Top 10 Classic Playground Games

Home & Family, Kids
on February 24, 2012

According to an MSNBC Today report, outdoor play is developmentally significant and helps children become high-functioning adults. Detach kids from the computer and TV screens and let them experience the joys of these top 10 classic playground games.

Tag. With three or more players, the object is to avoid being “it.” The one who is “it” chases the others around until she tags someone and shouts, “You’re it.” Repeat as many times as is desired. There are many other iterations of tag. Visit Teach Kids How for more cool tag games.

Hide-and-Seek. A group of three or more chooses someone to be “it.” The rest of the players hide while the seeker counts to 10 with eyes shut. The object is to be found last. The first one found is “it” for the next round.

King of the Hill. The object of this game is for the players (minimum of three) to stay on top of the hill, pile or any designated spot. The other players try to knock the “King” off the pile and take his place. Rules should be stated up front. Pushing may be OK; however, kicking and punching should be banned.

Foursquare. A large square is drawn and divided into four smaller squares on the ground. One player stands in each numbered square. Number one goes first. The player bounces a ball from the outside corner of her square into another player’s square. That player must bounce the ball in his square once and must return it to any other player’s square by hitting the ball back. Once the ball enters a new player’s square, it must be returned. Continue until a mistake eliminates someone. The winner is the last one standing.

Horse. The first of two basketball players calls out the shot he will make and proceeds to try to get the basketball in the hoop. If the shot is made, the next player has to copy that shot. A miss gives the player an “h.” If the shot is made, the second player calls out a shot and shoots for it. Repeat until someone has the word “horse” and loses.

Dodgeball. Children are divided inwo large groups are made to stand on either side of a line — real or imaginary. Each player has a playground ball. Everyone tosses balls at the other team. If a player is hit, he or she is eliminated. This is repeated until there is one player left — the winner.

Hot potato. A ball is passed in a circle while singing a song. At the end of the song, whoever is holding the ball is out. Repeat until only one player is left.

Hopscotch. A series of numbered squares large enough for a foot to step in is drawn on the ground. A stone is thrown into the first square. That player must hop to the end without stepping in the square with the rock. On the way back, the player must pick the rock up and give it to the next player. Repeat until course is completed. A mistake results in the loss of a turn.

Red-light, Green-light. A leader is chosen. The leader sits on the steps. Players line up, facing the leader at the end of the walk. The leader calls green light and everyone runs forward. When the leader calls red light, everyone stops. Anyone moving is out. The last one standing is the winner.

Mama, May I? Players are assembled with a leader at one end and players at the other end of a walk. The leader is “Mama.” Remaining players are “kids.” Mama calls a move, like hopping forward three hops, to one player. If that player hops forward without saying, “Mama, may I?” she is out. This continues with various moves. The player who makes it up to Mama wins.

Marbles. A circle is drawn on the ground. Two or more players surround the circle and place their marbles inside. The first player uses a large shooter marble to try and knock marbles out of the circle. Marbles knocked out become that player’s marbles. Players take turns until the circle is empty. The player with the most marbles at the end wins.

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