As I write this it is a beautiful, sunny Winter’s afternoon. Through the open doors I can hear the sounds of children next door playing outside – the loud, exaggerated counting and giggles associated with a good, old fashioned game of Hide and Seek. It is the perfect sound to accompany this sunny day and brings to mind childhood memories of so many good, old fashioned outdoor games!
15 Old Fashioned Outdoor Games for Kids
Many of the games below are linked to more information about how to play the games featured. Click on the green links for further details.
1. Hide and Go Seek: This classic children’s game is believed to have its origins in 2nd century Greece. For instructions on how to play and some fun variations, check out this article at Fun Games Kids Play.
2. Hopscotch: One of the most popular old fashioned playground games, that can be played almost anywhere – inside or out, at home or school.
3. Jump Rope: There are lots of different ways to play with a skipping rope but the most fun has to be had with a long rope and friends to hold either end!
5. Duck, Duck, Goose: An Australian classic circle game beloved by young children in kindergartens, preschools and day care centres.
6. A Tisket A Tasket (I Wrote a Letter to My Love): This fun catching circle game has its roots in a traditional nursery rhyme;
“A tisket, a tasket,
A green and yellow basket,
I wrote a letter to my love,
And on the way I dropped it,
I dropped, I dropped it,
And on the way I dropped it,
A little boy picked it up,
And put it in his pocket.”
To play, children sit in a circle with their hands held behind them. One child skips around the outside of the circle with a small object (envelop, handkerchief, pebble or similar) to represent the letter. As the rhyme finishes, the skipping child places the object into the hands of one of the seated children. That player jumps up and chases the first child around the circle as they race all the way around to sit in the now vacant spot. If they are caught, they must sit in the middle of the circle for one turn. If they make it to the vacant spot, they sit in for the next round of the game. The chaser becomes the next to deliver the ‘letter.’
7. Elastics/Chinese Jump Rope: Played with a large loop of elastic made into a rectangle with two children standing inside the elastic with it stretched around their ankles, this classic childhood game is played with groups of 3+ children. A third player -the jumper – stands in the middle of the elastic to perform a series of increasingly difficult jumps.
Jumps include landing with both feet inside the elastic loop, outside the loop, one foot inside and one outside, and landing with both feet on top of the elastic rope. The elastic loop is raised as each sequence of jumps is completed without error, moving to mid-shin of the holders, then the back of the knees, mid-thighs, hips, armpits, and neck.
8. Red Light, Green Light: A great group game for getting kids moving in large, open spaces outdoors, it encourages them to listen and respond with concentration and controlled movements.
9. Go Home Stay Home: Played with 5+ players, one is chosen to be It. Dedicate a place to be ‘home’ – it can be easy or hard to get to, depending upon the age and experience of the players. It counts slowly to 50 with their eyes covered. The other players hide and, once the counting is complete, try to get ‘home’ without being seen and tagged. Once home, the player calls, “Go home, stay home, 123,” and they are safe. The last player to get home (or to not make it home at all, becomes the next It.
10. Scarecrow Tag: A super fun novelty version of the classic game of Tag, fabulous for classes or groups of children. Also known as Stuck in the Mud in some locations.
RELATED: For more like this, check out our collection of 10 Tag Games for Kids – with more fun variations that kids will love, and a handy printable version of the game instructions for teachers and parents.
11. What’s the Time, Mr Wolf?: A fun form of tag for young players played in countries across the world, from Australia to the United Kingdom and South Africa.
12. Please, Mr Crocodile, May We Cross the River? A great old fashioned outdoor game for play with groups of young children,
13. Kick the Can: A fun cross between tag, hide and seek and capture the flag, click through here for instructions for play.
14. Four Square Handball: A fun, popular game with children ages 8+ years, primarily due to its simple equipment requirements, easy rules of play and the fact that it can be played with groups of children.
15. Flashlight Tag: A fun tag game to play once the sun goes down, the tagger a flash light and play tag as you normally would in a designated area, except the tagger uses the light of the flashlight to “tag” people. Once a player is “hit” with the light they are out. Play continues until everyone has been caught and a new tagger is chosen.
So I am off now outside to draw a hopscotch grid with chalk on our drive, for an afternoon of family fun!
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