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outdoor games laughing children

Remember those outdoor games of yesteryear – the ones kids used to play before CBeebies came along? Here are a few you might remember and how to play them

1. What’s the time, Mr Wolf?

A child or grown-up plays Mr Wolf, who stands a small distance away from the others, with their back to them. Ask the remaining children to stand in a line, and chant in unison, “What’s the time, Mr Wolf?” The wolf answers with a time, for example, ‘It’s three o’clock!’ The players take the same number of steps forwards towards the wolf, chanting, “What’s the time, Mr Wolf?” as before. Occasionally Mr Wolf calls out, “Dinner time!” and turns and chases the players. If Mr Wolf touches a player before he or she gets back to the ‘start line’, that player is the new Mr Wolf. Prepare for plenty of screaming!

2. Egg and spoon race

The rules are simple – just run as fast as you can without dropping the egg from the spoon! If you haven’t the time to start hard-boiling eggs, check out an Egg and Spoon game.

3. Ring-a-ring-o’-roses

A group of little ones holds hands to form a circle. They then sing the rhyme: “Ring-a-ring-o’-roses, A pocket full of posies, Atishoo, Atishoo, We all fall down.” On the line, “We all fall down’” everyone dramatically drops to the ground.

4. Space hopping

Remember riding on a space hopper when you were young? It’s still a fun way for kids to work off some energy, and can be used in the tiniest of gardens.

5. Simon says

One player takes the role of Simon, and issues instructions, for example asking the children to run around the tree. However, Simon needs to say ‘Simon says’ for the children to obey the instruction. So just “Jump up and down” means the kids should ignore the instruction. You’re out if you don’t perform the instruction correctly. The winner is the last player left standing.

6. Hopscotch

Another old one but a goodie. Chalk out the numbers on the ground or alternatively use a hopscotch mat. To play, throw a stone or hopscotch counter to land on the first square without touching the lines. Your child will then need to jump over the first square and hopscotch their way to the 10 square, with a foot landing in each square. If any toes slip outside the lines, they miss a turn. Make sure they pick up the marker on the way back.

7. Giant snakes and ladders

Whether your child is just getting into board games or a bit of a pro, they’ll love a Giant Snakes and Ladders. Set it up in your garden for lots of fun climbing the ladders and sliding down the snakes in the sunshine.



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