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55 safe games for kids to enjoy indoors and outdoors

Don't worry — safe games are still a ton of fun.
Boys playing card game in blanket fort
From card games to classics like hide and seek, there is a safe game for all ages.Jasper Cole / Getty Images
/ Source: TODAY

For parents, deciding how to keep their kids safe is a topic that will likely keep them up at night. When it comes to games, it's any parent's worst nightmare to realize their child may be engaging in risky behavior, particularly while simply trying to play with friends.

It's very important for parents to understand and recognize safe games from unsafe games.

Corinne McDermott, founder of Have Baby Will Travel, tells there are different types of safety to consider.

"Some games might not be safe from a physical perspective, like those that require physical ability or motor skills that your child may not be ready for or able to do yet," McDermott says. "And some games may be unsafe from a psychological perspective, like ones that may have scary themes or have more mature content that a child might misunderstand."

McDermott recommends that parents be aware of the kinds of games their children are participating in, so they can determine if it’s something their child can handle.

"Parents know their kids best, so they should ask themselves if there is anything inappropriate their child would have access to or might find scary," she says.

For outdoor games in particular, parents should consider their own child’s physical abilities and street smarts, but also that of the kids they may be playing with.

"Even if (parents) believe their child is OK to play unsupervised, other kids might be less capable of making good choices and then other kids might encourage unsafe play or bully their peers," McDermott says.

55 Safe Games For Kids

McDermott tells that as a parent she would "rather be safe than sorry."

"Of course you can not control every second of every day and accidents will and do happen," she explains. "But using an abundance of caution — especially when other kids are involved — while explaining to your child why you take the precautions you do will go a long way in fostering their future independence."

34 Safe Kids’ Games To Enjoy Indoors

There is a wide variety of safe games for kids indoors, including board games, card games and games that involve other players.

"Safe games for indoor play are most board games, provided your child is old enough to understand the rules, basic card games like Go Fish or Snap, any video game rated for their age that does not have a multiplayer option enabled and — if you have someone indoors to play with — simple games requiring a pen and paper are tic-tac-toe and hangman," McDermott says.

  • Tic-tac-toe
  • Hangman
  • Sudoku
  • Go Fish card game
  • Snap card game
  • Solitaire card game
  • War card game
  • Chess
  • Checkers
  • Dice games
  • Dominoes
  • I spy
  • Tape maze
  • Charades
  • Hide and seek
  • Scavenger hunt
  • Typing games
  • Rubik's Cube
  • Pictionary
  • Scrabble
  • Candy Land
  • Chutes and Ladders
  • Sorry!
  • Monopoly
  • Racing paper airplanes
  • Jacks
  • Marbles
  • Heads up, seven up
  • Freeze dance dancing competition
  • Cat's Cradle string game
  • Miss Mary Mack hand-clap game
  • Telephone
  • Rock, paper, scissors
  • Kid-friendly jokes competition

21 Safe Kids' Games To Play Outdoors

Safe games kids can play outdoors are entirely dependent on the child’s age, maturity and the level of supervision available.

"Hopscotch is fun for all ages and only some chalk is required," McDermott says. "Games like tag or hide-and-seek — which is often called Manhunt now — can be fine for older kids, but could be dangerous for small children who may wander off or put themselves in unsafe situations while hiding."

She continues, "Spikeball is a new favorite outdoor game that is safe and fun for many ages and ability levels and you can’t go wrong with classic backyard games like cornhole or ring toss or tetherball."

  • Hopscotch
  • Chalk games
  • Tag
  • Hide-and-seek
  • Spikeball
  • Cornhole
  • Ring Toss
  • Tetherball
  • Duck, Duck, Goose
  • Marco Polo
  • Four Square
  • Frisbee
  • Jump rope
  • Red light, green light
  • Hula hoop
  • Simon says
  • Musical chairs
  • Horse basketball game
  • Freeze
  • Scavenger hunt
  • I spy

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