1. Giant Slip 'n' Slide
Make your own slip 'n' slide by laying out a tarp, spraying it down with water, then letting the hose continue to run on top of the slide. Take turns running across your lawn, then sliding across the tarp for a slippery, exciting game.
2. Flashlight Flashlight Tag
Best played after the sun goes down, flashlight tag is the perfect outdoor game for late-night birthday or block parties. One player is designated "it" and is given a flashlight. The other players hide. When "it" finds a hidden player, he shines the light on the hider and the hider then becomes "it." The original "it" then hides, and the game continues.
3. Jump Rope Challenge
Give each player a plastic cup filled with water. Start spinning a large jump rope. One at a time, each child must attempt to enter the rope and jump three times, all while spilling as little water as possible. The child with the most water left in his cup wins the game.
4. Hole in the Bucket
Fill up a large trashcan with water and place two empty trashcans about 40 feet away. Split kids into two teams and give each team an empty milk carton with 10 to 12 holes in the bottom. When you say "go," the first player from each team fills her carton with water, then places it on her head while she walks or runs to her team's empty trashcan. She empties the remaining water into the trashcan, then runs back, passing the carton to the next player. The first team to fill its trashcan with water wins the game.
5. Sticks & Stones
If you have a sizable group of kids, playing sticks and stones will make them laugh while also tiring them out. Split the kids into two teams -- the sticks and the stones. Line them up facing one another. Designate an area roughly 30 feet behind each team as that teams' safe zone. To start the game, yell out "sticks" or "stones." The team you call on must begin chasing the opposing team, which begins racing toward its safe zone. Any tagged players must switch teams, and the two new teams line up to play again. The team to bring all the players to its side wins the game.
6. Shoebox Relays
Split the kids into two teams. Each team gets two shoeboxes. Tape the lids onto the shoe boxes and cut an "I" shape into the top of the box, with a four-inch slit and two one-inch slits. Have the first player from each team slip her feet into the shoeboxes. When you say "go" the players wearing the shoeboxes have to run from the starting line to a designated spot, then back again. Players pass the shoeboxes to their waiting teammates, and the relay continues until all the players have participated and a winning team is crowned.
7. Blind Man's Walk
Set up a simple obstacle course in your yard and let all the kids examine the course. One at a time, blindfold the kids and let them work their way through the obstacle course. The child to make it through the fastest wins the game.
If your kids love sports and want to play catch with a twist, introduce them to the game of 500. Give one child a football and have him stand about 20 feet in front of the remaining children. The child with the ball throws it up into the air toward the waiting players while calling out a number between 50 and 500. The player to catch the ball earns the number of points called, but if she drops the ball, she loses those points. The first player to accumulate 500 points becomes the next thrower.