Games Children Play
Any sidewalk was fair game for a game of hopscotch. Somehow, we always had chalk in our pockets and our own personal hopscotch marker. A nearby pebble would work in a pinch. Any kid can play this game for hours on end. For some reason, it never seemed to get old.
Today, kids have indoor hopscotch, commercial layouts and all kinds of fancy schmancy colored chalk with which to outline the standard hopscotch grid. Sometimes we got a bit creative with our grids making them nearly impossible to win. The older we got, the more complicated the hopscotch layouts got! But we developed some really cool muscles in our legs.
Hopscotch also develops balance and team playing skills. The rules are totally unofficial and anyone can make up any rule at any time, if that's ok with everyone. Teams play against each other and sometimes the stakes were cool tokens won, or even lunch money (on the sly).
Mostly hopscotch was played by girls, but I remember this one boy....
Have You Lost Your Marbles?
Would you believe that, "Have you lost your marbles?", came from playing the game of marbles? Well, when you play for "keepsies", yes, you can lose all of your marbles.
The game doesn't have to be played in a circle. Elaborate courses can be set up and a dizzying array of rules can be found for this game. The real point of playing marbles is to collect as many marbles as possible. Winning the marbles just makes it all the sweeter, but buying marbles is almost as fun. There are some really cool ways to display a collection of marbles in a room. Marbles even continue to be of fascination for adults.
Some of the most collectible types of marbles are:
- agates - polished rock
- china - usually white with painted patterns
- Jasper - blue glazed china marbles
- crystal - usually see through or clear with inclusions, including "cat's eyes"
- Indian - usually deeply colored opaque marbles with black, blue and red being the most sought after
- mica - handmade German marbles
- Steely - marbles made of steel
- Tiger - marbles with orange and black swirls
- Swirly - marbles
Marbles come in many shapes, sizes, weights and colors. This variety gives this collectible toy its value. Children still get excited over winning a prized marble, so teach your kids to play this enduring and fun game.
How to Play Marbles
The Game of Jacks
This game teaches all kinds of hand to eye coordination. It can be played indoors or out doors with very simple game pieces. There are quite a few variants of the game and it is an ancient game once played with actual bones.
Today's game pieces consist of a rubber ball and a set of ten metal 'jacks'. Everyone plays with their own game set. After determining who goes first, the player scatters their jacks in an area that is no larger than arm's length from the player. The object is to bounce the ball, pick up a jack and catch the ball before it can bounce again.
Starting with one jack (one-sies), the player continues to advance by picking up two-sies next, then three-sies next and so on. The winner is the player that advances to capturing the most jacks and still catching the ball before it hits the ground a second time. As you can imagine, ten-sies is very difficult for small children.
Rules can be modified at will as with most children's games. Sometimes, in round two of jacks, the ball must be allowed to bounce twice (but not three times) before catching the ball. Some people manage the ball with one hand and the jacks with the other hand. There is quite a bit of spontaneity in the game and this teaches teamwork.
Imaginative Games Children Play
Hide and Seek - This game is usually played by very young children and don't you just know it's a form of 'Peek-A-Boo'? Kids get a thrill out of finding unusual places to stuff their little body in and peek at the 'hunter' while silently laughing at their efforts to find them.
Red Rover - This is a team building game of spy versus spy. One team, when they are ready, calls on the other team to send their player over. The object is to capture the person that is sent over while the object of the player is to avoid capture. Sometimes this is played like Hide and Seek, other times it is just a physical game where the player tries to break through the linked hands of the opposing team. If the player fails to break through, he or she becomes part of the team. If the player does manage to break through, one of the opposing members is chosen to defect to the player's team.
Build A Fort - This is a game for just about any age of child and may extend to adults. Building a 'fort' or 'castle' or 'treehouse' or 'cave' is fun for the whole family. Usually, these are temporary structures using materials at hand, but building a playhouse can be just as simple or as complicated as you want to make it.
The Floor/Ground is Lava - This is a game where the players can't walk on the floor or on the ground because it is 'lava'. It is very similar to Build A Fort in that the players must devise ways of building bridges or walkways. They may also jump from one piece of furniture to another if playing indoors. This game can get dangerous, so supervision is required.
Spin the Bottle
Spin the Bottle is traditionally a game for teenagers. The participants sit around a circle on the floor in a boy/girl/boy/girl pattern. There is a bottle on the floor which one must spin around. Whomever the top of the bottle stops at is 'it' and must perform a designated task. After they have finished the task, it is their turn to spin the bottle until it stops on someone else.
Sometimes the task is innocuous like 'tell something personal about yourself' or 'tell who is your favorite teen star', but the tasks can become quite wicked, so it's best not to let a group of teens play this game unsupervised.
Some of the tasks that have sprung up out of this game:
- The spinner and the person the bottle stops on and points to must kiss
- The spinner and winner must french kiss
- The spinner and winner must go into a closet together for seven minutes
- The spinner and winner must hug for a determined amount of time
- The spinner and winner must say that they love each other
- The person that the bottle points to is out of the game
So do be careful with this game. It's a great icebreaker at certain parties, but due to the natural curiosity of teens, it can get very personal.
Adorable! Hand Clapping Video!
Other Traditional Games Children Play
- Follow the Leader and Simon Says
- King/Queen of the mountain
- Jump Rope
- Keep Away
- Leap Frog
- Musical Chairs
- Paper Football
- Pick Up Sticks
- Pin the Tail on the Donkey
- Patty Cake and other Clapping Games
- Red Light/Green Light
- Rock, Paper, Scissors (Lizard, Spock)
If you fondly remember some other games that are fun for children to play, share it in the comments. It seems there were so many games to play when I was a child. Do kids still play these games? Perhaps we should get back in the groove.
Jumping Games - Jump Rope, Jump Sticks
What was your favorite game as a child?
Jump Rope and Double Dutch Games
These 7 foot long nylon jumpropes have pivoting plastic handles and come in an assortment of fun color combinations. Two jump ropes per order. Made by Toysmith. Enjoy!
© 2013 Lela