This spring, why not set the screens aside and head outside to try some of the games your grandparents used to play?
From hopscotch to stuck-in-the-mud, there are plenty of ways to enjoy outside play with your kids.
Jump The Snake
You’ll need a large skipping rope. Two hold the ends of a large skipping rope and crouch to wiggle the rope from side to side. If jumpers touch the rope, they’re out. Skip with a rhyme, like: “Janey and Johnny sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G, first comes love, then comes marriage, then comes Janey with a baby carriage”.
Mark a playing field in a smooth section of dirt and create a small hole in the middle. Each player scatters a marble. With their big marble, each tries to knock out another player’s marbles. If a player knocks a marble into the hole, he or she gets to keep the marble knocked in, and gets another turn. Requires three to five players.
You can play hopscotch with only two players, but more will make for more fun. Draw your own course with chalk, setting out numbered squares. The first player tosses a rock or coin (marker) into the first square. He or she hops through the course, skipping the square the rock or coin was tossed on to. Players hop in single squares with one foot, and use two feet for side by side squares. Once the player has finished the hop sequence, that player continues his or her turn, tossing the marker into another square (number two) and repeating the pattern. The first player to finish one full course for each numbered square is the winner.
Divide up a court area into four small squares numbered one to four. You’ll need four players or more. One player stands in each of the squares. The highest is ranked number one, the lowest at number four. Using a tennis ball or basketball, players bounce the ball to one another and hit it with their hands, aiming to get it inside the lines. When a player makes a mistake, he or she is eliminated, a new player steps in, and other players move up the rankings.
Duck, duck goose
Form a circle and nominate one player the ‘goose’. The goose must run around the outside of the circle, patting every head and saying “duck”. When the goose yells “goose!” a new goose is made, and must run around the circle as the old goose chases them. If the new goose gets back to the empty spot without being caught, the old goose continues.
The rules are pretty simple: climb into a sack, line up, and race to the finish line. For a bigger challenge, try egg and spoon races or three-legged races.
Stuck in the mud
One player is chosen to be ‘it’ and the others scatter. The player must run around and tag as many people as he or she can. When tagged, a player must stand and freeze with legs and arms apart. The only way to be freed is for a non-tagged player to crawl through that player’s legs. Players are safe when crawling through. The game ends when all players are ‘stuck in the mud’.