Outdoor Games From Childhood

By: Rachelray
It seems like many games we played outdoor as children are becoming lost to this generation. These games were simple, required few or no equipment or stuff simply children wanting to play. Many of today's kids have never even heard of these games.

These games can be great exercise, cost little or nothing, and most of all create sweet childhood memories. Some of my best childhood memories are the times spent playing these games with my siblings, friends, relatives and anyone else who was close by.

Here's a list of some of my favorites: Red Light Green Light - One person plays the "stop light" and the rest try to touch him/her. Whoever touches him first wins. To begin all the children form a line about 15 feet away from the stop light person. That stop light person faces away from the line of children and says "green light". At this point the kids are allowed to move towards the stoplight, some run, some walk or sneak. At any point, the stop light person calls out "red light" and turns around. If any of the kids are caught moving after this has occurred, they are out. This continues until the first player to touch the stop light wins the game and earns the right to be "stop light" for the next game.

Kick The Can - This is a combination of hide and seek and tag. One person is "it" closes their eyes and counts to some high number, while everyone else hides. Then, the person who counted who has been guarding "the can" runs around the neighborhood to find everyone. The tough part is that once a person is found, they have a race, where the person who has just been found has to try to kick the can over before the counter tags them. There seems to always be those kids who will hide in a dumb, easy to discover place, with the intent of sprinting for the can if they're caught.

Marbles - A fairly smooth playing area is needed to play, many times on dirt. A small hole is created in the center of the playing area. A line is drawn with a finger making the parameter of the playing field. Each player puts a marble into the playing field, and they are randomly scattered around. Each player uses a large marble called a shooter to knock the other marbles into the hole similar to a pool player. Players take turns shooting, and if a player knocks the marble into the hole with his/her shot, they get to keep the marble they knocked in and shoot again. There are many variations to the game rules in marbles as well. Marble trading also used to be very popular.

Duck Duck Goose - Kids sit down in a circle facing each other. One person is "it" and walks around the circle. As they walk around, they tap people's heads and say whether they are a "duck" or a "goose". Once someone is the "goose" they get up and try to chase "it" around the circle. The goal is to tap that person before they are able sit down in the "goose's" spot. If the goose is not able to do this, they become "it" for the next round and play continues. If they do tap the "it" person, the person tagged has to sit in the center of the circle. Then the goose become it for the next round. The person in the middle can't leave until another person is tagged and they are replaced.

Stick Ball - The game is played with a baseball bat and ball usually a tennis ball so we didn't break any windows. There are no teams, just one person up to bat and everyone else in the outfield. The person with the bat tosses the ball up and hits it. He/she then places the bat on the ground in front of him/her. The person who gets the ball rolls it at the bat from the place where the ball was picked up. When and if the ball hits the bat it pops up into the air. If the batter does not catch the ball, the person who rolled it is then up to bat. If someone in the field catches a hit before it touches the ground, they are automatically up to bat.

Hopscotch - is a hopping game that is fun, good exercise and encourages balance. It can be played either on a cement area, sidewalk or indoor floor. There are many pattern variations, so try different ones, but chalk or tape 8 sections out and number them. Each person has some type of marker that's theirs, like a button, rock, or something else similar.

The first person stands behind the starting line to toss her or his marker in square 1. Hop over square 1 to square 2 and then continue hopping to square 8, turn around, and hop back again. Pause in square 2 to pick up the marker, hop in square 1, and out. Then continue by tossing the stone in square 2. All hopping is done on one foot unless the hopscotch design is such that two squares are side-by-side. Then two feet can be placed down with one in each square. A player must always hop over any square where a maker has been placed.

A player is considered out if the marker doesn't land in the proper square, the hopper steps on a line, the hopper looses his or her balance when bending over to pick up the marker and puts a second hand or foot down, the hopper lands in a square where a marker is, or if a player puts two feet down in a single box. The player puts the marker in the square where he or previously was and it's the next person's turn. Sometimes a rest area is added on the end of the hopscotch pattern where the player can rest for a second or two before hopping back through.

Farmer in the Dell - This game needs about 15 or people or more to stand in a circle. A person is chosen as the Farmer and stands in the middle. Everyone sings, "The farmer in the dell, the farmer in the dell; Heigh ho, the Derry-oh the farmer in the dell" and walks around in the circle with the Farmer standing still. The next verse is "The farmer takes a wife . . .," which is sung as the Farmer person chooses another person from the circle to come to the inside. The next verse is "The wife takes a child . . .," when the wife person inside the circle chooses a third person to be the child. This continues with "The child takes a dog . . .," "The dog takes a cat . . .," "The cat takes a rat . . .," and "The rat takes the cheese . . .." The final verse is? The cheese stands alone . . .," then all people on the inside of the circle go back to the outer edge of the circle and sing as the last person chosen "stands alone" in the circle, the game is over.

Think back to some of your old favorite games. Write them down. Teach and play them with your children and grandchildren. It creates a special bond, makes special memories and gives them a glimpse of what growing up might have been like for you.
Kids and Teens
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