8 Playground Games that Encourage Team Play

Encouraging children to play outside is a great way to let them work off that extra energy, enjoy team play, and develop social skills. Outdoor play has a number of significant health benefits for children. But playground games can also be a great way to develop social skills and encourage team play.


Everyone has played outside at some point and when the sun’s shinning, there is nothing better than getting outside to enjoy it. There are so many playground games I’ve heard of that kids love to play, but there are also games they can learn that help develop certain skills. Today we will be looking at 8 games that encourage team play among children.

Capture the Flag

This playground game is an oldie but a goodie. This game is the most fun when played with a big group of people. Split the group into two teams, give each team a flag, and mark each teams base. The object of Capture the Flag is to run into the other team’s territory, catch hold of their flag and make it back to the safety of your own territory. In this game you can tag “enemy” players and send them to your jail. They can only be freed from jail if a member of their team comes into your territory.

This game is a great way to encourage team play because children have to work together as a team to win the game. A great game for large groups of children, capture the flag is the ultimate team player game.

Jump Rope and Double Dutch

One of the most popular playground games is the humble jump rope and double dutch games. Most adults will remember playing rope games at school with their friends and these games live on today and serve as excellent opportunities for positive team play.

Long jump ropes allow for teams of children to compete against each other. Working as a team, all children have to jump into time with the rope – possible signing jump-rope rhymes – and encouraging other players to join in. The team with the most children lined-up and jumping in sync with one another wins the game. This simple game is so versatile and can be played alone, in pairs, or in a group.

Red Light, Green Light

For a fun game that doesn’t require any equipment and can therefore be played outside at any time, try red light, green light! This is a fantastic game for team play! The rules are simple: one person is the traffic light at one end of the playground, while the other layers are at the other end. When the traffic light faces the group and says, “red light!” everyone must freeze straight away. However, when the traffic light’s back is turned, and they say, “green light!” the players try to get as close to the traffic light as possible before they turn around again.

And so on…

If anyone is spotted moving during the game by the traffic light, they are sent back to the start. The first person to tag the traffic light wins! You can either play this where everyone is out to win individually or number every player 1 or 2 and whoever tags the traffic light wins a point for their team. It really is a lot of fun!

Red Rover, Red Rover

Divide all the players into two teams, lining both teams opposite each other. Everyone on a team must hold hands and face the other team (also holding hands). The two teams should be a couple of metres apart.

Each team takes it in turn to call out “Red Rover, Red Rover, let me come over!” The child that shouted to phrase then leaves their team line, runs towards their opponents and tries to break through the held hands. If they break through, they get to take a person from the opposing team back to join their team. However, if they don’t break through, they join the opposing team.
When a team only has one single person left, that person has to try and break through the other team. If they do not succeed, their team loses. However, if they do succeed, they gain a player and the game continues. This is a really fun team player game and fantastic fun for everyone involved! If you’ve never played this team game, definitely give it a go!

Chinese Whispers

Most of us have heard of this game – if not played it ourselves! This game often ensues in a lot of hilarity with children, so if you’re in the mood for a team game of silliness, Chinese Whispers is the game for you!

All players sit in one big circle. One player thinks up a sentence and whispers it to the person next to them, and so on and so forth…When it finally reaches the last person, they say the sentence out loud. The ending sentence is usually a big mix up of words that are hilarious or simply don’t make any sense at all!

Chinese Whispers is an absolutely fantastic team game and teaches children to listen, encourage one another, and play together well to be rewarded with a fun ending!

The Human Knot Game

This is a great game to encourage co-working among children, while allowing them to have fun at the same time. To play the game, have a group of kids sit together in a circle (a minimum of 5-6) and have every child randomly hold onto another child’s wrist. Once everyone is holding tightly to somebody else, instruct the kids to try and untangle themselves – but the catch is that they’re not allowed to let go of anyone’s wrist!

This is a great team exercise and forces kids to work well together to find a solution that works for everyone. To up the difficulty a little bit, you can instruct the kids that they cannot speak to one another – thereby forcing them to communicate through other means, such as hand gestures or facial expressions. This is such a fun game and a fantastic way to encourage team play!

The Trust Walk

This classic kids’ game is a great team building activity that can be played in either pairs or big groups of people. The only thing you need to ensure before playing this game is that the playing location is free from obstacles and a safe environment to play in.
The game is played by one kid being blindfolded and spun around on the spot. Another child then comes over and acts as a guide. The role of the guide is to get the blind folded child to the finished line only by using verbal cues. This game can also have multiple guides at once, making it trickier and more competitive.

Coloured Dots

This is our final team player game in the list and involves placing a coloured dot on the forehead of every participant. Without talking to each other, players have to find out what colour their dot is and find others who have the same colour dot – trust me when I say, it’s a lot harder than it seems! The first team to team up with all the other kids with the same colour. This non-verbal activity is a great way to encourage kids to work together.

I hope you’ve found this list of playground games for team play useful! There were so many games to choose from, so I thought I’d go with some of my absolute favourites. What are some of the playground games you enjoyed playing when you were younger? Leave your answer in the comments below!

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