Teddy bear, teddy bear, turn around! Teddy bear, teddy bear, touch the ground! If you recognise these lines from your primary school days, then no one has to tell you that skipping and playground games are still big business in British schools.
Take a trip down memory lane, and teach your kids these playground classics.
Every child has probably played tag, whether they realise it or not. Any number of children can play, but only one child is designated as “it.” “It” runs after the other children until (s)he “catches” one by touching another student and declaring “Tag! You’re it!” The new child becomes “it” and the game continues.
With a piece of chalk, draw eight line of boxes, the first line with one box, the second line with two boxes above it, the third line with one box it, the fourth line with two boxes, and so on. Number these boxes one through twelve.
Every child playing then selects a small stone, and attempts to throw it into the box marked one. If the throw is successful, the child hops into box one. If the throw is unsuccessful, the child forfeits his/her turn. In round two, all players attempt to toss their rock into box two, and so on.
The first child to successfully throw their rock into box twelve, and hop all the way up, is the winner.
Duck, Duck, Goose
Children sit in a circle, with one child selected to walk around the circle tapping the other players lightly on the head. This child says “Duck” with every tap, until (s)he selects one seated player to be the “Goose.”
When this child is tapped and selected, (s)he then jumps up from the circle and chases the original tapper.
If the “Goose” tags the other player, (s)he wins. If the other play runs around the circle and takes the “Goose’s” seat first, that player wins.
The child who has lost then becomes the tapper, beginning another round.
Hide and Seek
While somewhat self-explanatory, hide and seek requires multiple players to hide around the playground and one player to be the seeker.
The seeker will cover his/her eyes for thirty seconds allowing the others to hide. When the thirty second countdown is over, the seeker will announce “Ready or not, here I come!” and commence looking for the other players.
The first player to be discovered is then the seeker for the next round.
Skipping rope requires the use of a rope that is twirled by two children while a third child literally skips the rope in between them.
Double Dutch skipping is a more advanced form in which the child in the middle skips over two ropes (held in each hand by the children turning) at the same time.
Often children will chant a particular skipping rhyme throughout, sometimes inviting other children to skip in with them.
A number of skipping rhymes can be heard on playgrounds today, including:
- “I like coffee, I like tea, I want (name) to jump with me!”
- “All in together, girls! Never mind the weather, girls! When I call your birthday, you must jump in!” (Other players jump in as months are listed.)
- “I had a little puppy. His name was Tiny Tim. I put him in the bathtub, to see if he could swim. He drank down all the water. He ate a bar of soap. The next thing you know he had a bubble in his throat! In came the doctor, in came the nurse, and in came the lady with the alligator purse!” (Other players jump in as “doctor,” “nurse” and “lady” are called out.)
With a few fun playground activities under his or her belt, your child will never be bored at school again.
Take the time to practice these games, and you might just find yourself enjoying an old favourite again too!