You're It! Tag, Hopscotch and More Games to Play With Your Kids This Summer

It isn't summer unless you've played these fun outdoor games every kid should know.

Remember the days before French parenting and the risks of being a snowplow mom? If you're yearning for some of the simpler fun you remember as a kid, add these awesome outdoor games you played as a kid to your summer bucket list.

Red Light, Green Light
Ages: 3 and up
Equipment: None

How to Play:
1.One child is designated as the stoplight and turns away. The others line up 15 feet away behind her.
2.The stoplight calls, "green light" to let the other kids move toward her. When she yells, "red light," the others must freeze immediately. If the stoplight turns and catches anyone still moving, that player is out.
3.If a player can tag the stoplight before they're out, that player wins. If all the players are out before they reach the stoplight, the stoplight is the winner.

H.O.R.S.E.
Ages: 2 and up for mini basketball net; 5 and up for regular-sized net
Equipment: Basketball and net

How to Play:
1.Player 1 takes whatever kind of shot he likes -- eye closed, backwards, half court, one-legged, lay-up -- be creative!
2.If he makes the shot, player 2 must make the same shot. If player 2 fails, he gets his first letter: H.
3.If player 1 doesn't get his shot, player 2 gets to choose the shot, and player 1 must match it.
4.The first player to spell H.O.R.S.E. loses.

Capture the Flag
Ages: 5 and up
Equipment: Two flags

How to Play:
1.Divide players into two teams, with an equal number of players on each team.
2.Define your playing field and separate it into three areas: two team areas, and a middle neutral space. You should also designate a corner of your team space as jail.
3.Each team has a couple minutes to hide their flag, making sure the other team doesn't see its location.
4.Once the game begins, the object is to catch the other team's flag and bring it to your own territory.
5.If the enemy catches you in their turf, they can tag you and send you to jail. You get out of jail when a team member sneaks into enemy territory to save you with a tap.

Fun Fact: This game actually has its origins in real battles. When one side captured the other side's flag, that was considered the definitive sign that a battle is over.

Marco Polo
Ages: 6 and up (or able to swim independently)
Equipment: Swimming pool

How to Play:
1.One player is "it," and must close her eyes.
2.Whenever she says, "Marco," the other players must answer, "Polo." Whoever is "it" must try to find the other players in the pool, using their sense of hearing as a guide.
3.Whoever gets tagged is the new "it."

Fun Fact: There was a real Marco Polo! He was a great Italian traveler in the 13th century, who, through his travels in China and Asia, was one of the only sources of information about that part of the globe for Europeans. It is rumored the pool game is named after him since when he started out on his travels, he did not know where he was going.

Sack Race
Ages: 3 and up
Equipment: One sack (an old pillowcase works fine) for each player

How to Play:
1.Players line up at the starting line, with sacked pulled over legs up to their waist.
2.Once they hear "go," players must hop to the finish line. Whoever get there first wins.

Fun Fact: Go FLOTUS! First Lady Michelle Obama beat Jimmy Fallon in a White House sack race in 2012.

Obstacle Course
Ages: 3 and up
Equipment: Watch, hula hoops, pylons, sticks, balls, whatever you can find around the house

How to Play:
1.Using what you have, create a series of tasks your kids for your kids to do. For instance, hula hoop five times, jump over three cones, limbo under a stick and then balance-walk on a board.
2.Time each player. Whoever finishes the course fastest is the winner!
3.To turn this active play into imaginative play too, let your kids take turns making the obstacle course, using props however they like.

Fun fact: Tough Mudder, considered the world's preeminant obstacle course event, takes place all around the world. Each event is a 10-12 mile course designed by British Special Forces and can involve live wires, ice baths and fire -- and participants always cover the finish line covered in mud.

Flashlight Tag
Ages: 7 and up
Equipment: Flashlight

How to Play:
1.Wait until dusk. One played is designated as "it" and given a flashlight.
2. The player who's "it" counts to 50 while the other kids hide in the dark.
3. "It" shines the flashlight on the first hidden player he finds, shouts his name, and then that player is "it."
4.To make it harder, the person who is "it" can turn off the flashlight while searching so you don't see him coming.
5.More complexity can also be added by letting hiders change hiding spots mid-game.

Wheelbarrow Race
Ages: 4 and up
Equipment: None

How to Play:
1.Line up 2-member teams at the starting line.
2.One team member gets in a push-up position, with the other person grabbing his ankles. If you're doing this with your child, you’ll probably need to be in back.
3. Whoever crosses the finish line first wins.

Fun Fact: According to Guinness, the fastest human wheelbarrow on record was a 100-meter race completed in 14 seconds. Once you see what an upper body workout it is to be in front, you’ll be really impressed by this.

Horseshoes
Ages: 2 and up
Equipment: Stakes (a stick will work too) and horseshoes

How to Play:
1.Put two stakes in the ground (kids will need Mom or Dad's help on that one)
2.Teams or players position themselves at a throw line and toss horseshoes at the stakes to see who can get the closest.
3.For little kids, keep it easy; whoever gets the horseshoe closest to the stake wins. For bigger kids, use this point system: landing within 6 inches = 1 point; a horseshoe leaning against the stake = 2 points; a "ringer" that goes around the stake = 3 points. The winning team is the one that reaches 40 points first.

Water Balloon Toss
Ages: 5 and up (just make sure you keep balloon pieces out of little hands and clean up afterward)
Equipment: Water balloons and a hose or faucet

How to Play:
1.Fill up lots water balloons before you start.
2.See how many times you can toss until it breaks. Older kids can increase the distance with each throw.
3.To extra more fun, you can do a wet version of the party game balloon relay, where players must sit on balloons to pop them.

Hopscotch
Ages: 2 and over
Equipment: Chalk and pavement

How to Play:
1.Draw out a stack numbered squares using chalk. (Designs vary, but a common one alternates single and double rows.) 
2.Toss a stone in square 1. Hop over that square and through the rest of the squares, hopping on one foot for single squares and two feet for doubles. (Watch how it's done.
3.On your way back, pick up the stone, pausing at the square before it.
4.Throw your stone on square 2, and repeat.
5.If you miss the square you're aiming for, hand the stone to the next player and go to the back of the line.

Fun fact: The childhood game actually originated as a military training exercise, with 100-foot courses. That means this totally counts as your cardio.

Mom of two Sasha Emmons is a writer and editor. Follow her on Twitter and Google+.  

WATCH: Finally! Great Kids Games To Keep Them Out Of Your Hair 

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