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The 14 Best Traditional Yard Games (Explained With His Rules)

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Playground time is that time of fun and relaxation that school-age boys and girls crave while in class. Those 30 minutes of rest in the middle of the school day is the ideal time to socialize while playing with other classmates.

Traditional playground games have been the star entertainment of all generations of boys and girls who have been able to study at school. It is these games that help foster companionship while exercising and practicing memory, coordination, and logic.

In this article we are going to see 14 traditional and fun backyard games They have wide popularity around the globe, ideal for playing for boys and girls but which can also be joined by adults, whether they are teachers or parents of children.

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The 14 traditional yard games

The time that school-aged boys and girls spend in the schoolyard It is not only part of their time of leisure and rest, but also part of their education and taking care of their physical and mental health

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. After sitting for several hours, the children need to move their bodies, release energy and socialize with the rest of the classmates.

The patio is that place where boys and girls of all ages enjoy a time of relaxation and freedom and take the opportunity to interact with others through spontaneous play.

In all cultures in which schools exist there are traditional playground games. These diversions constitute a fundamental pillar of each culture, as important as its language, gastronomy, dances and clothing. Each country and region has its own backyard games but, also, many of them are shared throughout length and breadth of the world, with small variations as to the way they are played and the name they receive.

These games must be present in the childhood of all children, since have many benefits, among which we can highlight:

  • Improve social skills and help form new friendships
  • They contribute to physical motor development.
  • They contribute to cognitive development.
  • They encourage communication and group participation.
  • They make the little ones take responsibility for the play material.
  • They help create an environment of respect, cooperation and solidarity.
  • Teach boys and girls to respect the rules of the game.
  • They teach the little ones to manage winning and losing.
  • They are essential for the inclusion of children with functional diversity.
Playground games for children

The traditional patio games that we will see below are, for the most part, famous worldwide, especially in the area of ​​Spanish-speaking countries. Let's look at 14 traditional, fun, and easy-to-play yard games. Let's have fun!

1. Hopscotch

Little plane, fight, yew, snail, baby milk, rest, world, tuncuna, pilgrim, hopscotch ... There are many names by which this game is known in Spanish and, there are even countries in which depending on the region The way it is called also changes, especially in multilingual countries such as Spain (Xaranca, Ratlleta, Txingoka, mariola ...). Not only is it varied in terms of its name, but also in the way it is played, although in most cases it is played like this:

Game rules

Ten squares are painted with chalk on the ground, with a shape similar to that of an airplane, and the numbers from 1 to 10 are written on each of them. If the surface is dirt, the drawing can be made using a twig or any other stick-shaped object.

The game consists of the player throwing a flattened object, such as a stone, a sheet metal or a piece of tile, causing it to lands on square 1 and has to drag it around the drawing by pushing it with one foot to the soft foot and without stepping on the lines.

If he succeeds, he will throw the stone at square 2 to complete the journey again from that point and, so on, successively until he reaches square number 10. Whoever manages to complete all the hopscotch wins.

This game is perfect to help the little ones develop balance, aim, body coordination, concentration and a lot of patience.

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2. The hen and her chicks

The hen and her chicks it is an ideal entertainment for children 8 and over, since it requires a certain motor coordination to enjoy it and, also, thus we will avoid less danger of trips and falls since it is a fairly hectic game.

Game rules

A line of eight to ten players is formed and, each one of them, will hold on to the waist of the one in front of him. The first in line is the hen and those behind him are the chicks. There will be a boy or girl who will have to play the role of the wolf, the wild and hungry animal that wants to hunt the last of the chicks in line.

To achieve this, the wolf will have to touch the last chick with his hand. This chick must move from one side to the other to avoid being eaten by the big bad wolf and, since the line cannot be broken, the hen and the other chicks must also move with it without letting go. Everyone, working as a team, will try to prevent the wolf from eating the final chick.

With this activity agility, endurance, coordination and teamwork are developed.

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3. Dodgeball

The dodgeball is a classic, a recurring exercise in physical education classes but that, although it is mandatory and is part of the academic curriculum, it is still a fun traditional game.

Game rules

Two teams will be formed, one on each side of the field of play, they will try to eliminate the opposing team's players by hitting them with the ball directly, without getting caught by hand first or bouncing off the ground first.

Each player who is eliminated goes to the back of the opponent's court, where he can receive the ball and attack as well. If he manages to eliminate one while he is dead, he returns to play his field. The game ends when one team runs out of live players.

In this game marksmanship, reflexes, agility and strength are put into practice.

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4. The blind chicken

One of the oldest games that boys and girls have fun with, suitable for any age and can be played anywhere, although we must do it in a space where there are not too many obstacles to avoid falls and accidents.

Rules of the game

We will take a handkerchief, a scarf, a mask or anything that helps us to blindfold one of the players and make sure he can't see anything. Afterwards, we will make him spin on himself while the others sing in unison:

“Little chicken, little chicken, what have you lost in a haystack? A needle and a thimble. Go around three times and you will find them ”.

Blind and disoriented, the player becomes blind chicken and his task will be to catch one of the players and recognize who it is. If he succeeds, the one who has been caught will become the new chicken.

Blind chicken is a great way to get children to improve their reflexes, attention and, above all, their perception of space.

5. The English Hideaway

A classic played by both children and adults. English hide and seek is a traditional yard game that is in good health at recesses in all schools. Its popularity is due to the fact that its rules are easy to understandIt can be played by anyone at any age, anywhere.

Game rules

In the best-known version of him, a player plays the hunter. This hunter will cover his eyes with his hands and turn his back to the rest of the participantsstanding at a safe distance. The player must recite aloud:

"One, two, three, to the English hideout, without moving hands or feet"

In almost every region of the Spanish-speaking world this phrase changes, having other versions such as:

"One, two, three, itch-wall."

"One, two three, English duckling"

"One, two, three, chocolate STOP!"

"One, two, three, forty-three cigarette"

While he says the phrase, all the other players must advance to try to touch his back, but they must do so with great caution because, when they finish saying the phrase, the hunter will immediately turn around and whoever is caught in motion will be sent to the starting position.

Players who have to touch the hunter's back must put their advancement skills to use stealthily and, at the same time, be more static than the most rigid of statues to be able to proclaim victor.

This ritual is repeated over and over again, and whoever manages to touch the back of the person saying the phrase and runs away from him until he reaches the starting line without being touched wins, becoming the “hunter”.

This game is a great way for kids to develop concentration, self-control, and agility.

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6. The four corners

The game of the four corners is a classic played internationally, ideal for practicing both indoors and outdoors and, although it is usually played with 5 players, it can be adapted so that they play as many as they want.

Rules of the game

To play four corners we only need a space with four corners and the desire to run a bit. If we do not have a place with these four corners, we can improvise with four trees arranged in a similar way to a square, four chairs or four points marked with any object. One player stands in the middle and four others have to stand at each corner of the space.

The player in the central position has to try to occupy each of the corners, taking advantage of the fact that the other four run from one to another to exchange with their respective companions. If he succeeds, he settles in that corner and the one who runs out of the corner becomes the new central player.

The game is called four corners because in its original version it is played with only four, but this is not an impediment to add more and make more players who can participate. If you want to increase the difficulty of the game and the emotion, what you can do is add corners. Points are added for more players and voila!

This game is ideal for developing reflexes, attention and agility.

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7. Policemen and thieves

Cops and robbers, or more colloquially called cops and robbers, is an ideal game for boys and girls to have fun in the classroom and on the playground. AND It has the advantage that the more people participate, the more fun it is!

Game rules

The game consists of two teams, one of policemen and the other of thieves. To play it, it is necessary to have a space large enough to be able to run in a hurry, since we are going to do a real police chase, like in the movies. The police will have to try to catch the thieves and put them in jail, which can be a tree, a corner, a bank ...

The thieves who are behind bars can be saved if their companions manage to reach them by misleading the police. When the robbers touch the prisoners with their hand, they are automatically released.

The game ends when the policemen manage to apply the law, managing to lock all the robbers in jail. Once finished, the roles are switched.

In this game you practice agility, attention and strategy.

8. Catch the tail

Is about one of the many versions of the classic pilla-pilla, ideal for children between 3 and 8 years old but that can be played by anyone who feels encouraged to do so.

Game rules

All participants They will have to place a scarf on the back, hooked to the waist of the skirt or pants. At the moment of giving the signal, each player will have to try to steal the tails of the others, but at the same time trying to prevent the others from grabbing their tails. The player with the most queues will be the winner.

This game is perfect for developing agility and coordination.

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9. The handkerchief

The game of the handkerchief is an ideal entertainment both for the playground and for other contexts, such as physical education class, a colonies or a birthday. In order to play it we need many players, someone to act as a referee and a handkerchief.

Game rules

A player picks up a handkerchief, scarf, rag or any other cloth and stands between two teams of players. Each of the players of the two rival teams is assigned a number, repeated between them. That is to say, There is a player from a team that has 1 and another from the other team that also has 1, another two with 2, another two with 3 and so on until they are necessary.

When the player with the handkerchief calls out one of the numbers he has assigned, the corresponding player from each team must run to the center to get the handkerchief. Whoever succeeds must return to the base of his team at full speed to avoid that the opponent does not catch him. Each victory of a player earns a point for his team.

Those who play this game develop skills such as attention, agility, speed, reflexes and concentration.

10. The game of chairs

The game of chairs is another classic, playable for both children and adults and although his thing is to play it with these furniture, can be practiced with some cushions on the floor or anything that serves to sit.

Game rules

To play, you must have as many chairs as there are participants at the beginning of the game and, as the game progresses, a chair will be removed before starting the next shift. You will also need something to play some music.

The chairs are placed in a circle with the backs facing inward. Participants will stand, circling around the chairs, one behind the other. Whoever is in charge of the music will play a song and, while playing the music, the players will have to go around the chairs.

At the moment the song stops, each player must sit in a chair. Whoever is left without a chair is eliminated.

Attention, speed and perception of space are tested in this game.

11. Jump rope

Jumping rope, or skipping rope if you prefer, is one of the most beneficial exercises for children. It can be played in all the ways that one can imagine, putting mind and body to the test, and each one can set their own rules. It is an activity that does not require more than a rope and a little space to practice it, being able to play both individually and in groups.

Game rules

Actually, this game is so diverse that we cannot say that there is a prototypical way to play it. All the child has to do is jump rope accompanied by a song and avoid falling or stepping on the rope. It may be a bit difficult at first, but with a little time and practice you will be very good at doing vigorous recess physical activity while having fun.

With the game of the rope the coordination, the physical resistance and the sense of the rhythm are put into practice.

12. The sack race

The sack race is a group game, which must be played on an unobstructed surface such as a running track or a soccer field, although the ideal is a rather soft surface, with grass, since falls in this game are inevitable.

Game rules

Participants must stand in a straight line, putting their feet inside a bag and, when someone fires the starting gun, They all go out making a race, staying inside the sack. During the entire race, the feet cannot come out of the bag. The winner is the one who reaches the finish line first.

In this game our speed, endurance and coordination are tested.

13. The mouse and the cat

The game of mouse and cat is an ideal fun activity to practice with the children of the whole class.

Game rules

The game consists of making a circle formed by the children holding hands. Two of them will be chosen at random and it will be up to them to make one a cat and the other a mouse. The rest of the children will sing the following song:

"Mouse that catches you, mouse that will catch you, if it doesn't catch you tonight, tomorrow it will catch you"

While the song is playing, the mouse will have to run through the gaps formed by the children's arms that hold each other. The cat will go after him, but the children will lower their arms to prevent him from passing. When the cat touches the mouse, the mouse will become the cat.

Speed ​​and reflexes are practiced in this game.

14. Games with the palms of the hands

Finally we have the typical games with the palms of the hands. There are all kinds and conditions: tongue twisters, reciting multiplication tables, singing, saying nonsense ...

Game rules

The rules in all of them are very simple. It involves bringing the palms of the hands together while singing a song. Two or more children can play, they must touch their palms in different ways such as one up and the other down, in the middle side ...

This game is used to practice memory, coordination, rhythm and to be able to do more than two things at the same time.

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