5 Nostalgic Outdoor Games for Spring

Did you know that a 2017 study by the University of Western Ontario found, on average, Canadian university students spend 11.88 ± 3.46 hours/day engaged in sedentary behaviors?

That’s half our day (not taking into account time spent sleeping)! Boredom has been linked to lower exercise levels, which is understandable because who wants to be bored while moving your body?

But remember playing for hours on the playground or just running in circles as children because it was fun?

Well, let’s turn back the clock and find some fun in our movement with these 5 nostalgic outdoor games!

Please note: Public health orders surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic are still in effect. This post is in no way advocating social group meetups during this pandemic. These are suggestions for games to play when it is advisable to do so. 

1) Tag

A whole movie was created around this classic game (based on a true story) where a group of friends continue a game of Tag for 30 years!

Find some friends and an open field to play a round!

To play:

  1. Designate someone as “it”.
  2. Everyone now runs from “it”.
  3. It is up to “it” to try and “tag” another member in the game.
  4. When another member is “tagged”, they are now the new “it” and will go and “tag” someone else.
  5. The game is over once everyone has had a chance to become “it”.

There are many variations of this game to choose from (e.g. freeze tag, hide-and-seek tag, etc.) – run a quick internet search to find numerous variations!


2) Water Tag

One of the many variations of the above famous game is Water Tag! The perfect game for spring/summer, find some cheap water soakers from the dollar store and play this socially distanced game by tagging friends with water!

This game can also be played with other “water-transferring” devices (e.g. water balloons, sponges, etc.)

To play (instructions from here):

  1. Decide on a home base, and an area where players can refill their water soakers or wet their sponges.
  2. On GO, players try to tag each other by throwing the wet sponges at other players’ legs or squirting them with their water soakers.
  3. If a player is tagged they run to the home base and counts to 5. They may then rejoin the game.
  4. The object of the game is to not get tagged.


3) Camouflage

Another classic and a personal childhood favorite is the game Camouflage! This game is best played where there are numerous hiding spots, so no open fields!

To play (instructions from here):

  1. The game is begun by a leader shouting “camouflage” at which point the campers scatter and hide (dropping their packs if they have them). The leader counts to ten out loud with their eyes closed.
  2. After the count is over, the leader begins looking around. If the leader recognizes anyone not completely hidden, they call out the name and location of the camper. If they have correctly identified the camper, then the camper is out, if not, the camper does not have to reveal their true identity, and is still in play.
  3. Once the leader can no longer identify anyone, they call out “green light” (or any other silly word, such as ostrich, etc. which the campers pick). The leader counts out loud to five with their eyes closed. The campers have these five seconds to try and reach the leader, or at least get closer while still being out of sight.
  4. The first person to touch the leader without being seen is the winner.


4) Grounders

Similar to the “the floor is lava” game, the objective of Grounders is to not (be caught) touching the ground – this game is best played on a playground with lots of equipment to climb/move on!

To play (instructions from here):

  1. Choose 1 player to be the Guard. The Guard closes his eyes.
  2. All other players spread out on or around the jungle gym.
  3. On GO, the Guard tries to tag the other players while they quietly move around trying to avoid the Guard.
  4. When the Guard hears a player walking on the ground they call out GROUNDERS and opens their eyes. If a player is caught on the ground they become the new Guard.

5) Capture the Flag

Three elements are needed for Capture the Flag – enough people to form two or more teams, item(s) to be used as the “flags”, and an open field!

To play (more detailed instructions here):

  1. Create teams.
  2. Designate areas for each team and place your team’s “flags” in your area.
  3. When the game starts, the objective for each team is to capture the other team(s)’s flags!
  4. If you are tagged in another team’s area, there is a penalty (that is agreed on beforehand, e.g. five jumping jacks) that must be performed before being allowed to go back to your own area.
  5. The winner is the team that has captured all the flags in the game (or the team that has kept most of their flags after a set time)!


Find joy in movement again by playing one of these nostalgic childhood games!

If none of the above are of interest, there are many other outdoor games that are super fun to play in adulthood – so run a quick internet search and find a game that grabs your attention! Happy moving!