10 Running Games For Kids That'll Burn Off That Energy And Make Exercise Fun

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running games for kids
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Kids have so. much. energy. Honestly, it’s awe-inspiring. How do these tiny buggers wake up at six in the morning, have the house completely destroyed by noon and still look at you post-lunch wanting to know what the afternoon plans are? Naps. The plan is for naps. That never flies, though. If you’re looking for a way to tucker out your kids or just for a way to make exercise fun, these running games are key. Plus, they encourage play and as with all things, a little competition inspires the most fun.

1. Sharks and Minnows

Designate one “shark” and have them stand on the opposite side of the yard from all the other “minnows.” On your mark, have all the minnows try to get to the other side of the yard, without getting tagged by the shark. Anyone tagged in the first sprint is now a shark, also. When you say, “go” the remaining minnows should make their way back to where they started. This time, they’ll be dodging even more sharks. Keep this up until there is only one minnow remaining.

2. Tag

You know how to play tag, right? “It” must run around and try to tag everyone else. If you’re tagged, you become “it.” There’s no real end to this game. It just goes until everyone is tuckered out.

3. Color Tag

Hide various colored face paints throughout the playing field. The five colors of the rainbow are usually good. Name an “it.” Everyone else must run around trying to find the face paint. When they do find a face paint, they can put a mark on their face with the idea of collecting all five colors. If “it” catches anyone, they have to erase one color mark. The first person to get (and keep) all five colors is the winner.

4. Last One Out

Define the ideal lap size and have all your kids run the lap for as many times as there are kids running (five kids, five laps). At the finish of each lap, the last kid is out. Whoever is left at the end of the laps is the winner.

5. Pony Express

Mark a circle in the yard and split your kids into two teams lined up on each side of the circle. On your go, a player from each team has to run around the circle (they need to both go in the same direction), then tag the next person in line. If at any time someone from the other team overtakes or passes a player, that player is out.

6. Water Balloon Relay

Ever try to carry a water balloon without popping it? It’s not easy. In this game, have your kids split up into teams or partners and have them complete a lap while carrying a water balloon. After each lap, they must pass it to the next person on their team. If the balloon breaks (and it will), they have to start over.

7. Capture The Flag

This is best played with a lot of kids and in a larger yard or park. They’ll need help coming up with the “flag” and setting up boundaries and jail, but should be good to go after that.

8. Steal The Bacon

Divide your kids into opposite sides of the yard. Put the “bacon” (a shoe, ball, whatever) in the very middle. On your go, the first person must run to the middle and try to steal it before the other team gets it. The next person in line takes it back and the person after them must try to steal it, again.

9. Pickle

Set up two “bases” about 10 yards apart and name two players each to guard the bases. Have everyone else stand between the bases. The kids guarding the bases should start tossing two balls back and forth. After 2-3 tosses (let them get their sea legs), the rest of the players should try to run to one of the bases without getting tagged. The idea is to run back and forth between the bases as many times as possible without getting tagged.

10. Red Light, Green Light

Have your kiddos stand on the opposite side of the play area as you and turn your back to them. When you yell “green light” they can start to run towards you. At any time, you can yell “red light,” they should stop running. Turn around to watch them as you yell “red light” because anyone you catch still moving is out. Who will get to you first?

Related: Cool Outdoor Games For Teens That’ll Have Them Feeling Like A Kid Again

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