Non-Competitive Games to Play Outside

Children Playing Ring-Around-The-Rosy

Non-competitive games are not only a great way to get children excited about physical activity, but can also help teach certain life skills, such as how to cooperate and work well with others. Most non-competitive games can also be played by adults as a theme party activity or as work-related icebreaker games. Play the games outdoors in good weather for the most space and to showcase the importance of outdoor activity.

Freeze Up

Instruct children to spread out in a backyard or other applicable outdoor area and play fun, dance-able music. When the music stops the children must stand in various crazy positions; give the children enough time to see everyone else's position before starting the music again. This game allows children to work their muscles while having fun. You can also play this game as a type of musical chairs, though simply remove the chairs but not the participants. There should be one chair left by the end and a giggling pile of children on and around the chair.

Red Light, Green Light

Assign one participant as the "police officer" and the others as "car drivers." Instruct the police officer to yell "Green light!" and have the drivers run towards the officer as quickly as possible. Tell the officer to yell "Red light!" as desired, at which point the drivers must stop running and find a silly position to stand in. Tell the officer to "inspect" the drivers to see which ones are still moving. Make any still-moving participants perform a goofy dance or do something else that is fun and silly. This is the "penalty" for moving once "Red light!" is called, as opposed to being called out of the game entirely.

Treasure Hunt

This game is best done with a small group of children. Place notes all around a sizable backyard, though make sure the notes are weighted down with pebbles or other applicable objects. Write each clue so it gives a hint to the location of the next clue. Make 10 to 15 clues with a "treasure trove" at the end of the hunt. Include enough prizes for all the participants to share or, better yet, put name tags on all prizes so there isn't any confusion or hurt feelings. Space out the clues as much as possible so the children get some exercise, or instruct certain athletic endeavors as part of the clues, such as performing 10 jumping jacks or swinging on swings for 30 seconds.


Instruct participants to stand in a large circle and throw a beach ball or other applicable lightweight ball in the middle of the circle. Have the participants throw the ball around without dropping it to see how long the ball can remain in the air without falling on the ground. Time each effort if desired; once the ball hits the ground the group must begin the game again.