At family picnics, BBQs, or outdoor gatherings, it can be easy for older relatives to end up on the sidelines. I
f grandparents suffer from limited mobility, they can’t always easily participate in action-packed activities, or may have trouble understanding the rules of newer games they haven’t played before.
This list of outdoor games for seniors will give tons of great suggestions for games that the elderly can participate in with children and grandchildren. Many of these outdoor games will already be familiar for seniors, and those that aren’t should be easy and simple enough to pick up quickly.
Let’s jump into the list of the best outdoor games for seniors!
1. Musical Spaces
Musical Spaces is a game similar to musical chairs, but uses hoola-hoops or painted X marks for where to stand. When the music plays, participants must walk in a circle around the marked spots and when the music stops, players must quickly step into a designated space. The last person left without a space is out!
This modification to musical chairs doesn’t require the individuals to sit down and stand up while playing, making it much easier for elderly seniors and negating the fall risks that can be associated with getting up and down from a chair.
2. Cornhole / Bean Bag Toss
Cornhole is a game where players take turns throwing bean bags onto platforms with holes built-in. If the bean bag overshoots the platform, then that counts as an “out.” The goal is to get the bean bags into the platform holes to score points.
This outdoor game can be enjoyed by both seniors and children alike! It’s simple to understand but still challenging to score points.
3. Water Balloon Toss
This fun game doesn’t require many materials, just water balloons and a willingness to get wet! Players toss the water balloons back and forth to one another – whoever gets wet when the water balloon breaks loses!
This is an especially great game for hot summer days and is fun for both seniors and kids. Plus, it’s a low-impact tossing game that can even help a senior work on their arm strength!
Playing horseshoes requires a horseshoe pit, stakes, and horseshoes to throw, but if you have the setup it’s a great simple game for the entire family.
Players take turns tossing horseshoes at stakes in the ground, trying to get them as close to the stake without touching it or going over. There’s a variety of different ways players can throw, allowing for throwing adjustments depending on the senior’s strength.
Older seniors will have an easier time with this outdoor game because it doesn’t require speed or agility, and is slow-moving so that the individual has plenty of time to set up their throw.
With shuffleboard, players take turns sliding a disc down a flat court board in an attempt to make it as close to the end of the board as possible without going over.
This is another slower-paced outdoor game that seniors will enjoy and likely be successful with! It’s fairly easy for older adults to get into position, making it perfect for those who have difficulty with mobility.
Shuffleboard is also a great game for those looking to spend time with their grandchildren. It’s a fun game for the whole family! The only downside is that you need an established shuffleboard court to play.
6. Beach Volley Ball
This game is a great alternative to indoor volleyball for older seniors who are looking for an outdoor activity on the family beach vacation but still want the lower-impact option of beach volleyball.
The court size in this game can be adjusted depending on players’ skill level and how much space you have available – which makes it perfect for everyone from younger children to elderly adults!
7. Lawn Darts
Lawn darts is a unique outdoor game that many seniors may be familiar with from childhood.
This activity may be challenging because it can involve throwing objects, but once you learn how to play lawn darts they’re an easy game to manage! The object of this game is similar to horseshoes, in that players are trying to toss the lawn darts and get as close to the opposite circle bullseye as possible.
Just keep in mind that old-school traditional lawn darts are fairly dangerous with their pointed spiked, and aren’t commonly available anymore. While some players dislike the newer plastic designs, they are certainly much safer and are the better option for lawn darts fun!
Croquet is a simple but still challenging golf-style game that can be played by anyone who has good hand-eye coordination and decent motor skills, including seniors!
This outdoor game will require some time for set up, but once it’s all put together there are countless ways to enjoy croquet. The basic idea is that the players take turns hitting a ball through a series of wickets in order to end up with the most points.
Croquet can be played as singles or doubles and there are also some variations on how many balls, hoops, and stakes are used during the playtime. It’s an easy game to learn but has a lot of complexity, making it perfect for seniors who want to stay active and enjoy a challenge.
Plus, there is no time crunch in this game, allowing older seniors to take their time lining up each shot and chat with the grandkids between rounds!
Even if a senior has never played croquet before, if they’ve played mini-golf as a fun senior-friendly outdoor activity in the past, they should have no problem getting the hang of it!
9. Giant Connect 4
Giant Connect 4 is basically an enlarged version of the classic Connect 4 game, where players compete to get four of their colored disks stacked in a row while the opponent places their own colored disks to block the others’ path.
The standard Connect 4 is still a great game for older individuals, but many will also get a kick of the giant-sized version! Plus, this game is simple and already familiar to most seniors, so there’s no or little learning curve involved.
10. Giant Jenga
Giant Jenga starts by stacking giant wooden blocks into a tower. Players take turns pulling one block from the stack without knocking down any other blocks, and then placing the pulled block on top of the tower.
This game is a fun activity for everyone in the family! Younger children can help stack blocks to get them started or be an assistant when it’s not their turn. Players can take turns more slowly and carefully with the blocks, making it a gentle, easy game for seniors.
11. Giant Bowling
Giant Bowling is essentially the same as regular bowling, but with larger balls and a bigger lane.
Seniors will want to make sure they are only playing with lighter plastic bowling balls to avoid too much impact on fragile joints, but it’s a great game kids and older individuals will both love.
12. Giant Chess
Another giant-sized version of a senior-frendly game, giant chess plays the same as standard-sized chess, only with giant oversized pieces.
Giant chess is a great outdoor game for seniors because it’s not too fast-paced. However, chess is a fairly complex game that elderly individuals may get frustrated with if they aren’t already familiar with the rules. It’s best played by seniors who are already fans of traditional chess and are excited to show off their skills in the backyard!
13. Giant Jigsaw Puzzles
If you’re looking for a less complex outdoor game, check out giant jigsaw puzzles! They may be a good option if your elderly loved one is in search of something relaxing and easy to play.
This gentle activity can help seniors with memory loss stay occupied while also enhancing their cognitive skills.
14. Giant Checkers
Like giant chess, giant checkerboards are a low-impact game that will be enjoyable for seniors who already know the rules of checkers.
This easy outdoor activity is great because there’s no need to worry about these oversized pieces getting lost in the grass or sand – and it can also provide an opportunity for kids and seniors to play together! The game is even simple enough for an elderly grandparent to teach a grandchild who has never played before.
15. Ladder ball
Ladder ball is a game that’s similar to bocce and corn-hole in terms of the concept. Two teams stand on either end of the space, each with a three-rung ladder. The players must toss a ball-and-rope piece across the area and try to get it to loop around the various rungs, with each rung worth different points.
This outdoor activity may be difficult for seniors because it requires some precision tosses – however, if they’re up for the challenge, this game can be a great way to impress the grandchildren!
16. Hook and Ring
Hook and Ring is a simple game where individuals throw a ring attached to a string, trying to get the hook to snag on the hook that’s at the opposite side.
This game is easy, laid-back, and low impact. Because it doesn’t require any degree of strength and instead requires the individual to experiment with pushing the ring in various angles, it’s perfect for older seniors with limited mobility.
If you don’t already have a hook and ring setup installed, you’ll need to set it up. Luckily, the supplies for this game are very cheap and it’s incredibly easy to install in just a few minutes!
17. Scoop Ball
Scoop ball is a classic picnic game that seniors with moderate hand-eye coordination might enjoy. The game functions similar to classic catch, except that you’ll hold a plastic scooper to catch and launch the ball.
The rounded scooper allows the senior to throw the ball using less strength, making it ideal for those who have lost muscle strength in their arms over the years!
18. Nerf Gun War
A popular game with young boys, nerf gun wars are great because they let both the elderly and children play together without risk of injury. The options for gameplay are endless, from tag-style playing to hide-and-seek.
19. Bocce Ball
A slower-paced outdoor game, bocce ball is a great activity for seniors with limited mobility. It doesn’t require any special court – all you need is a bocce ball set with balls to get started, and a way to mark where is out-of-bounds on the field.
Many elderly individuals are already familiar with the rules and can easily play bocce ball with their grandchildren – or even teach them!
Tennis is a great full-body workout that’s easy on the joints for seniors. It provides an opportunity to engage in physical activity with children and grandchildren while also being low impact and gentle on senior bodies.
Of course, tennis is more of a proper sport than an outdoor party game like the other games on this list, but if there are courts nearby all you need are a few rackets and balls to get started! Plus, if the senior enjoys playing tennis, it could become a new recreational activity for them moving forward.
Pickleball is structured similarly to tennis, but instead uses paddles and a smaller, lighter ball. It combines the elements of tennis and table tennis into one easy-to-learn sport – perfect if you’re looking for something low impact to play with your elderly loved ones!
Pickleball has become increasingly popular as a social sport for seniors, and you may unexpectedly find some pickle balls courts in your area! Plus, the paddles and balls required for pickleball are cheap and easy for anyone to get the hang of.
22. Toss & Catch Velcro
For a fun game that’s easy on the joints, try the classic beach game of tossing and catching a tennis ball between velcro-catching pads.
This game is incredibly simple and easy enough for anyone to pick up. Plus, the velcro pads mean that even seniors with limited mobility or less-than-ideal motor skills may be able to catch an underhanded throw.
23. Ring Toss
Ring toss is a game that consists of throwing rings onto pegs in the ground which are set at various levels. It’s easy to learn, but it can be tricky for seniors with limited mobility if they have trouble bending and it does require a degree of fine motor skills.
However, the upside is that ring toss sets are fairly cheap and can be taken on the go or to the beach!
24. Frisbee Golf
A popular outdoor game for all ages, frisbee golf is a great option if you’re looking to get some exercise while playing with your loved ones. The rules are fairly simple – the player throws their disc from tee-to-tee and counts how many throws fall into the basket.
Again, this is a game that is simple and easy enough to learn, but it may be too challenging for elderly individuals who don’t have great motor skills.
You can modify frisbee golf to make it a bit easier by drawing your own large-sized circle bullseyes or using hoola-hoops for goal markers to enlarge the area you need the frisbee to land in order to earn points.
25. Scavenger Hunts
Scavenger hunts are a great way for seniors to get outside and have fun with their grandchildren. You can make scavenger hunts as simple or challenging as you want, from identifying antiques in antique stores to looking out for animals while on an outing at the zoo.
The classic game of catch can be another fun and easy game for the elderly to engage in with younger kids. The game of catch can be modified with underhand throws or a whiffle ball depending on the senior’s arm strength.
A more advanced outdoor game for seniors, badminton is a fun and fast-paced game that more active seniors can enjoy. Badminton is easy on the joints while still providing a great upper body workout. Plus, regular playing can help exercise a senior’s hand-eye coordination.
Since a birdie is a lot softer than a tennis ball or volleyball, seniors also won’t have to worry about being hit and bruised.
There are a number of outdoor games that can be enjoyed by seniors. Some require more physical activity than others and some may require modifications to be safer for the elderly, but all offer an opportunity to enjoy the outdoors with friends or family while getting in some physical and/or mental exercise at the same time!
Keep in mind that not all these games will be appropriate for elderly individuals with visual impairments. No worries though, we have an entire collection of crafts and activities for blind or low-vision seniors.
Let us know which of these outdoor games you enjoy most when playing with seniors – and if you have ideas we overlooked, make sure to add them in the comments!