Outside Games for 4-5 Year Olds

Updated April 17, 2017

Children love to play games. If you can find a creative way to combine the games they love to play with games that build skills and aid development, you'll have a win-win situation. Many games can be played with no or very few objects. Use the following ideas to build skills, to shake loose the wiggles, or to simply have fun.

Cooperation Games

Create an obstacle course in the form of a relay race. Divide the children into two teams. Chairs can be climbed over and under. A picnic table can be placed between the teams and used by both. Old tires can be climbed through or stepped into. Use common objects to make the course. A playground can also be used. If there aren't duplicate items for two teams, time each team as they complete the run. The team can cheer each other on and will learn to work together and cooperate.

Balance Games

Children can practice balance while they're playing games. Freeze Tag is a good game for this age group. Choose one child to be "it" while the others scatter around within a predetermined boundary. The person who is it will attempt to tag the others. Once a child is tagged, he'll freeze until one of the "free" children tags him again. Have each child hold as still as possible when he's tagged.

Children in this age group love to play Duck, Duck, Goose. Have the children sit in a circle. One child walks around the outside of the circle and taps each child on the head saying, "Duck, duck, duck..." until they reach the child they pick to chase them. At that time they say, "Goose." The child called goose will get up and run after the child who tapped him. They do one full circle around the group. If the tapper gets back to the chaser's spot first without getting tagged, they switch places and the game continues. If the "goose" tags the tapper, the tapper is "it" again.

Coordination Games

Throwing-and-catching games are good ways to build coordination. You can use a ball and have the children throw it back and forth. On hot days, use sponges or sponge-style balls instead. Dip the sponges in water and let the children toss them around. The water will splatter when they catch---or miss!---the wet sponge. This will provide a way to get cool at the same time you build coordination.

A slightly different spin on this is to have the children sit in a circle in the shade. Set a timer for 20 or 30 seconds and let them toss a ball, a potato, or a water-filled balloon from person to person around the circle until the timer goes off. There are no winners or losers, just continue the game again.

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About the Author

Renee Winship is a published author and has worked in the family restaurant and catering business and has also worked in a medical lab facility. She's an adoptive parent and has worked in daycare. Winship has written more than 200 articles for Suite 101 and other online publications. She attended Southwest Missouri State University in Missouri with a nursing major.