In the age of video games and high-end toys, adults may be surprised to find that classic children’s games still have the capacity to engage and divert. In fact, many traditional kids’ games stem from playground, street and neighborhood activities and games children invented or adapted over time. No matter what games you introduce, the saying, “It doesn’t matter if you win or lose; it’s how you play the game,” still applies. Players should focus on enjoying the game and ensuring everyone has a turn and participates rather than worrying about who wins and who loses.
Classic kids’ games include: board games, such as Monopoly; card games like Crazy Eights; party games, such as musical chairs; circle games, including Duck, Duck Goose; chasing games like tag; line games, such as Mother, May I; hand-clapping games, including Miss Mary Mack; and sports and court games, like Spud. Cooperative games or whole-group games, like building human pyramids, the Hokey Pokey and Freeze Dance, encourage high levels of participation.
Most classic kids’ games, including dodge ball and hide and seek, require little equipment or special facilities. Favorites, such as Freeze Tag, Simon Says and charades, expand to include as many players as you wish, and as few as three players. Popular games like kickball have few rules and can incorporate players of diverse abilities and ages.
Classic children’s games aim to entertain with little preparation. Most games have the capacity to occupy children for about 10 to 15 minutes, although they can go longer as the players get more mature. Many traditional games demand little to no adult leadership or intervention, as children play the games on the street, in parks or at school recess.
With some guidance and support, children can play classic games instead of video games or competitive sports at camp, parties, parks and recess. To fill an afternoon, combine a variety of active games, such as Octopus and Crab Soccer, with quieter games like Operator and Hot Potato.
Small variations have dramatic impact in classic kids’ games and can make the activity more interesting. Try simple twists, such as using different animals for Duck, Duck, Goose, playing Hot Potato with balloons or running backward during tag.
- hide and seek image by Arpad Nagy-Bagoly from Fotolia.com