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Playground Games Project - Thought to be mid/late 1980s

Stephen Coyle

Playground Games

My Mummy used to play quite a few games with the other girls in the playground when she was young. Here are just a couple.



Mummy sometimes played that well known game "Tig". As you probably know, the game starts off with one person chasing another. When the person who is being chased is caught, he or she swaps with the person who has been chasing. The people do this over and over agin until they are bored with that game.



Mummy often played another traditional game called "Donkey". The game is usually played by two people. A ball is thrown backwards and frowards between the two people until one person drops it. He or she is then "D". The game continues with one more letter from the word "Donkey" serving as a penalty. The first person to be "Donkey" loses.


Can't Cross The Red Sea

One person is on and he/she says

Can't cross the red sea without the colour ________.

If the people have that colour on they are safe. If not they have to run across without being caught.



Throw the jacks up bounce the ball and catch the jacks on the back of your hand.



One person stands with his back to a wall then someone bends down with their hands in the other boys hands. The other team has to jump on his back.


Scavenger Hunt

Each team has a list of things to find. They all go and look for them and the first team back wins.


French Skipping

Two girls turn two ropes at the same time, the others take turns skipping in the ropes.


Hop Scotch

A pattern of squares is drawn on the ground and numbered 1 - 10. A stone is thrown on number one first and the person hops up, turns and hops back picking up the stone. The she throws the stone onto number 2, then 3, then 4 and so on hopping up and back each time. She is out if she misses the right square with the stone, hops on any of the lines or fails to pick up the stone.


Hula Hoop

To play Hula hoop you put a plastic hoop round your waist and twist your body until the hoop spins. People would compete to see who could keep the hoop spinning the longest. Elizabeth Hanna P.4


Thunder and Lightning

Thunder and lightning is like Belfast except you knock the knocker. That's the thunder then you run down the street and that's the lightning.



Leave-o is like Hide and Seek but when you are caught you go to a den until the person who is on catches all the others.

Children got two tins and made a small hole in the sides. Then they threaded string through the holes and then you walk on the tins holding on with the strings.



When my dad was at school he played football. The game is played simply by kicking a ball and trying to score through two posts and a crossbar. At school he played with George Best, who is now a very good football player. When the ball goes out the other team gets a 'throw in'. If the ball goes across the lie along where the nets are the other team gets a 'corner'. If the player gets a a kick on the leg that's called a 'foul'. I like playing football because it is simply enjoyable. Ronnie Carson


German Jumps

You need three people for this game. You start by joining up a lot of elastics together to make them into a a larg circle. Then two people stand about six feet from each other. They then put their feet inside the elastics. It now looks like a very large rectangle. The other person then does different jumps in and out of the elastics. You can do backwards jumps, sideways jumps, and to make it more difficult the two people holding the elastics with their feet can slowly move the elastics up their legs so that the person jumping has to jump much higher. Kathy Smyth



The games my mother played at Elmgrove were more or less the same as are played today. One unusual game she recalls playing was a game called jacks. This was played with a small bouncing ball and ten small metal objects in the shape of a car jack. First she would throw the jacks in the air and catch them on the palm of her hand. Any that fell to the ground had to be picked up. She would bounce the ball, lift the correct number of jacks and then ctach the ball with the same hand. The game jacks can still be bought in the shops today.

Mark Hawthorne



You got two players and dug a hole and who ever got in the hole first got the other person's marble.


Push Halfpenny

You got a board which had lines across it. The object of the game was to push the halfpenny between all the lines.


Chain Tig

To play chain tig you need seven or more people. You get someone to be on. He runs round trying to catch someone. When he catches a person they hold hands with him. The first person caught will be on in the next game. He keeps on catching people and the longer the chain gets, the better chance he has of catching those left. When everyone is caught the game is over.


Stick and Hoop

You need a stick and a hoop for this game. You roll the hoop and hit it on the top with the stick to keep it going. When you need to turn you tap it on the side. It goes all wobbly but you get it straight by hitting it on the top with the stick. The hoop cost about a shiling that is five pence now. It was a game for everybody.


Name Handball

To play Name Handball you have to get about 7 or eight people. One person has to start it off. They have to hit a ball against the wall with their hand. When it hits the wall they call out someone's name like this "Lynn". Lynn has to hit the ball against the wall and she has to call out someone else's name. That person has to hit the ball as well and this continues. If someone misses the ball they are out and the winner is the last person to be out.


Turn The Coin

To play turn the coin you need two people, a penny and a rubber ball. First you put the penny in the middle of the two people and then they take about five steps backwards. Then one person thows the ball and tries to hit the penny. If you hit it you get one point and if yo make it turn over you get two points. You keep going until you get ten points then you're the winner. The winner keeps the coin.


Thunder and Lightning

To play this game you can have as many people as you want, but not too many. All you do is got to somebody's house and rap the door like thunder, then everyone runs like lightning and hides. One person just walks as if he went by. Then he won't get caught! I have played this game and it is good fun ut people sometimes get very angry!


German Jumps

You need some elastic bands and then tie them together. Also you need three or more people to play. Two people have ends and their tie the band round their ankles. The person who is left jump in and out of the bands. They sing some rhymes as they jump. They first sing : "England, Ireland Scotland Wales
Inside Outside
On the rails"
If you make a mistake you must take an end. If you finish all the rhymes in the first part you then move the band up to your knees, and then to the hips and so on. You must take turns one after another!



All you need is a long rope and more than two people. One person take one end of the rope and another person takes the other end. They both turn the rope. The person who is going to skip runs in and jumps each time the rope comes to their feet. You could skip to a rhyme like this:
"On the hillside stands a lady,
Who she is I do not know,
All she wants is gold or silver,
Sll she wants is a nice young man."
If the person that's skipping stands on the rope or stops they must give another person a turn.


1,2,3 Red Lights

To play 1,2,3 Red Lights you need three or more people. One person is on. The person that's on has to put their back to the other people who are standing n a line. The person that's on says "1,2,3 Red Lights" and the people in the line try to creep up behind the person that's on to tap her. But if the person that's on catches a person moving, that person goes back to the start. The person that gets up to the person that's on and touches him/her is on.




To play marbles you need a circle. You put nine marbles into the circle and you leave one big marble out. You try to knock out the nine marbles out of the circle. If you do you have to start a new game. Whoever wins the two games gets to keep the marbles.


Perri and Whip

This game is played by one person or more. My mummy said it cost 5 shillings for the whip and 5 shillings for the perri. You wrap the string of the whip around the perri and then pull the whip trying to spin the perri. If the erri starts to spin you hit it with the whip to keep it spinning. If the perri falls it's a nother person's go. That goes on until the last person has his or her go. Everybody has to get a turn.


Kick The Tin

You have to have more than two people to play the game. Somebody is on and you need a tin. You set the tin on the ground and someone (not the person who's on) kicks the tin and then everyone (except the person who's on) runs away and hides. The person who's on runs after the tin and holds it in their hand and counts to 30 or 50. When they have counted to the number, they set the tin down and go to look for the others. If they see one of them they go back to the tin and tap it on the ground and say "one two three (Lisa's) not in free." On the other hand if the hider gets there first and kicks the tin they get the whole den in free. If a person has been caught before that, the same person is on. The person on has to put all the people in the den to win and then the first person who was caught is on it for the next game.


Can You Cross The Red Sea?

To play Can you Cross the Red Sea? you need six or seven people. You need someone to be on it and they say "You can't cross the Red Sea without the colour (blue)." You look at your clothes and if you have the colour you can walk across. But if you have not got the colour you have to try and run across without the person catching you. If you are caught you are on it next.

Page created 10.02.00