Kids & Parenting

Moms and kids playground games

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mom and child on playground slide
Simple games can make playground time fun
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Learn moms and kids playground games to make visits more fun for both of you!

Heading out for a day at the playground can be fun for you and your little one, but have you ever wondered if there's a way to make it more of a playtime for the two of you? And what about those days when you're the only ones on the playground and your preschooler doesn't want to play alone? 

That's where moms and kids playground games can help. Instead of just sitting and watching while your child plays, you can have fun, too.

Scavenger hunt

This one can be as simple or involved as you choose, and works great for a playgroup, too.
  1. Create a list of things to find. Forget about planting items for this age. Use things that are already at the playground like a flower, the sound of a bird, or something red. 
  2. Print out a list of your items. For pre-readers, use pictures so your preschooler can see what's on the list. Clipart works great for this, or use Google Image Search to find your pictures.
  3. Take your list to the park, and play! 
  4. For an extra level, take along a point and shoot camera and help your child take pictures of their finds. Use the pictures to create a fun scrapbook page to remember your day at the playground.

Obstacle course

This is another simple game moms and kids can play at the playground. But this one works even when you didn't plan for it!

  1. Gather 6-10 things to use as the obstacles. If you didn't plan ahead on this, use random things from your car or trunk. If you walked to the playground, use things you find nearby like sticks or rocks or piles of leaves.
  2. If you're planning in advance, you can make simple rules like red things are to jump over, or hula hoops are to run around, and include several of each kind. Keep it simple, with only one or two kinds of items. Or just make it a run-around-everything kind of plan -- that works well with toddlers and larger playgroups.
  3. Ready, set, go! You and your little one run together around the course. There are no winners and losers in this game, so if it's a group everyone should get a prize.

Wacky bowling

This game requires a little planning, but once it's set, you can play it again and again at the playground, park or even in your own backyard.

  1. Save plastic half gallon milk bottles (wash them out well, and let them dry before you replace caps!)
  2. Glue caps in place on empty bottles
  3. Let your child help you paint the bottles with washable craft paint, or use markers or sticker to decorate.
  4. Take the bottles to the playground with a large, lightweight playground ball.
  5. Set the bottles up in a row, a triangle or however you want
  6. Help your child bowl with the bottles as pins. For younger children, you may need to help them roll or throw the ball. For preschoolers, you get to act as pin-setter and ball chaser! Hint: Your child will love seeing mommy chasing after the ball, so be prepared to move!


Sometimes the best game is just using your imagination. Kids can see a playground as a castle, train, spaceship, store or a dozen other things. Start the pretend, or join in the make-believe they create. You'll be building memories and having fun at the same time. 

Oldies but Goodies

Even games that seem old and boring to you will be exciting and new to your toddler or preschooler. Think of games you played as a kid, and adapt them to your child's age.

Playground hide and seek is a great choice. Restrict the play to the climbing set, and keep an eye on your little one. 

No, that's not cheating! It's safety! Your toddler or preschooler won't understand that you can see them, so make sure you play up how hard it is to find them!

Be creative

Keep simple toys like balls, sand pails, hoops, and plastic sand molds in your trunk to take the playground and make up games on the spot.

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