10 Classic Childhood Playground Games to Teach Your Kids



In a world filled with video games that sense movement, books that can be read on electronic devices and three-dimensional television displays, the games of your childhood may seem quaint and downright antiquated at first blush. Upon closer examination, however, you may realize that the playground is one place where little has changed. These 10 classic games are sure to be just as popular with today’s kids as they were among you and your own playmates of days gone by.

  1. Hopscotch – All you need for this classic game is a bit of sidewalk chalk, a decently-sized pebble and some coordination. Teaching kids the hopping pattern is almost as much fun as the game itself! If the prospect of skinned knees and the parent-sanctioned throwing of rocks is off-putting, consider an indoor hopscotch mat and a beanbag instead.
  2. Dodgeball – Splitting kids into two equally-sized groups and handing out a few balls can provide for hours of good-natured fun. This is one game that improves with the addition of more players, so there’s no one left out when you’re dealing with a large group. The rubber dodgeballs that were standard 20 years ago are still available in sporting goods stores and from online retailers, but opting for a few foam balls with softer surfaces might be a more safety-conscious move.
  3. Horse – If all you have on hand is a basketball and access to a hoop, you’re not restricted to a few games of one-on-one. Horse is a faithful standby that’s ideally suited for two players. Because there’s no guarding, Horse may also be a safer alternative to traditional basketball for younger children.
  4. Mother May I? – Remember all of the giggles resulting from a successful tag? Share the fun of Mother May I? with your own children, but be sure to explain that it’s not okay to answer every request with a “No, you may not” to avoid losing the game. Use Mother May I? as an example of inevitable loss, and a chance to impart good sportsmanship skills along with proper grammar usage.
  5. Simon Says – Whether you’re on the playground, in the car or in the living room, Simon Says is an infinitely portable game that requires no more equipment than a few players and great listening skills.
  6. Foursquare – Before there was a social networking application called Foursquare, it was a beloved playground game. Relive the days before social media seemed to take over everyone’s life by teaching your child the original meaning of Foursquare!
  7. Tag – Kids sometimes have a larger supply of energy than the patience available to their parents and caregivers, which is why any game that helps them burn off some of that excess energy is a blessing. There’s something timeless and almost perfect about tag, as it’s difficult for kids to claim that another is cheating, so disputes are few and far between. Just be sure that all kids understand the importance of tagging one another gently, as rough tags can happen in the heat of competition.
  8. Red Light, Green Light – Getting caught moving after the traffic light commands everyone to “freeze!” is more funny than frustrating, and the awkward poses borne of freezing in mid-movement are an endless source of humor. Show your kids how to play Red Light, Green Light by participating in a few rounds, then sit back to watch the show!
  9. Freeze Tag – When you have a large group on your hands, a regular game of tag can leave the title of “It” shuffling very quickly. This classic spin leaves everyone frozen after they’re tagged, making for funny sights and longer games as “It” chases down every member of the opposing team.
  10. Red Rover – Kids come hurtling across the playground from one line to another, barreling into the opposing team and either breaking through their defenses or landing squarely on the ground as they’re trounced. Make sure that Red Rover games happen on a patch of lush grass that’s free of debris, and that everyone understands the difference between blocking and throwing someone.

One major difference in the way kids play today and the way that they entertained themselves a few decades ago can be attributed to the advent of the “helicopter parent” culture. Some games, like dodgeball and Red Rover, have fallen from favor with some parents out of fears regarding their safety. The fact that you’re not afraid of a few bumps and bruises doesn’t mean that the parents of your kids’ playmates feel similarly. Before introducing a potentially dangerous game, be sure that your kids know the proper safety precautions and are prepared to have a game or two broken up by an anxious adult.

Article re-printed with permission from http://www.findananny.net/

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