each round until there is only one player that can make it under the stick.
  4. Try walking backwards or sideways as a variation.

You can also buy wooden Limbo game sets on Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com. (If you buy through our links we get a small commission.)

#9. Water Relay Races

To play water relay races:

  • You’ll need some buckets (two per team) and either some plastic cups or sponges.
  • Divide into teams and each team gets a bucket full of water at the starting line and an empty bucket at the finish line. They also get a plastic cup or a sponge.
  • Each person has to take a turn at filling up their cup (or sponge) from the full bucket, running down to the finish line bucket and dumping it. They then run back and hand the cup to the next person on the team.
  • The game is over when the team’s starting-line bucket is empty and the team with the most water in their finish-line bucket wins.

#10. Monster Hopscotch

This is a fab idea from Raising Dragons to make a monster footprint hop game. It’s like Hopscotch but with monster feet instead of squares.

You can download a free monster footprint template at Yippitee and print them in different coloured card or paper then set them out in the garden for a game of Monster Hopscotch. (The footprint template would also be cool used for monster footprints going up to your door at Halloween!)

#11. What’s The Time Mr Wolf?

This garden game is an all time favourite of my children. It’s ideally for 3 or more people (it is better with more!)

How to Play What’s The Time Mr Wolf?

  1. One person is chosen to be the wolf. The wolf stands about 10 feet away with his or her back to everyone else. Everyone calls out in unison: “What’s the Time, Mr Wolf?”
  2. The wolf gives an answer between 1 and 12, turning around to face the rest of the players as he or she does so. The rest will then take as many steps as the time announced. For example: Let’s say the wolf says it’s 10 o’clock, they can take 10 steps forward. There is no limit on the size step they can take, they can take huge steps or little steps.
  3. When everyone has taken a step, the wolf turns his or her back again and the rest shout out the same question.
  4. It keeps going this way until the wolf finally says “dinner time!” The wolf turns around and chases the children. The children have to run back to the start line. If they make it to the start line, they are safe. The wolf has to try and catch at least one person to become the next wolf.

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#12. Back Yard Scavenger Hunt

scavenger hunt ideas for kids

Turn your back yard into a big hunting ground by setting the kids loose with a backyard scavenger hunt sheet to see what they can find. There’s more in your garden than you realise!

Download our free printable Backyard Scavenger Hunt sheet to get started.

#13. Sensory Walk

sensory walk raising dragons

Image: Raising Dragons

I love this idea from Raising Dragons to set up a Sensory Walk in the garden.

Sensory walks are a way for children to explore their sense of touch using their feet and this fun garden game is ideal for outdoor fun!

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Have your say! Did you try out any of these garden games for kids? Leave a comment below and let us know – we’d love to hear from you!

13 Fantastic Free and Low-Cost Garden Games for Kids

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