Whether you're trying to get kids to burn off some steam, learn something new, or both, there are many fun outdoor activities. With a combination of resources and your imagination, you can plan several activities that 7-12-year-old kids are sure to enjoy.
There are many active games to play outside. Capture the Flag is good for a group and requires just two flags to play. Divide your outdoor surroundings into two turfs. Each team hides a flag somewhere on its turf. Both teams are set free to run about and try to "capture" the other flag, while avoiding getting tagged out by another player for being in her territory. The first team to capture the other team's flag wins.
Another active game is Prisoner. You need a volleyball and a volleyball court to play. Divide children into two teams. Each team stands on a different side of the court. The teams take turns throwing a volleyball over the net while calling out the name of someone on the opposing team. If no one catches the ball and it lands on the ground inbounds, the team member whose name was called last goes to jail, which is an area outside the court. If the ball is caught, everyone on that team is safe. If the ball lands on the ground out-of-bounds, the person who threw it is out. The goal is to send everyone on the opposing team to jail.
An Obstacle Course is a messy outdoor game. You will need balloons, pies (made out of whipped cream), eggs, spoons, and other items for your obstacles. Set up an obstacle course with several activities that must be completed at different stations. For example, you could set up a water balloon toss, tossing a pie into someone's face from a specific distance or carrying an egg on a spoon. This is a great opportunity to get messy!
Another messy game is an Eating Contest. Create your own pies out of whipped cream and pudding. See who can eat the most pie in a specific amount of time. Kids will love this activity, and it is always good for a laugh.
A Scavenger Hunt is a good thinking game. Create clues on index cards. The clues may be related to a particular subject or just for fun. Divide children into teams of 3 to 5 members and start them off with one clue. Have one clue lead them to the next until they have collected five to ten clues.
Another thinking game is Psychiatrist. Place children in a circle, seated on the ground or in chairs. Choose someone to be the psychiatrist; it must be someone who has never played the game. Send that child away for a few minutes while you explain the rules to the group. The only rule is that each person answers for the person on his left. The group also must agree on its "problem," such as being afraid of the dark. When the student returns, explain that he is the psychiatrist and must ask questions to figure out the problem everyone has. If a child answers incorrectly or doesn't know the answer, another player must shout out "Psychiatrist!" and they switch seats. The game continues until the psychiatrist guesses the problem.
In parks, beaches and other public areas, set a clear boundary of where children are allowed to go and monitor the area carefully.
When playing outside, keep children hydrated, particularly in the summertime.