The 14 Best Traditional Playground Games (Explained By The Rules)

Recess is that time of fun and playtime that school-aged boys and girls look for in the classroom. This 30-minute half-day break is a great time to socialize while playing with other classmates.

Traditional recreation games have been the star entertainment of all generations of boys and girls who have been able to study in school. It is these games that help foster camaraderie while exercising and practicing memory, coordination, and logic.

In this article we will take a look at 14 traditional and fun garden games which have great popularity all over the world, ideal for children to play with but which can also be joined by adults, whether teachers or parents of children.

    The 14 traditional court games

    The time school-aged boys and girls spend in the schoolyard it is not only part of your leisure time and time to rest, but it is also part of your education and physical and mental health care.. After spending several hours sitting, children need to move their bodies, release energy and socialize with the rest of their classmates.

    The playground is that place where boys and girls of all ages enjoy a moment of recreation and freedom and take the opportunity to interact with others through play in a spontaneous way.

    In all cultures where schools are located, there are traditional recreation games. This entertainment is a fundamental pillar of every culture, as important as their language, cuisine, dance and clothing. Each country and region has their own playing field games, but many of them are also shared from around the world, with little variations in how they are played and the name given to them.

    These games should be present in the childhood of all boys and girls, because they have many advantages, among which we can highlight:

    • They improve social skills and help form new friendships
    • They contribute to physical motor development.
    • They contribute to cognitive development.
    • They encourage communication and group participation.
    • They make the little ones responsible for the game material.
    • They help to create an environment of respect, cooperation and solidarity.
    • Teach boys and girls to play by the rules of the game.
    • They teach the little ones how to deal with wins and losses.
    • They are essential for the inclusion of children with functional diversity.

    The traditional playground games that we will see below are mostly world famous, especially in the area of ​​Spanish-speaking countries. Let’s look at 14 traditional playground games that are fun and easy to play. Enjoy!

    1. Hopscotch

    Plane, fight, yew, snail, baby, rest, world, tuncuna, pilgrim, chatter … There are many names with which this game is known in Spanish and there are even countries where depending on the region also changes the way it is called, especially in multilingual countries like Spain (xaranca, ratlleta, txingoka, mariola …). Not only is it varied in its name, but also in the way it is played but in most cases it is played like this:

    Rules of the game

    Ten squares are painted with chalk on the ground, similar in shape to an airplane, and the numbers 1-10 are written on each one.. If the surface is earthen, the drawing can be done using a twig or any other stick-shaped object.

    The game consists of the player throwing a flattened object, such as a stone, a leaf or a piece of tile, making it land in square 1 and having to slide it on the drawing by pushing it with a lame foot and without walking. on the lines.

    If he succeeds, he will throw the stone in square 2 to complete the course again from this point and so on until he reaches square number 10. Whoever manages to complete the whole of the plot wins.

    This game is perfect for toddlers to develop balance, aim, body coordination, focus and lots of patience.

      2. The hen and her chicks

      The hen and her chicks is ideal entertainment for children ages 8 and up, as it requires some motor coordination to enjoy it and we will also avoid less risk of tripping and falling as it is a very emotional game.

      Rules of the game

      A row of eight to ten players is formed and each of them will be grabbed by the waist of the person in front of them.. The first in line is the hen and those behind are the chicks. There will be a boy or a girl who will have to play the role of a wolf, the wild and hungry animal who wants to chase the last of the chicks in the row.

      To achieve this, the wolf will have to touch the last chick with his hand. This chick must move from side to side to avoid being eaten by the fierce wolf, and since the line cannot be broken, the hen and other chicks must also move without letting go. . Everyone, working as a team, will try to prevent the wolf from eating the last chick.

      This activity develops agility, endurance, coordination and teamwork.

        3. Prisoner’s ball

        The prisoners’ ball is a classic, a recurring exercise in physical education classes but that, although it is compulsory and part of the academic curriculum, it is still a very fun traditional game.

        Rules of the game

        Two teams will be formed, one on each side of the playing field, which they will try to eliminate the players of the opposing team by hitting them directly with the ball, without being caught with the front hand or bouncing off the ground first.

        Each eliminated player passes to the back of the opposing court, where he can also receive the ball and attack. If he manages to eliminate one while he is dead, he returns to play on his field. The game ends when a team runs out of live players.

        In this game, aim, reflexes, agility and strength are put into practice.

          4. The blind hen

          One of the oldest games that boys and girls have fun with, suitable for any age and can be played anywhere, although we must do it in a space where there are not too many obstacles to avoid falls and accidents.

          Rules of the game

          We will take a handkerchief, scarf, mask or whatever is used to blindfold one of the players and make sure he can’t see anything there. Then we’ll turn around while the others sing in unison:

          “Chicken, hen, what did you lose in a barn?” A needle and a thimble. It’s three rounds and you will find them. “

          Blind and disoriented, the player becomes the blind hen and his task will be to catch one of the players and recognize who he is. If he succeeds, what was caught will become the new hen.

          The blind hen is a great way to get children to improve their reflexes, their attention and, most importantly, their perception of space.

          5. The English lair

          A classic played by children and adults. The English Den is a traditional playground game that enjoys good health in the playgrounds of all schools. Its popularity is due to the fact that its rules are easy to understand, anyone can play it at any age and anywhere.

          Rules of the game

          In the best-known version, a player acts like a hunter. This hunter will cover his eyes with his hands and turn his back to the rest of the participants, standing at a reasonable distance. The player must recite aloud:

          “One, two, three, makes and hides the English, without moving the hands or the feet”

          In almost all parts of the Spanish speaking world, this expression changes, having other versions like:

          “One, two, three, fixed to the wall.”

          “One. Two three English duckling “

          “One, two, three, chocolate STOP!”

          “One, two, three, forty-three cigarettes”

          As he says the phrase, all other players will have to step forward to try and touch his back., but they will have to do it very carefully because, when he finishes speaking the sentence, the hunter will immediately turn around and the one who catches him in motion will send him to the starting position.

          Players who have to turn their backs on the hunter must practice their skills of stealthily advancing and at the same time being more static than the stiffest of statues in order to claim themselves the winner.

          This ritual is repeated over and over again, and whoever manages to touch the back of the person who said the phrase and runs away until he reaches the starting line without being hit hungry, becoming the “hunter “.

          This game is a great way to get kids to develop focus, self-control and agility.

            6. The four corners

            The Four Corners Game is an internationally played classic, ideal for practicing both indoors and outdoors and, although it is usually played with 5 players, it can be adapted so that they play as much as they want.

            Rules of the game

            To play four corners, all we need is four corners and a desire to run a bit. If we don’t have room with these four corners, we can improvise with four trees arranged like a square, four chairs or four points marked with some object. One player stands in the middle and four should be placed standing in each corner of the space.

            The player in central position must try to occupy each of the corners, taking advantage of the fact that the four others run from one to the other to exchange with their respective companions. If he succeeds, he settles into this song and the one who no longer has it becomes the new central actor.

            The game is called four corners because in its original version it is played with only four, but it is not an obstacle to add more and make more players who can participate. If you want to increase the difficulty of the game and the excitement, what you can do is add wedges. Points are added for more players and ready!

            This game is ideal for developing reflexes, attention and agility.

              7. Police officers and thieves

              Cops and Thieves, or more colloquially known as Cops and Helmets, is a great game for boys and girls to have fun in the classroom and in the yard. I has the advantage that the more people involved, the more fun it is!

              Rules of the game

              The game consists of two teams, one of the police and one of thieves. To play it you must have enough space to be able to run fast, because we will be doing a real police chase, like in the movies. The cops will have to try to catch the thieves and put them in prison, which can be a tree, a corner, a bench …

              Thieves behind bars can be saved if their comrades manage to get there by confusing the police. When thieves touch those caught in the hand, they are automatically released.

              The game ends when the cops manage to enforce the law by putting all the helmets in jail. Once completed, the roles change.

              In this game, you practice agility, attention and strategy.

              8. Catch the tail

              It’s about one of the many versions of the classic grip, ideal for children from 3 to 8 years old but that anyone who feels excited about doing it can play.

              Rules of the game

              All participants a handkerchief should be placed in the back, attached to the waist of the skirt or pants. When giving the signal, each player must try to steal the tails of the others, but at the same time try to prevent the others from catching their tails. The player with the most queues will become the winner.

              This game is perfect for developing agility and coordination.

                9. The handkerchief

                Handkerchief play is ideal entertainment for both the playground and other settings, such as a physical education class, summer camp, or birthday party. To be able to play there we need a lot of players, someone to act as a referee and a handkerchief.

                Rules of the game

                A player lifts a handkerchief, scarf, cloth or other cloth and stands between two teams of players. Each of the players of the two rival teams is assigned a number, repeated between them. In other words, it is there is a player from one team who has 1 and another from the other team who also has 1, two more with 2, two more with 3 and so on as long as they are needed.

                When the player holding the handkerchief calls one of the numbers he has assigned, the corresponding player from each team must run to the center to grab the handkerchief. Whoever succeeds must return to his team’s base at full speed to prevent the opponent from catching him. Each player’s victory is a point for your team.

                Those who practice this game develop skills such as attention, agility, speed, reflexes and concentration.

                10. The game of chairs

                The chair set is another classic, playable for both boys and adults and although it is up to them to play with this piece of furniture, it can be practiced with cushions on the floor or whatever is used to sit.

                Rules of the game

                To play, you must have as many chairs as there are participants at the start of the game and, as the game progresses, a chair will be removed before the start of the next round. You will also need something that will sound music.

                The chairs are placed in a circle with the back facing inward. Participants will stand, circling the chairs, one at a time. Whoever is in charge of the music will make a song sound and while the music is playing, the players will have to turn around the chairs..

                By the time the song ends, each player will need to sit down on a chair. Whoever remains without a chair is eliminated.

                In this game, attention, speed and perception of space are put to the test.

                11. Jump on the rope

                Skipping rope, or the rope game if you prefer, is one of the most beneficial exercises for children. It can be played in any way imaginable, testing mind and body, and everyone can set their own rules.. It is an activity that only requires a rope and a little space to practice, being able to play both individually and in groups.

                Rules of the game

                Really, this game is so diverse that we can’t say that there is a prototypical way to play it. All the boy or girl has to do is jump the rope along with a song and avoid falling or stepping on the rope.. It might cost you a bit at first, but with a little time and practice you will get along just fine and be doing strenuous physical activity at your leisure while having fun.

                With the rope coordination game, physical endurance and a sense of rhythm are put into practice.

                12. The sack race

                Sack racing is a group game, which must be played on an open surface such as an athletics track or a football field, although the ideal is a fairly soft surface, with grass, because falls in this game are inevitable.

                Rules of the game

                Participants should stand in a straight line, put their feet in a bag and, when someone kicks off, they all run out, stay inside the bag. During the whole race, the feet cannot come out of the bag. The winner is the one who is the first to cross the finish line.

                In this game, our speed, stamina and coordination are tested.

                13. The mouse and the cat

                Mouse and cat play is an ideal fun activity to play with children of all grades.

                Rules of the game

                The game is to make a circle formed by children holding hands. Two will be drawn and it will be up to them to make a cat and the other mouse. The rest of the children will sing the following song:

                “Smile that catches you, smile that catches you, if she doesn’t catch you tonight, she’ll catch you tomorrow”

                While the song is playing the mouse will have to run through the gaps formed by the arms of the children holding each other. The cat will go and get it, but the children will give up so as not to let it pass. When the cat touches the mouse, the mouse will become the cat.

                In this game, you practice speed and reflexes.

                14. Games with the palms of the hands

                Finally, we have the typical games with the palms of the hands. There are all kinds and all kinds: embarrassment, reciting multiplication tables, singing, talking nonsense …

                Rules of the game

                The rules in each of them are very simple. It is about joining the palms of the hands while singing a song. They can play with two or more children, who have to strike their palms in different ways such as one up and the other down, in the middle of the side…

                This game is used to practice memory, coordination, rhythm and to be able to do more than two things at the same time.

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