Get Your Kids Outside with These Old-School Games

Do you remember the games you used to play as a kid? Maybe you played jacks or marbles. Or maybe you played red rover. But do you remember how you knew about those games? Someone probably taught you. And that person probably learned the rules of the game from someone else. And so on, and so on.

Sometimes it can be a struggle to get your kids outside. But maybe it’s as simple as introducing them to the games you played in your childhood that they may never have heard of. Here are a few games kids can play right in the backyard.

  1. Kick the can

Kick the can is a mix between tag and hide & seek. You need a can (or some other substitute object) and at least three people. To start, the can is placed in the middle of the field. There are two teams; the hiders and the seekers.

The seekers can be a group of people or just one person. Their goal is to find everyone, tag them, and protect the can. The hiders just need to hide. If they get tagged by the seeker, then they are out and go to “jail.” But it’s not over for them yet.

If another hider, who isn’t out, is able to kick the can, then all or one of the hiders who are out, get to jump back into the game. The game ends when no hiders are left to be tagged.

  1. Ghost in the graveyard

All that is needed to play is an area and some people. A “base” needs to be picked out. It should be anything that can be touched, from a garage door to a tree.

One person will become the ghost. The ghost hides at the beginning of the game. After some time, the other players start looking for the ghost. When found, the player who found the ghost yells “Ghost in the Graveyard” as loud as possible. Once they shout, they are automatically safe.

Every other player must run back and touch the base while the ghost chases after them and tries to tag them. Whoever is tagged first becomes the ghost next game.

  1. Capture the flag

You will need two objects to act as flags and ideally a small group of people. Boundaries will need to be set marking each teams side, with a smaller section in the middle of the sides acting as a neutral zone. Teams should then hide their flag somewhere on their side. When all that is set up, the game can begin.

The goal is to grab the other team’s flag and bring it back to your base. When a player is on the other team’s side, they can be tagged which makes them “out.” When tagged, they move to the “jail” on the other team’s side.

An “out” player can be freed if one of their teammates is able to run and tag them without being caught by the other team. They can only free one player at a time. If a player is on their own side, they can’t be tagged, but can tag players from the opposing team. No one can be tagged if they are in the neutral zone.

If a person is tagged while carrying a flag, the flag goes back to where it originally was. The game can end whenever a flag is captured, or when one team reaches a set number of captures.

What games did you play as a child that we didn’t mention?

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Photo credit: Fat Camera

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