Do you remember playing outside in the summer as a kid? I do, we played outside a lot and kept ourselves entertained with a variety of activities and games. Kids today don’t seem to know the “old-school” games we played or how to keep themselves entertained outside. So, as we go into summer and are at family gatherings and other celebrations, keep this list at the ready and introduce your kids to the wonderful world of outdoor play.
Capture the Flag
Capture the Flag is a great game to play when you have six or more kids. Players divide up into two teams and hide a flag or other item from the opposing team. In Capture the Flag, the goal is to find the opposing team’s flag and get it to your side of the playing area first without being tagged.
Played at night, this game combines hide and seek with tag. The person who is “it” waits and counts to a high number while everyone else hides. Then, armed with a flashlight, this person searches for the others. The flashlight must remain on at all times and may not be covered. When “it” spots someone, they must use the flashlight to get a close enough look at the person to identify them and call out their name.
The person who is “it” is the player who can “freeze” other players. When the game begins, everyone runs away from the person who is “it.” The one who is “it” chases after other players, trying to tag them. If a person is successfully tagged, he or she must “freeze” in place. Frozen people cannot move until another player un-freezes them.
Hide and Seek
One player who is “it” closes his or her eyes for a brief period (often counting to 100) while the other players hide. The seeker then opens their eyes and tries to find the hiders; the first one found is the next “it”, and the last is the winner of the round.
Monkey in the Middle
At least three people must play. One player stands in the middle while the two others throw the ball back and forth to each other. The middle player tries to intercept the ball.
Mother May I
One person “Mother” stands facing away from a line of kids. They then choose a player and give them a direction such as, “(player’s name), you may take’ x’ giant steps forward.” The player responds with “Mother may I?” Mother then states “Yes” or “No” and the player complies. If they forget to ask “Mother may I?” they have to go back to the starting line. First one to touch Mother wins.
Two teams line up opposite each other. The first team agrees to call one player from the opposite team, and chants, “Red Rover, Red Rover, send (player’s name) right over!” The person called runs to the other line and attempts to break the chain of held hands. If the person called fails to break the chain, this player joins the team that called Red Rover. But, if the player successfully breaks the chain, they may capture either of the two players whose link was broken by the dash, and bring them back to their original team. Teams take turns calling out Red Rover and challenging a player on the opposing team.
Red Light, Green Light
One person “the caller” stands facing a line of kids. When the caller says ‘Green Light’ everyone will move towards them at the finish line. When the caller says ‘Red Light’ players must immediately stop. Start a new round when everyone reaches the caller at the finish line.
One player is designated as “Simon,” and the other players must do whatever Simon says, as long as the phrase “Simon says” comes before the command. If Simon does not say “Simon says” before the command, players are not supposed to follow the command. If a player does follow a command without a “Simon Says,” that player is out of the game.
What time is it Mr. Fox?
To play, pick someone to be the Fox. Everyone else should line up on the starting line. The Fox will stand with their back turned. The rest of the players say, “What time is it Mr. Fox?” If Mr. Fox answers a time like, “It’s five o’clock” players take five steps forward. If Mr. Fox says, “It’s time to eat you!” they turn around and chase the other players back to the starting line. If Mr. Fox catches someone, they become the next Fox.
Tell us some of your favorite old school games to teach your kids.