17 Classic Games For Kids

I decided to post this blog because frankly, I’m so sick of my kids wanting to play video games and watch t.v or movies.  When I was a kid all I wanted to do was go outside and run around or play board games.  Now I know that was 20 years ago so a lot has changed but if you think about it, a childhood is exactly what is says….CHILDhood.  You only get 10-15 years where it’s ok to do whatever you want, get in trouble, not worry about bills or a job.  I think every adult has thought, I wish I could be a kid again for a day.  I want to try to hold onto my kids childhood for them even if they’re fighting me the whole time.   Here is a list of classic games that don’t involve electricity……..

Jump-Rope and Double Dutch: I remember when the recess bell rang, I would run as fast as I could to meet my friends at the jump rope.  I got pretty good double dutch.  I remember everyone would start gathering around me and my friends and cheer us on as we would jump longer and longer without messing up.

Hopscotch: This is one of those games you can pretty much play anywhere that you can find concrete or pavement.   It’s so simple and fun, just make squares on the ground and number the squares from one to nine. Pick a small rock,  and start by tossing the rock onto square  then do as follows: 1. Hop over the rock and hop with a single foot or both feet (to follow the hopscotch pattern) all the way to the end. Turn around and come back, stopping on square 2. Balancing on one foot, pick up the rock in square 1 and hop over square 1 to the start. Continue this pattern with Square 2. And so on. If you toss your rock and miss the correct square, your turn is over.

Red Rover: Forever stuck in my head, “red rover, red rover, send Kristin right over” This has to be one of my favorite games.  Just thinking about how much fun I had as a kid makes me miss my childhood so much.  You play the games by first dividing everyone into two teams, each forming a long line, holding hands, facing the other team. Each team should stay about 20 feet apart.   The first team will yell, “Red Rover, Red Rover, send <insert child’s name> right over!”.  That child will runs as fast as they can toward the other line and tries to break through the held hands. If they break through, they get to take someone back to their team. If they don’t, they join the new team. When a team only has one person left, that person tries to break through the other team. If they do not, then their team loses. If they do, they gain a player and play continues.

Tag: I don’t know anyone who hasn’t played tag, I still play it at 30 years old..lol   If you haven’t played then all you do is get a group of kids together, decide who will start out as being “it”, then that person chases all the other kids around until they touch someone else and say “tag, you’re it”.  It just keeps going until everyone is tired of playing.

Freeze Tag: This is a variation of Tag where if the person who is “it” tags you, you have to freeze where you are. Another participant can tag you to unfreeze you.

Frisbee:  I didn’t play a lot of Frisbee because I was so bad at it, but this is a good game for hand eye coordination and if you want something more relaxing to do.

Horse – basketball: I use to love this game, because I wasn’t good at basketball at all but it gave me the chance to kind of play a version of basketball if you will.  The first thing you do is figure out who goes first,  then the first player takes his shot. If he misses, he goes to the end of the line. If he makes the basket, the next player must make the same shot. If the second player misses, he gets an “H,” and it is the next player’s turn to announce a shot and try to make it. Each time a player fails to make a shot that his predecessor made, he gets another letter until someone has spelled “horse.” At that point the player is out. The other players continue play until only one player is left.

Hide and Go Seek:  Kids usually love this game because they’re small and can fit in a lot of places BUT they’re usually easy to find because you can almost always hear little giggles coming from their hiding spots.  Adults on the other hand, when we play with kids we get really creative and sometimes it takes a child a while to find us…muahahaha!!!

Capture the Flag: This game is most fun when played with a large group. Split the group into two teams, each team having a flag or other marker at the team’s base. The object of the game is to run into the other team’s territory, capture their flag and make it safely back to your own territory. You can tag “enemy” players in your territory, sending them to your jail. They can be sprung from jail by a member of their own team running into your territory, tagging them and running back, with one freed person allowed per jail break. It is sometimes played that all the people in jail could hold hands and make a chain back toward their own territory, making it easier for members of their team to tag them. We also played a similar game called Steal the Sticks. It had almost the same rules, but several sticks were used instead of one flag.

Heads Up, Seven Up: The main thing I always remember about heads up, seven up is playing in my classroom with everyone at their desk.  When my head was down on the desk and I was breathing the desk would get all steamy.  Strange thing to remember but it’s always stuck with me.  To start the game, seven players go to the front and the teacher says, “Heads down, thumbs up!” Everyone still at their desk puts their head down, extends an arm and stucks their thumb up. The seven kids that were at the front go around and each press one person’s thumb down. Then they all go back to the front of the room and the teacher says, “Heads up, seven up!” The players at the desks raise their heads and the seven whose thumbs were pressed down stand up. Each in turn names the person they think pressed down their thumb. If they are correct, they change places with the presser. Then the game can start again.

Four Square: This ball game is played on a square court further divided into four smaller squares, numbered one through four. One player stands in each of the squares, with the highest ranked player in number one, lowest in number four. You bounce the ball among the players, bouncing once in the other person’s square before that person catches it. When I played this as a kid, we had countless additional rules to choose from. The person in square one got to choose the rules. Anyone who violates the rules will have to move down in the ranking, or be eliminated with another player rotating in to square four.

Jacks: This game can be played on any flat surface, indoors or out. The player scatters the jacks on the playing surface, often by just tossing them out of one hand, as if rolling dice. The ball is then tossed up, is allowed to bounce once, and is caught before the second bounce. The player tries to scoop up jacks and catch the ball with one hand before the ball’s second bounce. The number of jacks to be picked up goes in order. First you pick up one (“onesies”), then two (“twosies”), then three and so on. There are many variations to the rules of this game including things like “pigs in the pen” and “double bounces.” Jacks is one game I wish I had played as a girl, but it was much more common when my mom was a child.

Red Light, Green Light: This game is soooo much fun and simple.  All you need is a group of kids, one child is the traffic light at one end of the room, and the other kids are at the other end. When the child playing the traffic light faces the group, he or she says, “Red light!” and everyone must freeze. The child playing the traffic light will turn his or her back and say, “Green light!”, then all the kids try to get as close to the him or her as possible.  The child playing the traffic light then turns around quickly, saying “Red light!”, and if anyone is spotted moving, they have to go back to the starting place. The first person to tag the traffic light wins and gets to be the next traffic light.

Simon Says: This is a fun game for adults and children.  One person is Simon and starts by saying, “Simon says, <insert action here>”. Everyone must then do the action. However, if Simon doesn’t say “Simon says” to begin the request, anyone who does that action is out. The last person still playing in the end will be Simon for the next round.

Marco Polo: This variation of tag is played in a swimming pool. Whoever is “it” closes their eyes and yells “Marco!” The other players then yell “Polo!” The “it” person has to tag one of the others, and then that person is “it.” Be sure to play in a pool that is not too deep for any of the players.

Duck Duck Goose: I mostly remember playing this game in kindergarten and 1st grade.  Everyone sits cross legged in a circle.  One child will start by walking around the outside of circle, tapping each person lightly on the head. As you tap each person, say the word “Duck.”   Decide who you want to be “Goose.” This person must chase you, so you want to pick someone you think you can outrun.  Then tap that person on the head and say “Goose” instead of “Duck.” The Goose must jump up and chase you around the circle. If you reach the Goose’s former seat and sit down before he can tag you, the Goose becomes It. If the Goose touches you before you can get back to the empty seat, you have to sit in the middle of the circle. You have to stay in the center of the circle until someone else is tagged out. That person then takes your place in the middle, and you go to his old seat.  Continue until everyone is tired of playing.

Musical Chairs: In a circle, arrange chairs facing outward to total one fewer than the number of players. An additional player needs to be in charge of the music. When the music starts, the players walk around the chairs. When the music stops, players sit down in the nearest chair as soon as they can. The one player who does not have a chair is out. One of the chairs is then removed, and the game continues in this manner. The player that sits in the final chair is the winner. This game is traditionally played inside, but it can also be played outside with outdoor furniture and a portable music player.


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