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16 Indoor and Outdoor Group Games for Preschoolers

Need some ideas for group games to play with preschoolers and kindergarteners that are also educational?

Children learn best through play and games are a great way to work on building foundational skills.

These are great for small groups on a playdate or to play with your preschool class. They are separated into indoor and outdoor games, depending on where you choose to play. 

Your kids will love these 16 fun group games for preschoolers.

9 Fun Indoor Group Games for Preschool Children

Some of these are active indoor games for preschoolers, while others are quiet, calming games to play indoors.

Active games are great for building gross motor skills and quiet ones also have many benefits – improving concentration, listening skills, problem-solving abilities, etc.

1. Simon Says

Simon Says is a classic game that can be altered to fit your particular needs. It can be an indoor game or an outdoor game.

With small children, you as the parent will usually be Simon.

To play Simon Says, the person who is chosen as Simon gives a set of commands and the children must follow them.

When you want the children to follow the command, begin by saying ‘Simon Says.’ When you don’t want them to follow, only say the command.

If a child still carries out the command, without you saying, ‘Simon Says,’ he is out of the game. The last person standing is the winner!

You can make this game as easy or as difficult as needed to suit the children. You could also nominate the winner to play Simon next.

Because this game is so versatile, it has numerous benefits for children. It builds both their gross motor skills as well as fine motor skills. ‘Simon Says’ can also teach skills such as balance and crossing the midline.

In addition to physical skills, kids learn listening skills and develop a great vocabulary as well. By playing the role of Simon, they will also learn to communicate and lead others.

Here are 70 Simon Says commands kids will love.

2. Broken Telephone

Broken Telephone is a quiet game best played indoors. The rules go as follows:

  • Start by sitting in a circle
  • One person begins and whispers a sentence into the ear of the person next to them
  • That person then passes the message on to the next person
  • Once it reaches the last person in the circle, she says the sentence out loud

The goal of the game is to send the message, intact, all the way around the circle.

This game is great for learning listening skills. It can also help your child interact and gain social skills with their peers as well. Children also learn sound recognition as they try to listen to what the person is whispering.

It is also loads of fun as the message often gets ‘broken’ on the way and leads children into fits of laughter!

3. Story Time Clap

Another great quiet game to play with your preschoolers includes some clapping. Choose to either tell a story or read a book. Then, whenever you say a particular word or phrase throughout the story, the children must clap each time they hear it.

As with the previous game, this is another great game to help your child develop sound recognition and listening skills. It will also aid in their language development as well.

4. Touch and Feel Box

A touch and feel box is another fun activity for your kids. First, collect some items that have unique textures. Then, put them in a box or a bag you can’t see through.

Go around the room and have everyone quietly touch and feel one of the items. Once everyone has had a turn, have them share what they think is in the bag.

See how many children guessed an item correctly.

The Touch and Feel Box is a great way to build their language. They have to connect their senses to words to describe what they are feeling.

5. I Spy

I spy game

I Spy can be played both indoors and outdoors. The rules go as follows:

  • One person picks an object in the room
  • Then, they say, “I spy with my little eyes, something …” followed by the colour of their object
  • The rest of the group takes turns guessing what that object could be
  • The person can only answer yes or no

This game is great for thinking but also for socializing. It gets the children to talk to each other and develops great social skills. They also have to listen to hear what the colour is and what other people are guessing as well.

6. Musical Chairs

Musical Chairs really helps children learn to let go and have fun with other kids.

Start by putting chairs in a circle. There should be one less chair than the number of children playing.

Once the music begins, everyone walks around the chairs. When the music stops, everyone must find a chair to sit in. The person without a chair is out of the game. For each round, remove another chair.

The game continues until there is only one chair left. Whoever sits in the last chair, wins!

This game teaches your children great listening skills. They also have to multitask, walking while listening to the music, while trying to get to the closest chair.

They can also develop balance and speed while trying to get to the chair first.

7. Red Light, Green Light

Red Light, Green Light is a game your children will love to play. It can be played indoors or outdoors as well.

One player stands in the front of the room while the rest are on the opposite side. When that person turns their back and says, “green light,” everyone tries to reach that person first, moving as quickly as they can.

When that person turns around and says, “red light,” everyone has to freeze and not move at all. If anyone moves after, “red light” is called, they must go back to the start line. The first person to touch the caller wins the game!

In this game, your child will learn great physical skills including speed, balance, and gross motor skills. They will also practise their listening skills.

8. Heads Up, Seven Up

While the other games don’t necessarily require a specific number of people, this game does. You will need at least 14 players. However, if you have less, then you can always adapt to fit your needs. This game is well suited to the classroom. 

To begin, seven children go to the front of the room. The rest put their heads on their desks and their thumbs up. The seven children go around and touch only one thumb of their classmates and push it down.

Once they finish, they return to the front. One calls out, “heads up, seven up.” Those who had their thumbs touched stand up and try to guess who touched their thumb.

If they are correct, they get to switch places with the person. If not, the game continues as normal.

This game helps your children to interact with one another. They will develop great social skills and learn the names of their classmates. If you have less than 14, you can always adapt and have fewer people in the front.

9. Button, Button, Who’s Got the Button

Children playing a game

Button, Button is another quiet game to play indoors with a group of children. Everyone sits in a circle with their hands out, and their eyes closed.

One person takes a button and goes around the circle pretending to put the button in everyone’s hands. The person will put the button in one person’s hands.

Once they finish with the circle, everyone opens their eyes and tries to guess who has the button. Once the group finally guesses who has the button, they get to go around the circle to give it to someone else.

This is a great game to help the children interact and learn more about each other. They will also strengthen their social skills.

7 Fun Outdoor Group Games for Preschoolers

Here are seven outdoor games for kids.

These are great learning games for preschoolers to play and interact with each other. They also make good group movement activities.

1. Scavenger Hunt

Before you take your children outside, prepare a list of things you want them to look for. You can print off a picture of each item for them to identify outside.

You can then let them go together in small groups or all at once, trying to find each item on the list.

This will get your children to interact and develop social skills while also having a good time in nature and learning about the outdoors.  

2. Hopscotch

Girl playing hopscotch

Every child loves to play Hopscotch. Follow these guidelines to play with a group of preschoolers:

  • With some sidewalk chalk, make a hopscotch grid with the numbers 1-9
  • Find a rock for the kids that is easy to toss and will stay in place
  • Start by tossing the rock on square 1
  • Then jump over the square, and continue hopping on each square until you come back to square one
  • Pick up the rock then hop on square 1
  • In your next turn, toss the rock to square 2 and repeat
  • If your toss isn’t on the right square, you have three chances to get it into the right square or you miss your turn

Hopscotch will teach your child many great physical skills. They will develop their gross motor skills as well as their fine motor skills. They will learn better balance as they hop on each square.

3. Jump Rope

Jump rope is another fun outdoor activity to play with your group of preschoolers. Start by finding a larger jump rope than normal. Have two people swing the rope, each holding one end.

You can jump rope however your kids prefer. They can begin with the rope held still or jump into it while it’s moving. You can say a rhyme as they jump or have the other children count each other’s jumps.

Jump rope can develop physical skills such as balance, strength and coordination, as kids have to learn to jump at the right time.

4. Tag

Children playing tag

Tag is a very active outdoor game your kids will love. It is a great chasing game to get them moving.

There are many variations to tag. Simply have one person be “it.” They then have to tag someone else. Then that person becomes “it.”

You can also play freeze tag – once they are tagged, they must freeze in place until a teammate unfreezes them.

Tag is a great way to have your children make new friends and develop their social skills. They will also strengthen their physical skills as well as their speed.

5. Red Rover

Red Rover is another great active outdoor game. Start by dividing your group into two teams. Then, have them get in a line and hold hands.

Space the two teams out about 20 feet or so from each other. Then, each team must take turns saying, “red rover, red rover, let … come over.” That particular person then has to leave their line and run to the next line.

They should run as fast as they can and try to break apart the other team’s line. If they break through, they return to their original team along with someone from the line they just broke. If they do not break through, they have to stay in that team’s line.

This game is good for speed and strengthening, as well as for teaching kids to work together with others.

6. Hot Potato/Volleyball

Children playing volleyball

The Hot Potato Game, or Volleyball, can be played inside as well as outside; however, it is safer to play outside.

Toss an inflatable ball to one person. They have five seconds or less to toss it to someone else in the circle. If they don’t, they are out of the game.

You can change things up as well to make it more suitable to fit your children’s needs. For example, you can ask them to call out the name of the person to who they are throwing the ball in order to strengthen friendships and unity in the group.

This game will help your child develop social interaction skills as well as good physical skills including crossing the midline, catching, balance, etc.   

7. Duck, Duck, Goose

Duck, Duck, Goose can be played inside or outdoors, but is easier outdoors. If it is a beautiful day outside, go enjoy the sunshine and nature.

Have everyone sit in a circle. Choose one person to be “it.” This person walks around the outside of the circle, touching each person on the head and saying either “duck” or “goose.”

If they say “duck,” they continue to the next person. If they say “goose,” that person must stand up and start chasing the person.

If the person who was “it” runs around the entire circle and sits down, they are safe, and the next person becomes “it.” If the person who is chasing tags them, they must repeat the circle again.

Duck, Duck, Goose is a fun social game as children get to interact with everyone in the circle. It will also help them develop speed and spatial awareness as they chase around the circle.

And there you have it. I hope you’ll enjoy playing these fun preschool group games! Read more about the many benefits of outdoor games for kids.


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Hayley

Thursday 2nd of September 2021

wow this is great advice. I will definitely play this with my kids! thanks so much!

Tanja Mcilroy

Friday 3rd of September 2021

Enjoy trying them with your kids!

Regan

Monday 24th of August 2020

Thanks for the starter pack

Tanja Mcilroy

Tuesday 25th of August 2020

You're welcome Regan!

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