Remember the good old days when we played outside all day until Mum called us in for dinner? Now we have so many distractions such as phones, TV, video games, computers, it’s hard to get the kids up off the couch and encourage them to get outside. Well it's time to bring back a bit of old-school PLAY! Here are our top outdoor retro games that you an play with your kids. They require very little equipment and money, just a fun attitude! They are also fantastic for building relationships within your family and perhaps with the neighbours kids as well!
Remember how you would rush outside when the bell rang for lunch, grab your besties and those giant elastic bands, they produced hours of fun! Here’s a quick recap of how to play so you can introduce the fun to your kids.
Stretch the elastic out between two players, they can be around ankles, calves or thighs, depending on how high you want to jump. If you are short of players, you can also wrap the elastics around two chairs. You have to jump through the elastics to a rhyme without tripping up. If the person makes a mistake, the next person takes their turn. When you return to the elastic, you can start your rhyme where you left off. Just incase you have forgotten the jingles, here are some examples for you to try:
Jingle Jangle, centre spangle, Jingle Jangle, out (One position per word)
England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales Inside, Outside, Puppy dogs tails.
(tails is feet on the elastics)
Find a piece of hard, smooth ground to draw your court on. Use chalk to draw a 4×4 square with K,Q,J and D in the corners. All you need now is a ball and you are ready to play! Traditionally a tennis ball is used, but a larger ball also works perfectly fine.
These are the basic rules:
- The person in Kings serves the ball by hitting it in their own square and then someone else’s.
- The receiving player must hit the ball in their own square and then someone else’s square.
- If the ball bounces two or more times in someone’s square they are out and proceed to dunce or the end of the line of players waiting to join the game.
- If Kings gets out they proceed to dunce and a new King serves.
- When a higher ranking square gets out, all below that square proceed to the next square up.
- All above a square who gets out stays where they are.
- If a person who is not in Kings, Queens, Jacks or Dunce interferes with the ball it is called ‘intos’ (meaning interference) and the game is replayed.
- If the ball bounces on a line it is called ‘lines’ and the game is replayed.
- If a player doesn’t hit the ball in their own square first it is called a ‘foul’ and they are out.
Handball can be played with a minimum of two players and there is no maximum number of players.
Sly fox (also known as grandmothers steps or statues) is a game of stealth, speed and the ability to stand very still! One child is chosen as the fox and faces away from the rest of the players. All the other children (and adults!) line up some distance away from the fox. When the fox isn’t looking, everyone else must creep closer to the fox. If the fox turns around, everyone must freeze! If the fox sees someone moving, that person must go back to their starting spot. The first person to reach the fox is the winner, and they become the fox for the next round. This game can be played outdoors or in your lounge room.
Use chalk to draw a hopscotch on a concrete surface, this could be around your home or maybe at your local park. Children take turns throwing a small item (shell, stone, bean bag). Start by throwing into square #1, if the stone lands outside the square or on a line, the stone passes to the next person. If the stone lands in the square, you jump over that square into the next one (#2), keep hopping into the next numbers, remembering to use both feet for 4-5 and 7-8. Turn around at 10 and head back down the numbers, pause before your stone, bend down and pick it up while balancing on one foot, then hop back to the start. If you complete the whole course without falling over or missing a square, you get another turn to throw your stone to the next number (#2). The first person to get all the way to square #10 wins!
Nominate one child as Simon. This child calls out instructions for the other players to follow. For example “Simon says, pat your stomach”, “Simon says, waddle like a penguin”. If Simon gives an instruction without first saying “Simon says”, then you do not follow the instruction. Anyone that does is out of the game. The last one standing wins. This is a great chance to introduce new vocabulary to your children, and also help them follow instructions. Try and come up with your silliest instructions to add in more fun!