Outdoor PE Activities

Boy (12-13) playing with plastic hoop in park

Outdoor PE activities can be done during an actual physical education class or during recess to promote physical activity for children. There are many activities that can be used to get the heart rate up while providing fun for the kids.

Capture the Flag

Children need to be physically active for at least 60 minutes every day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Capture the Flag game can provide a portion of this activity because it requires children to move constantly. The point of the game is to divide the participants into teams and provide each team with a flag. Each team works to take possession of the opposing team's flag. The flag is hidden and participants should separate their team members into those who will protect the flag and those who will work to get the opponent's flag. Players run into the opposing team's territory to try and find the flag and run back to their side with the flag. "Defenders" can tag players on the opposing team, causing them to "freeze." When this happens, the player's teammates can free him through direct contact, such as by crawling between the legs. To win the game, the opposing team's flag must be captured.


Kickball is a good alternative when softball or T-ball equipment is not readily available. Kickball for children will not have as many rules as the adult version, but a few rules are necessary. The person kicking must be tagged out with the ball or the ball must be caught in the air by the opposing team. The kicker kicks the ball and then attempts to reach the first base. Runners advance from base to base as in baseball or softball. The goal is to make it to home plate to score a point. Like baseball, you also can create a boundary line and if the ball is kicked past this, it is considered a home run.

Freeze Tag

Freeze tag is a classic childhood game. It involves someone being designated “it” and the remaining players trying to avoid being touched by the designated player. When someone is tagged, they become “it” and the game continues. To help keep the game going, you may want to designate two or three people as “it” at the same time. This is a good idea if you are playing with a group of 20 or more. Also, having more than one “it” helps to prevent any children from feeling singled out. If you can keep this game going for at least 20 minutes, you will greatly help the children toward meeting daily physical activity needs.

Hula Hoops

Hula hoops at one time were considered a girls toy, but this is no longer true. In fact, this activity can offer a variety of health benefits. Using a hula hoop provides a good cardiovascular workout and can raise the heart rate to about 84 percent of the heart rate maximum. This type of exercise also can contribute to increased core strength. All you need to do is provide the hula hoops for the kids and encourage them to move around and have some fun. Even if they are not great at it, they are still getting the physical activity benefits from the movement required to learn how to use a hula hoop.