Saturday, September 20, 2008

Childhood Games

When I was a kid I had very fond memories of the games my friends and neighbors would play - particularly outside.

Since moving to Ohio, Taylor has acquired a new group of friends. The other day they were playing a game that I forgot all about until then. It's called SPUD.

It got me thinking of all the other games we would play as kids and thought it would be fun to list the ones we had the most fun playing.

Each player is assigned a number (one through how ever many players you have). Form a circle around a soft medium sized ball. To start the game, one player throws the ball straight up in the air as high as they can and calls a number when the ball is up in the air. At the same time the ball is thrown, everyone runs as far away as they can. The person whose number was called must retrieve the ball and yell SPUD in which all the players freeze. The "it" person with the ball can take 3 giant steps and tries to throw the ball to the nearest "other" person who can move all parts of his body except his feet. If the "it" player hits the "other" player with the ball they obtain the letter "S" , but if the "it" player misses the "other" player then the "it" player obtains the letter "S". All players return to the circle and repeat this process with the person who got the letter as the thrower and number caller. Play continues until the first person gets all the letters S-P-U-D. Then they are out and must go through the paddle process where all players line up and the out person crawls on their hands and knees through the legs of the other players who get to smack the out players behind. (We were pretty cruel as kids, huh?)

2) Ghost in the Graveyard
This is best played in a decent sized yard when it's dark outside. One player is chosen to be the ghost and a base is established (can be a front porch or a tree, etc.). The players stay on base while the ghost goes and hides. The players count together, "one o'clock , two o'clock, three o'clock a-rock, four o'clock, five o'clock, six o'clock a-rock, seven o'clock, eight o'clock, nine o'clock a-rock, ten o'clock, eleven o'clock, twelve o'clock, midnight. Ghost in the Graveyard!" The players run and try to find the ghost and when one does they yell "Ghost In the Graveyard" and everyone has to try and run back to base without getting tagged by the ghost. Once tagged you become a ghost too. Those that make it back to base without getting tagged are safe. All the ghosts start the process again and hide together while the remaining players begin the clock counting. Play continues until everyone is caught and the last player to be caught is the ghost for the next round.

3) Red Rover
Players form two teams and hook arms to form lines across from each other. The first team yells out, "Red Rover, Red Rover, send "(pick a name of someone from the other team)" right over." The chosen person must try to run and break through the human chain of arms. If they break through they get to choose a person to go back and join their team, but if they don't break through they end up joining the other team. The team who gained a new player starts the play back up. It continues until the last person is unable to break through the other side. (Many bruises were formed playing this game but we were never deterred. Us kids were tough!)

4) Tag - freeze, TV, flashlight, etc.
If you don't know what tag is you must be from another planet.

5) Kick the Can

6) Capture the Flag

7) Chinese jump rope
This was big during recess when I was in elementary school. It works best with a large elastic rope. Two player face each other with the rope taunt around their ankles. The 3rd player has to go through an assortment of jumps which include: jump in between with both feet, jump to the outside straddling the rope, jump from side to side straddling each side, jump on the rope, jump out again, make a criss cross so your legs are inside the x then jump out and land on the ropes. If the jumper doesn't perform the proper jump they are out. Continue the pattern raising it higher up the legs with each successful pattern completed. This can also be played with one player by using chairs to hold the rope.

8) Mother May I?
One player is the "Mother" while the other players line up about 20 feet away. The mother picks a player and gives them an order which can include: take 5 giant steps, or take 3 tiny steps, or take 2 hops, or take 2 jumping jack hops, etc. The more creative the commands the funner it will be. Here's the catch. The player who is given the command must first respond with the phrase, "Mother, May I?" and the mother must respond, "Yes, you may" before the player can perform the task. If they do not ask permission they must return all the way back to the line where they started.

9) Red Light, Green Light
One person is picked to be the "light" and stands with their back to the other players who are lined up about 20 feet away. The "light" yells "green light" and the other players try to run and reach the "light". The "light" then yells "red light" while turning around to face the players who must stop as fast as they can. If the "light" catches them still running they have to return to the starting line. Play continues until the first person makes it to the "light" in which they are now the next "light."

10) Simon Says
One person is chosen to be "Simon" and the other players line up. Simon calls out commands such as; touch your toes, rub your belly, jump up and down, spin in circles, etc. The players can only follow the commands if they start with the phrase, "Simon Says..." If a player follows a command without being told "Simon Says" then they are out. Play continues until there is one player left. They become the next "Simon".

And on rainy days some fun indoor games I enjoyed and still do:

1) Bunco - dice game (Anyone want to start up a group in NE Ohio?!?! Seriously.)

2) Double Solitaire, Hand Solitaire, Around the Clock Solitaire - card games

3) Hearts - card game

4) 10,000 - dice game

5) Boggle - game in a box

6) Uno - card game

What were some of your favorite games you remember playing as a kid?


  1. I totally forgot about some of those! Ah! And I love some of your songs in your sidebar- especially Mindy Smith!


  2. I think you named all the ones I can remember! I always loved Uno and dominoes too! What a great list! Ahh, good times!

  3. None. I've blocked them all out.


    I loved to play dolls. I was such a girl.


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