Games for Kids: How to Play What’s the Time, Mr Wolf?

The next fun game in our Group Games for Kids series is a common, collaborative game that is played regularly with young children in Australia – here’s how to play What’s the Time, Mr Wolf?

Games for Kids: How to Play What's The Time Mr Wolf?

How to Play What’s the Time, Mr Wolf?

Number of players: 2+
Recommended Age: 3+ years
Equipment needed: None

To play:

One child is chosen to be Mr (or Mrs) Wolf. He stands a good distance (3+ metres) away from the other players with his back to them.

The other players stand side by side in a line, facing Mr Wolf’s back. All together they call, “What’s the time, Mr Wolf?”

Mr Wolf responds by selecting and calling out an o’clock time (between 1 and 12).

The other players take the required number of steps towards Mr Wolf. For example, “3 o’clock,” would mean the players take three steps towards Mr Wolf.

These two actions are repeated resulting in the other players moving closer and closer to Mr Wolf.

When Mr Wolf is ready (usually when the other players are getting close), he changes his response to the question, “What’s the time, Mr Wolf?” to “Dinnertime!”

At this cue, all of the players must turn around and race back to the starting position with Mr Wolf chasing after them to try and catch his dinner. The player who is caught becomes the next Mr Wolf and the game continues.

Check out the other games in the Games for Kids series;

Games for Kids: How to Play Scarecrow Tag Games for Kids: How to Play Duck Duck Goose
Games for Kids: How to Play Red Light Green Light Games for Kids: How to Play Tails

Games for Kids: How to Play Please, Mr Crocodile How to Play Captain's Orders

45 Fabulous Birthday Party Games for Kids


  1. I grew up with this game. (Canada). Great for practicing that one to one correspondence. Tried this in the preschool a couple years ago and most kids took it as ” take as many steps before you count to the selected number as possible.” Haha.

  2. johnymilton001 says:

    i would like to play this game with my children. This is really good and interesting. My both children like to play this with me.

  3. In western Canada we call this “What time is it, Mr. Wolf” and play it in many variations — it’s a great way to practice foot handling a soccer ball (tiny kicks) or dribbling a basketball. They all love it.

    I just learned a new one at small boy’s skating lesson they call “Wax Museum”. Whoever is It stands a ways away, on a mark, with their back to the group, who are slowly moving towards him; when It calls stop, everybody freezes. Then It gets to go try to make them laugh (no touching…but making faces, staring contests etc are fair game). If you move you go to the back of the group. Whoever makes it to the mark first gets to be It next. It’s a huge hit with this group of 4-6 year olds. I think the skates are probably optional 🙂

    1. Love the variations, Frances, and Wax Museum sounds like lots of fun too 🙂

  4. Thank you for reminding me about this game-my kids in tutoring will love it.
    Ann Foster

  5. My kids love that game. Another good game for early childhood kids to get them moving is a game called busy bees. Each gets a string that they make into a circle on the groundso that they have their beehive. Teacher calls out body parts that need to be put in the beehive. When teacher calls “busy bees” everyone runs to a new beehive. Play continues. Some body parts get more difficult because I call 3 knees so kids have to figure out how to pair themselves up in one beehive. Great game to teach body awareness and the kids love some of the weird body parts i make them put in the beehives.

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