6 Old-School Yard Games That Need To Come Back
Last summer, I taught my two daughters how to play Red Light, Green Light. It was hilarious and they loved every minute of it. It also got me thinking about the old school games that I played as a kid and yes, a year later, I'm still stuck on them.
So, are these still popular? Have you taught your kids any of them? And how mean is Mother, May I?
1. Red Light, Green Light
One kid stands on one side of the yard, and everyone else stands on the other. The "It" person calls "Green light" and everyone runs toward him/her, until he/she says "Red light!" and they have to stop. It continues until the first kid reaches whoever is it.
2. Red Rover
Two groups stand on opposite sides of the yard in lines. One group holds hands and calls together, "Red Rover, Red Rover, send [Penny] right over." Little Penny runs as fast as she can and tries to break through the hands of two linked people. If she makes it through, she takes one person from the other team back with her. If she doesn't, she joins the opposite team. Whoever is left with just one person is the losing team.
3. Mother, May I?
The "mother" stands on one side of the yard, and everyone else stands on the other. They take turns asking "Mother, may I take [two steps] ahead?" He/she says "Yes, you may" or "No, you may not. You may take [one frog hop]." Whoever gets there first is the winner.
4. Duck, Duck, Goose
Everyone sits in a circle except the first silly goose. He/she takes turns patting the kids (gently) on the head and saying "duck" each time until tapping the "goose." Whoever gets deemed the goose must get up and chase the tapper around the circle and touch him/her before reaching the empty seat. If they don't touch the person, they are now "it."
5. Freeze Tag
The kid who is it goes around tagging everyone to "freeze" them so they can't move. To move again, they must be touched by another person. After everyone is frozen, the first person is "it." My family played a nighttime version of tag called "Ditch 'Em," which involved us climbing up trees in an effort to evade the "It" team and trying to make it safely back to the base without getting tagged. It was awesome.
6. Simon Says
"Simon" calls out demands. "Simon says touch your toes!" "Simon says twirl around!" "Simon says bark like a dog!" "Stick out your tongue!" If you fell for that last one, you're out. My favorite game is not on this list, because it's something that my siblings, cousins and I completely made up. We would stand at the edge of our grandparents' driveway on a fairly busy country road and wait until a car driving past was close enough and then someone would scream "Go!" and we'd run across the lawn to the big weeping willow tree as fast as our little legs would take us. If we got there before the car passed, we won.
I remember playing this at night a lot and feeling the thrill of the chase every single time. My grandparents must have loved it, because I'm sure we all slept like logs those nights.
Did I forget any of your favorites? Let me know in the comments.
Originally published 07.2018.