The typical kid these days spends an average of 7 hours a day in front of a computer, tablet, television, or phone.
Here’s the main issue with that:
When children sit for too long in front of electronic devices, it’s not good for their health!
Specifically, it can:
- Increase the risk of back pain
- Reduce metabolism
- Reduce the amount of healthy metabolism
- Increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases
Introducing fun games for kids to play outside is a good motivator to get them up and moving around.
But what do you when you have an odd number of people? What are some good games for 3 people to play outside?
Some of the best outdoor games for 3 people or players are:
- Three way soccer
- Monkey in the middle
- Lawn darts
Let’s take a look at each of them and how to play!
Benefits of Outdoor Play for Children
Encourage your children to participate in outdoor games as often as possible!
Here are some of the benefits:
1. Improved motor skills
Playing outdoors leaves kids with better motor skills.
When playing outside, children can run, swing, jump, walk, and throw.
The games allow children to practice and master movement skills, such as kicking, batting, and catching.
2. Lowers the body mass index
In 1975, only 4% of children and adolescents between 5 and 19 years were overweight. In 2016, this figure more than tripled to 18%.
Here’s the catch:
Children who spend most of their time playing outside are more active and thus, less likely to get overweight.
3. Children become more open with parents, and caregivers
When indoors, children tend to compete with their peers for attention.
And the reason is simple: the space is tiny.
Children feel intimidated and become increasingly quiet.
Here’s an interesting contrast:
When kids play outside, in a less confined space, they feel less overwhelmed as they aren’t competing with other kids for attention.
Playing outdoors allows kids to move and breathe freely. This freedom enables them to open up and talk to their parents or caregivers about pretty much anything.
4. Improved relationship with their peers
Outdoor play typically requires teamwork and imagination. And this helps the young ones to foster positive interactions with others.
Sure, there will be some arguments over whose turn it is to bounce on the trampoline or go down the slide.
But, generally, kids accustomed to outdoor play are more inclined to get along with fellow kids and quickly reach a compromise.
Matter of fact:
Studies show that children who play in a natural environment are less likely to bully others.
Best Games to Play Outdoors with Three People
For the most part, most outdoor games fit two teams, two players, or large crowds.
That’s where groups of three are left hanging.
But that doesn’t have to be a problem — if you can get creative.
If you want to play a game outdoors for three individuals (your child included), you can experiment with a few of these:
Yes, and oldie but a goodie!
Get a ball and position yourself at some distance from each other. It could be two adults and a child or just one adult and a child.
- Start tossing the ball back and forth.
- Don’t rush it and don’t use a lot of force. Ensure that every player gets the opportunity to touch the ball after it comes his or her way.
- If tossing the ball makes everyone tired, try using a flying disc or a soccer ball instead.
This game will improve the communication among all the parties involved, keep everyone excited, and keep the body fit.
You’ll be amazed to see your child himself take the ball and suggest you go out to play.
2. Three-Way Soccer
We know soccer comprises two teams and two goals, right?
But did you know three people can play soccer and enjoy it?
- Create a circular playing field. You can go out to the yard and draw a circle with a white paint or chalk.
- Set up three goals (you can use cones, sticks, or rocks) and space them evenly on the edge of the playing field.
- Start playing and aim to score. Essentially, this game is for two players on one. Simply put, the person with the ball has to go up against those other two.
At the end of the game, let the two who lost prepare a peanut butter sandwich and some fresh juice for everyone.
3. Keepaway or Monkey in the Middle
Monkey in the middle is a classic outdoor game that’s actually designed for 3 people!
Here’s how it works, in case you’ve forgotten:
- You’ll need a ball that’s easy for everyone to throw and catch, or a frisbee
- Two players stand apart from each other — 15-20 feet is good to start, but you can go further if you want!
- The other player stands in the middle
- The first two players try to throw (or kick) the ball back and forth without letting the middle player, or the “monkey” get it!
- If the middle player gets the ball, whoever touched it last becomes the new monkey
Keepaway is more of a free-for-all. Players 1 and 2 run around passing the ball to each other while Player 3 chases them down and tries to intercept it!
Just be careful with this game and younger kids. It can lead to hurt feelings if you don’t let them win every now and then.
This fun-filled outdoor game is guaranteed to make everyone laugh.
Here’s how it’s played:
- Every player is given a number and stands close to the person who’s “it” for that particular round.
- Next, “it” holds the ball and throws it up in the air while the other two players run away.
- As the tossed ball reaches the highest point in the air, “it” shouts the number of another player and runs away as well.
- The person whose number is called should run back to catch the ball. They can also chase after the ball if it’s bouncing around.
- After the person gets hold of the ball, they shout “Spud!” and everyone else freezes.
- The person holding the ball should try to hit another player with it. If they do, then the new person gets one of the four letters (S, P, U, and D in that order) and becomes the new “it.”
- If the ball misses, then the individual that threw the ball becomes “it” for the next round.
- If a player gets all four letter of SPUD, they’re out!
- There are some variations where “out” players can earn their way back into the game
This is a fun game for three players or even more.
Use a sidewalk chalk to draw a hopscotch grid in the backyard.
Be sure to number the squares from 1 to 9.
Find a rock that’s perfect for tossing.
Don’t pick a large one, as it’s difficult to throw. And don’t use a small one as it can bounce a lot.
- Start off by tossing your rock in square 1.
- Now, hop over this rock on one foot or both feet (following the hopscotch pattern) and go on to the end.
- Turn around and start coming back. Stop at square 2, balance on one foot, stretch your hand to pick the rock in square 1 then jump over square one to the start.
- Throw the stone to square two and continue with the pattern.
- If you toss the rock but miss the target square, your turn ends and another player starts.
One person plays this game at a time.
6. Lawn Darts
You can easily set up this game in your backyard.
It only takes some seconds to position the circular target areas on the yard ground.
If you’re a beginner or playing with kids, move the target spots close to each other.
(And definitely get a kid-friendly version of the game from Amazon!)
(Click the image to see lawn darts on Amazon)
When playing with three players, all of you should stand behind the end’s circle and aim for one target area.
Once the second person has taken their throws, the third one should do the same.
This game isn’t very different from conventional darts: the closer a player’s lawn dart gets to the bull’s eye, the more points they get.
There are SO many games to play outside for three people.
Try the above six, one at a time and see which ones become your kid’s favorites.
Hopefully, you’ll get them away from the screens and loving outdoor time before you know it.
Before you go, check out:
- Toddler activities you can do at home
- Games to play in the kitchen
- How to find tadpoles as a kids activity
Hope this helps!