Playground games are a great way to get kids moving. They help to keep kids active in a fun and social way, which is important for children as they grow up. Kids who spend too much time sitting down playing video games or watching TV will struggle to become physically healthy adults.
While many traditional playground games require a little space and equipment, there are many other ways to incorporate movement into kids’ recesses. A variety of activities can be incorporated, like hopscotch, dodge ball or kickball, or even a simple obstacle course. There are also a range of jump rope games, such as the popular Double Dutch.
This simple, teamwork-based game is a great choice for a playground. One person — usually an adult or older child — plays the role of Simon, calling out a simple task for everyone to do. For example, they may call out “pat your head,” “spin in a circle,” or “clap your hands.” If anyone doesn’t do the task as Simon calls it, they are out. The last person standing is the winner.
Another variation on the hot potato game, this involves passing a small object around to all players until it gets dropped. When the music stops, whoever is holding the object when it’s dropped is out. Then, the next player takes their turn. This game is more competitive than the traditional version of the same name, where the entire group of people sits in a circle and passes the object back and forth.
One of the oldest party games, limbo is perfect for kids on a playground. Two players hold either end of a rope up, and other players attempt to walk underneath it while bending their knees in a sort of crabwalk. The game continues until a player is caught by the other team or falls.
A classic pirate-themed playground game, Captain on Deck requires a lot of co-operation and movement from the kids. One player, the “captain”, stands up and shouts out various tasks for the crew to do. Kids kneel and pretend to scrub the deck, crawl along the rigging, or man overboard. This game works particularly well at an immersive pirate-themed playground, with a range of exciting props and scenery to add to the action.
Kids will enjoy a range of other traditional playground games, too. For example, they can join in on a game of tag, or a more physical version called Red Rover. In this game, players link arms and form a chain with each other. Then, a player designated as “Mother” stands with her back to the rest of the players and the other players ask for permission to take movements, such as two crabwalk steps or five hops, toward Mother, using a chant. Mother grants or denies each request. The first player to tag another player is out and must break the chain or join their team. This is a great way to build teamwork, while also building up coordination and balance skills.