The best free games for children 5 to 11 years old are ones that require physical and mental skills. If both aspects are included, the game will remain amusing enough to sustain a lengthy playing time. Even if children become quickly bored with a game, the short activity will help burn off some extra energy.
Duck and Chicken Game
Blindfold all but two players for a free game of duck and chicken. Declare one blindfold-free player the duck and the other the chicken. Divide the remaining players into duck and chicken eggs. The duck person must stand still and quack so that the blindfolded duck eggs can walk over to the “duck” side of the room. The chicken person must cluck to gather the chicken eggs to her side. The first team to gather all of its eggs wins.
Hot Potato Game
Find a rock or twig and a stereo to use for a free game of “Hot Potato.” Sit 5-to-11-year-old children in a circle. Have the children pass the “hot potato” as the music plays. When the music stops, the person left holding the potato is out and has to sit in the middle of the circle. The game keeps going until there is one player left as winner.
Simon Says Game
Gather a group of three or more children, 5 to 11 years old, for an amusing and free game of “Simon Says.” Pick one person as “Simon,” and have them call out commands to the group. Anyone who follows a command that does not start with, “Simon says,” is out. The last player left becomes the new “Simon.”
Use simple commands for the “Simon Says” game if the age group of the children is closer to 5 years old than to 11 years old. For example, you can command everyone to hop on one foot or march in place. If the children are closer to 11 years old, use complicated commands. For example, you can command everyone to dance like a ballerina, do jumping jacks or skip in place.
Tag is a classic free game for children 5 to 11 years old. Play traditional tag in an open area with one person as the tagger and everyone else as the runners. The rules can include a “base” section where runners are safe or an “out” section where tagged players must wait until the end of the game.
Try different rules and themes to help keep a tag game interesting. You can play freeze tag, where a tagged person freezes until a runner touches her or until one untagged player remains as winner. You can play blob tag, in which tagged players holds hands until one untagged player remains as winner. You can also play crab tag, where the players and a tagger have to “crab walk” to move anywhere.