• Kelly McRae

Top ten classic schoolyard games

Updated: May 4, 2021

1. What’s the time Mr. Wolf?

I can hear the screams of laughter already as children try to escape the clutches of Mr. Wolf. If you are a bit rusty on the details one child is selected as Mr. Wolf and everyone else has to stand behind the designated line and call out “What’s the time Mr. Wolf?” If the Wolf responds with a numbered time you take a step closer. But when he responds with “Dinner time!” you have to run for your life to the other side without being caught.

2. Hopscotch

Kids have been playing Hopscotch for generations so there’s no reason to stop now. Draw up the

numbered boxes on the concrete outside with some chalk. Grab the kids and show them how it’s done. In case it’s been a while – you throw a stone at a chalked number and hop to the number and back without losing your balance.

3. Skipping

Who would have thought that one piece of rope and two handles could make for endless hours of fun? You might find it a little bit harder than you remember but grab the kids and show them some of the skipping games you played as a child. Need a memory jog? How about One In One Out, Chinese jump-rope, Horse and the Alphabet?

4. Pick-up sticks

These days you can buy packets of sticks to play with but it is so much more fun to gather the sticks from the oval or backyard. The aim of the game is to dump a pile of sticks on the ground and each take turns trying to remove one without disturbing the others.

5. Leapfrog

This game is not for the coordinately challenged. But if you have the right mix of courage and judgement you will excel at this one. Put the kids into pairs, one is the frog and the other is the obstacle they must leap over. Kids can race each other in teams to the finish line or just have fun

6. Blind Man’s Bluff

How trustworthy were your friends? Did they faithfully guide you out of harm’s way or did you find yourself constantly running into trees, tripping up stairs and being hit by stray tennis balls? A game of Blind Man’s Bluff always made for interesting entertainment. But remember that the aim of the game is to NOT let your blindfolded friend run into their surroundings.

7. Duck Duck Goose

All the players, except the first person who is It, sit in a circle. It walks around the circle, tapping each player on the head, saying “duck” each time until he decides to tap someone and say “goose.”

That person becomes the goose and runs after It, trying to tag him before It can take his seat. If It successfully reaches the goose’s seat without being tagged, the goose is the new It.

8. Hide and Seek

"It" closes or covers their eyes and counts to 50. While "it" is counting the other players scatter and find places to hide. "It" then goes looking for the other players. When he finds one they are out. The last player to be found becomes the new "it".

9. Four Square

Four Square is a group ball game played on a 'court' comprised of a grid of four squares. Each player stands in a square of their own. One serves the ball and it must land in another square. From there the players bounce the ball into each other's square. If the ball bounces outside the boundaries of an individual players square or the larger square the player is out. Similarly, if a player misses receiving the ball they are out.

10. Simon Says

Simon Says is the classic game that can be used anywhere from a day at the beach, to a long car ride or even a simple ice breaker. Listen closely as “Simon” gives you directions. If “Simon” says to do something, you better act fast. But, if “Simon” does not and you do it anyway, you’re out!

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