Why Play Matters

Children are naturally drawn to playing outside and there are numerous benefits of outdoor play: it allows them to explore their environment, develop muscle strength and coordination, and gain self-confidence. Playing actively outdoors also increases flexibility, fine and gross motor skills, and is related to the development of a wide variety of physical skills, including those involved in sports.

Play Scotland

Why Play Matters

The Power of Play

Here are a lot of games and ideas to play with your child.

Active Ways to Play

Active Animal Fun

Messy play allows children to create, build, develop their imaginations, explore textures, use their senses and it’s fun!! 

Playful Families

Parents Play with 8 – 12 years olds

Mucky Play

Child’s Play – Top Ten Tips

Nature Play

Balance Beam

Using a long piece of wood/taped line can you walk along this without falling off.

Great activity for balance coordination.

Balloon Tennis

Using your hands as the rackets, how long can you bat the balloon for or before it bursts!

You can even fill the balloon with water to give it more weight.


You will need: a bucket and rolled up socks (or a soft ball).  Lots of fun trying to throw the ball into the ‘basket’.   Great for hand to eye coordination.


There are different actions for each type of bean.  Each time the name of the bean is called out, the child(ren) should do the correct action.  Great fun!

  • Runner Beans – run on the spot
  • String Beans – stretch up tall and be as thin as possible
  • Dwarf Beans – bend down and be as small as you can be
  • Broad Beans – hold arms out wide and stand with wide legs
  • Chili Beans – shiver
  • Frozen Beans – everyone has to stand still
  • Jumping Beans – jump and down
  • Beans on Toast – lie on your back with arms across your chest

Blow bubbles and catch them

One person blows the bubbles the others try and catch them before they fall to the ground.

Good for family fun.

Capture the flag – outdoors

  • Grab a couple of brightly-coloured flags (these can be towels, fleece etc)
  • Divide the players into two teams, each with their own territory of bushes and trees to hide behind.
  • The flags then get placed in a visible area within each team’s territory.
  • Aim to steal the other team’s flag and bring it back to your base without getting caught.
  • If you’re tagged, you’ll have to wait in the other team’s jail until you’re freed by a teammate.

Dance Party

Put music and dance.  You can also play freeze.  Every time you stop the music you have to stand still.

Down, down, lie down

Stand in a circle and throw a tennis ball to one another until someone doesn’t catch it or drops it.

That person will then have to go down on one knee.  Continue playing.  If they drop the ball again they’ll go down on both knees, followed by each of their elbows and finally lying down.

If they drop it again, they’re out. Last person standing wins!


Dig in the earth and see what creatures you can find.  Remember and put them back.

Digging is good for building muscles.

Hide & Seek

One person is the seeker the others have to hide.  The seeker will close their eyes and count to anything from 10 to 100 while the others go and hide.  The last person found becomes the seeker.


How many jumps can you do in the count of 20.  (You can also use an egg timer for this).


The group of children will decide who will start as being “it.”  That person chases the other people around, trying to tag one of them with their hand. The newly tagged person is now “it.” There is often the rule of “no tag-backs” where you can’t tag the person who just tagged you. The game ends when everyone is tired of playing.

Freeze Tag/Chasey

A variation of Tag where if the person who is “it” tags you, you have to freeze (stand still) where you are.  Another person can run up and tag you to unfreeze you and you can join back in the game.

Blind Man’s Bluff

Another way to play tag. The person who is “it” wears a blindfold and tries to tag the other players.

Note: Ensure the area is safe to play, with any hazards removed.  Not to played near a road.

Monkey in the Middle

You need 3 people to play this game.  One person stands in the middle (the monkey) and the other two throw a frisbee back and forth to each other, above the monkeys head.  Object of the game is for the monkey to jump and  catch the frisbee.  When they do the person that threw the frisbee becomes the new ‘monkey’ in the middle.


As many people can play this using a ball.  Object of the game is to throw the ball to each other and every time a person drops the ball, they spell out the word donkey and first person to spell the word is out!

i.e. first drop is D, second drop is O, third drop is N and so on.

You can do this using any word – we used donkey growing up!

Obstacle Course

Make an indoor obstacle course.  You can use cushions, pillows, small tables, hula hoops etc.

Make a balance beam by marking a straight line on the floor with masking tape.

Add in the basketball (see above).

Jump in and out of circles (mark these using masking tape).

Climb high, lie low, jog on the spot, star jumps and lots more!

Simon Says …

One person is picked to be ‘Simon’, you must then do everything that ‘Simon’ says.

‘Simon’ must always start by saying “Simon says” example “Simon says touch your nose” everyone in must touch their nose.

“Simon says scratch your head” everyone must scratch their head.

But if ‘Simon’ just says “scratch your head” and you do the action you are out the game.  Last person in the game takes the turn to be ‘Simon’.

Lava Floor

Object of the game is to get from one side of the room to the other without standing on the floor!  You can use cut up carpet tiles, pillows, cushion, cut out cardboard as stepping stones.

You can also play this outdoors!

Balls in the Box

Ideal for younger children.  Get a large box and cut holes in the top of the box the size of coloured balls, like the ones you use for a ‘ball pit’ and let them place the balls through the holes.

? You could colour code each hole for colour learning fun.

Indoor hopscotch

Using electrical or masking tape mark out the hopscotch on the floor and use rolled up socks for the ‘peever’.

Indoor Bowling

You will need 6-10 same size 1 litre plastic bottles.  Fill up with water and ensure top is screwed on!

Mark the start line with electrical or masking tape.  Use a soft ball and have fun bowling.

? why not pop a glow stick in for glow in the dark bowling.

Indoor Scavenger Hunt

Download this pdf for items to found in the house:

Indoor scavenger hunt

Outdoor Bowling

You will need 6-10 same size 1 litre plastic bottles.  Fill up with water and ensure top is screwed on!

Mark the start line with electrical or masking tape.  Use a soft ball and have fun bowling.

? why not pop a glow stick in for glow in the dark bowling.

Popping Hopscotch

What you need:
Bubble wrap cut into squares

Cut a square for each number and paint number on 1 – 10.

Place in hopscotch format.  Play!  When you hop on the square it will pop!

Rainbow Hunting

Find an item that matches every colour of the rainbow.  This can be played anywhere.

Report a Glow concern
Cookie policy  Privacy policy

Glow Blogs uses cookies to enhance your experience on our service. By using this service or closing this message you consent to our use of those cookies. Please read our Cookie Policy.