The use of outdoor games for students is a great way to improve a number of mental and physical skills, and often bring with them a lot of significant benefits. Games have a far greater educational influence than most people are aware of. Games also contribute a great deal to social development. Many students, because of problems at home, shyness or physical disability find it hard to react with others. Some adults can’t either, and nothing places one at a greater disadvantage in a business or social setting. Many developmental studies show that students that are normally withdrawn for whatever reasons have shown a lot of improvement in their ability to cooperate with playmates, and have even increased their popularity among their playmates because of skills brought about by playing games. Tests done with shy adults have had similar results.

Games teach students to follow certain limits and levels of self-control. A student who has to take his turn will think more carefully about his turn. A game that requires taking turns is a great way to focus attention, since a player constantly has to readjust plans based on others’ actions. Through these games students will develop social skills, improved self-esteem and confidence which will help them in other areas of their schooling life. 

What better way to teach a student self-control and moral reasoning? When engaged in a game, the student has to learn that even in the emotional excitement of an intense game or close race, they have to observe rules and regulations, to choose between fair or unfair, and to act on those choices appropriately. If you would like the following games as a PDF please email me at 

Giants, Wizards and Elves

Equipment: 40 cones to mark out the playing area

Description: Start the game by splitting the students into two even teams. Split the playing area into three sections, two safety zones, one on each team’s side, and designate a middle area where both teams are able to go. The game starts with each team getting in a huddle to pick what they want to be as a team – a Giant, a Wizard or an Elf. These are the actions that the teams must make when they choose one of the three characters. Giants put their hands up over their heads, Wizards put their hands out straight in front of them wiggling their fingers like they are waving a wand and Elves make pointy ears on their head with their index fingers. Once the teams have decided their character for the round, they move to the designated centre area, face to face with the other team. The teacher then counts to three; on three each team shows the character that they have chosen. The result is exactly like paper, scissors, rock. Giants beat Elves, Elves beat Wizards and Wizards beat Giants, so the team that beats the winning team chases the other and tries to tag as many students on the other team as possible before they reach the safety zone on their side of the playing area. Students from the team that get tagged become a part of the other team. The game continues until all players are on one side, which means everyone wins. This is a great game for all ages.


Man from Mars

Equipment: Cones to mark 10m x 10m playing square

Description: Start the game by getting the class to line up at one end of the playing area. The teacher picks one student to be ‘it’; they are called the ‘Man From Mars’. This student stands in the middle of the play area and starts as the Man from Mars. The students yell out “Man from Mars, Man from Mars, will you take us to the stars?” The student in the middle who is ‘it’ chooses a specific detail such as “Only if you have blonde hair.” Then the students with blonde hair get to run to the other end of the playing area. Then the Man from Mars yells “Go”, and the rest of the students run and try to avoid the Man from Mars from tagging them. Those caught help the Man from Mars and catch students in the next round. The winner is the last student left at the end.


Alex The Kid

Equipment: None

Description: This game can be played inside or outside. Students move around and challenge each other to a game of paper, scissors, rock. The winning student continues to play the game; the losing student has to put their hands on the winner’s shoulders and follow them around like a train carriage. The aim of the game is to be the last student left with all the other students behind you like carriages. The winner is then called Alex the Kid.


Rooster Rumble

Equipment: None

Description: Pair students up who are similar height and weight. The aim of this game is to knock your partner off balance. In pairs students face each other in a squat position holding their ankles. This is the Rooster position. Each Rooster is trying to make their partner lose balance by bumping. Once one of the Roosters breaks their wings by letting go of their ankles, the game is over. The first to three wins, then swap partners and play again.


The Sharks are Coming

Equipment: None

Description:  The class moves around on your orders. For example, you might get them to skip, or hop like a kangaroo or run around with high knees – anything you like. Then you need to yell out, “The sharks are coming”, and the students all need to yell together, “How many?” Then give them a number, such as three, and they need to get into groups of three, or if you yell four, they need to get into groups of four. If students form groups smaller or larger than the number you say, they are out of the game and become judges on the side. The winner or winners are the last few students left.