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Exercise & precision
Exercise & precision

Ingenuity, bravery and quick sprints are all parts of these outdoor games. These fun challenges can keep you busy in the garden all day!

Frozen peas

Minimum 4 players


The players move in a marked area while keeping a bag of peas on their heads. The leader of the game asks the players to move in different ways, such as on tip-toe, backwards, hopping, going slower or faster, etc. If any player drops their bag of peas, they freeze in position. Another player must pick up the bag of peas and place it back on top of the frozen player’s head to thaw the player. While doing this, the player must not drop their own bag of peas. The aim of this game, which is well known in Finland, is to help out friends so that they are not frozen.

Blindfolded football

Minimum 6 players


In Norway, they play a very exciting version of football! You will need enough scarves to cover every player’s eyes, as well as two goals, a pitch and a ball. The players are divided into two teams and the goalkeepers are chosen. All of the players are blindfolded except the goalkeepers, who shout instructions to the players about where the ball and the other players are. The game is an excellent way to develop all of the senses.

Hare hunt

Minimum 6 players


Three of the players are chosen as hares and they hide in an agreed area. The other players are dogs that are looking for the hares. A hare is out of the game when one of the hunters has seen and identified them.

King of the hill

Minimum 4 players


Three of the players are chosen as hares and they hide in an agreed area. The other players are dogs that are looking for the hares. A hare is out of the game when one of the hunters has seen and identified them.

Ship-boat-tidal wave

Minimum 4 players


A playing area is drawn on the ground containing three lines. The outermost lines are the ship and the boat. The tidal wave is in the middle. The leader of the game shouts the name of one of these lines – for example, they shout “Boat” and everyone runs to the boat line. If the leader of the game shouts, “Ship”, everyone runs to the ship line. If they shout “Tidal wave”, everyone must run to the tidal wave line and squat down. Whoever arrives at the line last or makes a mistake is out of the game. The winner is the last player left in the game. This player also becomes the next caller.

Storm in a teacup

Minimum 2 players


This beach game, guaranteed to be wet, is well known in Germany. Every player needs their own cup. An empty yoghurt pot is fine for this game. A line is drawn in the playing area and the aim is to bring as many mugs of water beyond the line as possible without splashing it. The winner is the one who brings the most water over the line in the agreed time. The players can also agree upon a number of cups of water than must be brought, and the player who brings that number first is the winner.

Snow maze

Minimum 3 players


This Finnish winter game can only be played when there is lots of snow in the garden. A maze of paths is trampled into virgin snow. The players stand beside the maze. One of the players is the witch and they try to catch the other players. Before the game begins, the players agree upon safe places where the witch cannot get them. The players are only allowed to move along the trampled paths. When all of the players have been caught, the witch changes.

Fireball

Minimum 4 players


This game was played in Finland when our grandparents were kids. A large circle is drawn in the playing area. One of the players – known as the fire-breather – stands outside the circle and the rest of the players stand inside it. The fire-breather tries to hit players inside the circle with a ball, keeping the ball below knee height. The fire-breather is not allowed to step inside the circle. If a player is hit, they are out of the game. If there are several balls, the burned players can also become fire-breathers. The last person remaining in the circle is the winner.

Can

Minimum 5 players


To start with, someone is chosen to be the searcher and the playing area is marked out. A ball is put in a marked place in the middle of the garden and someone kicks it as far as possible. The searcher goes to get the ball while the others hide. When the searcher has brought the ball back to the starting place, they shout, “The can is at the base!”, and they begin looking for the other players. Whenever the searcher sees someone, they run to the ball and shout the name of the person they have seen – for example: “Vicky’s in the can!”. The other players can try to rescue the captured player by running to the ball without the searcher noticing and kicking the ball away again. If this happens, all of the captured players are rescued and the searcher has to start looking again from scratch. When the searcher has found everyone, the first person who was found becomes the next searcher.

Tar pot

Minimum 5 players


A circle is drawn in the playing area. All of the way around this circle, a semi-circle is drawn for each player – this acts as the player’s base. A small circle is drawn in the middle of the big circle – this is the tar pot. The players stand in their bases, except one player who is the stick holder. The stick holder sets off around the circle and, on the way round, drops the stick behind one of the other players. The player who now has the stick behind them must pick up the stick and start running in the opposite direction around the circle. The players compete to see who will reach the empty base first. The player who is left without a base becomes the stick holder. If a player does not notice that the stick has been dropped behind them or if they do not set off from their base by the time the original stick holder has completed a full circuit, that player is placed in the tar pot in the middle of the circle. The player is allowed out of the tar pot when another player has to go into it or after an agreed time has passed. This Finnish game has been played for generations.

Which reindeer

Minimum 8 players


This game from Lapland starts with the children choosing two reindeer-herders. They are given different-coloured balls. The rest of the players are reindeer, and they run around within a demarcated area, known as the reindeer enclosure. The reindeer-herders start marking the reindeer by hitting them with the balls. When a reindeer is “marked”, a peg the same colour as the ball is attached to the reindeer’s clothes, and the marked reindeer is free to run around again. The winner is the reindeer-herder who has more reindeer marked.

Twinkle

Minimum 5 players


This a Finnish game that is really popular on dark evenings. Every player has a torch. One person is chosen to be the searcher. The searcher counts to 100 while the others go and hide. The searcher goes to look for the others and, when the searcher sees someone, they take them to a prison area. The players who are hiding are allowed to change their hiding places whenever they want to. Players who have been put in prison can be rescued by shining the torch at them. It is fun to confuse the searcher by shining torches at them. The game ends when everyone is in the prison.

Water in the shoe

Minimum 6 players


In this classic Finnish game, the players are divided into two teams of the same size – the ones and the twos. The twos go to a place far enough away that they cannot see the ones, or they turn their backs to the ones. Each member of the ones team chooses a pair from the twos team. Everyone must find their pair. In turn, each of the twos approaches the ones to bow or curtsy to one of them. If the two does not bow to their “paired” one, they are told that they have “Water in the shoe”, and they must hop away. If they bow to the correct pair, they can stop playing but they are not allowed to reveal who their pair is to the next two who comes. Everyone keeps trying until they have found their own pair. The teams then swap roles and the game continues.

Burning wall tag

Minimum 4 players


Two or more players stand by a wall and touch the wall, either with a hand or foot. The person chosen as the fire-breather tries to use a ball to “burn” the players touching the wall, but they are not allowed to throw the ball at other players’ heads. Players are not allowed to let go of the wall – they must try to avoid the ball in other ways. If the ball hits one of the players in the body, that player is tagged and the game continues.