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Eight Outdoor Games for Your Next Birthday Party

Take a walk down memory lane by playing these great old-fashioned party games at your next bash. As you watch your party guests hop, stomp, run and race, you’ll see why these games have stood the test of time.

1. Sack Race. This game used to be done with large, burlap potato sacks. Since those aren’t as easily obtainable anymore, good quality burlap bags can be purchased from coffee roasting companies. Or buy them online at

To play, have each kid step into their bag, pulling the top edges up around the waist. They must race to the finish line by holding the sack up and jumping inside of the bag.

2. Three-Legged Race. This race is more about cooperation than speed. Divide party guests into pairs and have them stand side by side. Then tie their inside legs together with a bandana. Race on three legs! Have two adults stretch a length of crepe paper across the finish line, and let the winning team break through the paper.

3. Limbo. This game requires flexibility! Line the kids up, single file. Two adults stand on either side of the limbo pole or stick and hold it up horizontally in front of the line. If you don’t have a pole, use a pool noodle or broom. Start the music - any music with a strong beat will do. The object of the game is to pass under the stick by bending backwards, without touching the stick or falling. The two adults start with the stick held high enough for the kids to walk underneath, and then lower the stick a bit each time the first person in line comes around again. Keep going until the stick is too low for anyone to pass underneath without touching it.

4. Catch the Tail on the Dragon. Arrange kids in a single file line, and have each hold onto the waist of the person in front of them. Tuck a bandana into the pocket of the last one in the line. The “head of the dragon” (head of the line) leads the line in chasing the “tail” (the last in line) as they try to grab the bandana without anyone letting go of the person in front of them. The middle of the line tries to keep the head from catching the tail. Once the bandana is captured from the tail, the tail becomes the head and they play again.

5. Balloon Stomp. Use string to tie a balloon to one ankle of each child. Then, tell the kids to run around and try to “stomp” or break everyone else’s balloon while keeping their own from getting popped. The last guest with a full balloon wins!

6. Egg and Spoon Races. Draw funny faces on hard boiled eggs with a sharpie. Party guests can then “race” while balancing their eggs on large spoons. It’s harder than it sounds!

7. Chariot Race. For this game, you’ll need two old blankets or tarps. Divide kids into teams of at least three per team. One sits on the blanket while two teammates grab the front corners of the blanket and run, dragging the “chariot” in a race against the other team. Play this game in three rounds, so that each team member gets a chance to ride the chariot.

8. Obstacle Course. Create your own obstacle course, tailored to the age and abilities of the group. Make this a fun game to wrap up the festivities by combining some of the previous games with a few new ones thrown in. For example, participants could ride a bike or trike around cones, hop a hopscotch course, jump a short distance in a potato sack, carry an egg on a spoon and then walk a balance beam made of a six foot two-by-four laid flat on the ground.

These party games are not only tons of fun, but they will get your guests outside and active. After they burn off all those calories playing games, you won’t have to feel guilty about feeding them cake and ice cream!

Tiffany is a freelance writer and the mother of three children. She can beat all three of her kids in a sack race. Read more of her writing at

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