Playground Games

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Old fashioned playground games.


Hopscotch - chalk, a beanbag
Marbles - marbles, chalk
French Skipping - elastic
Skipping - rope
Jumping jacks - jacks & ball
Oranges & Lemons
Clapping rhymes
Please Mr Crocodile


This game requires chalk and a beanbag (a rock/coin) and some room. This game helps to teach children to take turns, follow directions, and balance. Draw out the desired jumping pattern. Draw squares 1-10 1 single, 2 & 3 double, 4 single, 5 & 6 double, 7 single, 8 & 9 double, 10 single. The first player tosses the marker into the first square. The marker must land completely within the designated square and without touching a line or bouncing out. The player then hops through the course, skipping the square with the marker in it. Single squares must be hopped on one foot. Side by side squares are straddled, with the left foot landing in the left square, and the right foot landing in the right square. At the final square, players turn round and hop/jump back through the squares. They then must retrieve their marker and continue the course as stated without touching a line or stepping into a square with another player's marker. Upon successfully completing the sequence, the player continues the turn by tossing the marker into square number two, and repeating the pattern. If, while hopping through the court in either direction, the player steps on a line, misses a square, or loses balance, the turn ends. Players begin their turns where they last left off. The first player to complete one course for every numbered square on the court wins the game.

MARBLES- Dropsies
Draw a circle or square with chalk on the ground, several feet across. Each player puts in between one and three marbles into the ring. They can be placed anywhere in the ring. Players take turns standing outside of the circle and shooting marbles, trying to knock marbles out of the circle. Players can either drop the marble straight down, or toss it. If any marbles leave the circle, the player who knocked them out collects them and his or her shooter and the turn is over. If no marbles leave the circle, the player must pay one marble into the circle and collect the his or her shooter. The turn is then over. The game is over when all of the marbles have been knocked out of the circle. The player with the most marbles wins. Optionally, if a player does not hit any marbles and her shooter stops inside of the circle, she must leave her shooter inside of the ring. Other players may aim at her shooter.

Played with a really long piece of elastic, about 2cm wide and 3 metres in length. Tie the ends of the elastic together to make a loop. Two (or more) children stand inside the loop so they are stretching it relatively taut around their ankles. A third person performs a series of hops and jumps, chanting appropriate rhymes. When finished, the height of the elastic is raised to knees, then thighs, then waist. Start with left foot inside the elastic loop and right foot just outside. Jump over to to the other side so right foot is inside the loop and left foot is outside.

French Skipping rhymes:

Chocolate cake, when you bake, How many minutes will you take? One, two, three, four.

On ONE: jump up and land with left foot outside the elastic loop and your right foot inside.
On TWO: jump up and land with both feet together inside the elastic loop.
On THREE: jump up and land with both feet outside the elastic loop.
On Four: jump up and land sideways to the elastic, with your left foot on top of the back elastic and your right foot ahead (in front) of the front elastic.

If the current player fails to execute the correct jump their turn is over and play passes to one of the people inside the circle of elastic, who then tries to out do the previous player.

More rhymes:

England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales. Inside, outside, inside, on!

Old Mrs Mason broke her basin. On the way to London Station. How much did it cost? One, two, three, four.'

Charlie Chaplin sat on a pin. How many inches did it go in? One, two, three, four.

This game used to play with small rounded stones but today we play it with plastic or metal jacks. To decide who starts, a player throws five jacks into the air with one hand and tries to catch as many as possible on the back of the same hand. The jacks that were caught are then thrown up again from the back of the hand where they came to rest and as many as possible are caught in the palm of the same hand. The other players do the same and the player who catches the most jacks starts, play continuing in a clockwise fashion. The first player starts the game by throwing the five jacks on the ground and then picking up the ball. The player throws the ball up, picks up one jack with the same hand and then catches the ball before it hits the ground. The jack is then put into the other hand. This is repeated until all the jacks have been picked up. The player then throws the jacks back on the floor and starts again, but this time, two jacks must be picked up each time except for the third and final throw when, obviously, only one jack is picked up. Once this is achieved successfully, the player starts again but this time with three jacks and then again with four jacks and finally the ball is thrown up and all five jacks are picked up at once before the ball is caught. When the player misses the ball or does not manage to pick up the required number of jacks, the turn immediately finishes and the next player has a try. The player who manages to progress furthest in the sequence of throws wins.

Two children form an arch with their arms. They determine in secret which of them shall be an 'orange' and which a 'lemon'. Everyone sings the 'Oranges and Lemons' song (see below). The other children in the game, take turns to run under the arch until one of them is caught when the arch falls at the end of the song. The captured player is asked privately whether they will be an 'orange' or a 'lemon' and then goes behind the original 'orange' or 'lemon' team leader. The game and singing then starts over again. At the end of the game there is usually 'a tug of war' to test whether the 'oranges' or 'lemons' are stronger. The game is similar to 'London Bridge is Falling Down'.

Oranges and lemons,
Say the bells of St. Clement's.
You owe me five farthings,
Say the bells of St. Martin's.

When will you pay me?
Say the bells of Old Bailey.
When I grow rich,
Say the bells of Shoreditch.

When will that be?
Say the bells of Stepney.
I'm sure I don't know,
Says the great bell at Bow.

Here comes a candle to light you to bed,
Here comes a chopper to chop off your head.

Chip chop chip chop the last man's head
(The arch comes down tapping one player)

Long rope held between two children. Turn the rope and sing the following songs:

Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, turn around,
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, touch the ground
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, show your shoe
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, that will do!

Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, go upstairs
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, say your prayers
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, turn out the lights
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, say good-night!

The skipper jumps the rope whilst singing this rhyme, he/she acts out the actions as the words come up in the rhyme.

I like coffee, I like tea,
I like (person's name) to jump with me.
(That person joins the first person so that two are now jumping. )
One, two, three, change places, seven, eight, nine, change places, etc.
(until the pair missed. The two change from right to left each time they said "change places" and all would keep track of who got the highest number before missing.)


A sailor went to sea, sea, sea.
To see what he could see, see, see.
But all that he could see, see, see.
Was the bottom of the deep blue sea, sea, sea.

I went to a Chinese resturant to buy a loaf of bread bread bread
The waiter asked my name and this is what I said said said:
My name is Eli Eli
Chickali Chickali
Pom Pom Beauty
Extra Cutie
I know karate
Punch you in the body Oops! I'm sorry
Tell my Mommy
Don't wanna miss yah
Don't wanna kiss yah

Some one is called IT and they have to chase every one else and try and catch them. When they touch someone, they say "IT" and then that person becomes IT.

Please Mr Crocodile
May we cross the water
To see your lovely daughter
Floating on the water
Like a cup and saucer?

Mr Crocodile replied: "Yes, if you're dressed in..."

Mr Crocodile names a colour. E.g. blue. All the kids wearing blue could stroll across safely, but if you weren't wearing blue, you had to dodge and run while Mr Crocodile tried to catch you. If you got caught you were out. The last person to survive would be the next Mr Crocodile.


  • games
  • playground

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