Put down the phones. It’s time to go old-school. Sure, there’s tag and hopscotch, but what about SPUD and Ship to Shore? The next time your class needs to get outside to let off some steam or build teamwork and physical fitness, try one of these classic games.
1. Steal the Bacon
You can sit back and watch your students scatter over and over again—just hope that the students with the most energy aren’t the ones who get SPUD first (rules here). This video explanation could be used to teach your students the rules.
3. A-Tisket, A-Tasket
4. Ship to Shore
A Simon Says variation that has students “hit the deck” and imitate a “man overboard.” (Get all the commands here.)
5. Crack the Whip
6. Zero, 1, 2, 3
Using one or two jump ropes, kids jump once, twice, three times (and so on) when it’s their turn. Add complexity by requiring kids to do tricks as they jump.
Think of this game as reverse hide-and-seek. Whoever is “it” hides while the other players count, then try to find (and join) “it.” The last player outside the hiding spot is the new “it.”
This game seems simple enough—two bases, two soft balls and two “its.” The trick: run from one base to another without getting caught. (Get the full directions here.)
9. Four Square
The classic kickball game you play without kicking. Four large numbered squares and any of the rules you can come up with. Break a rule and you’re out, and the next player in line is in. This game is so classic, it has its own official website.
10. Red Rover
Red Rover, where you run headlong into a wall of peers, isn’t a game for the faint of heart. (Here is a video of a group of older students playing Red Rover.)
11. Charlie Over the Ocean
12. Cat and Mouse
The goal is for the cat to tag the mouse while they’re jumping rope in a figure eight. (Directions here.)
13. Mother May I
A good game for the bossy students in your class—students request to “take five steps forward” or “hop forward on one foot” and are granted permission (or not) by one student who calls the shots, until they get tagged. (Group Games has variations—bunny hop, etc.—that kids can request.)
14. Blind Man’s Bluff
If you can find a quiet, safe area and get permission to use blindfolds, this tag variation adds a new level of challenge when “it” has a blindfold on.
15. Button, Button, Who’s Got the Button?
Sitting in a circle, one student walks around the outside of the circle and deposits a button in someone’s hand. The trick is for whoever is “it” to hide the button in the circle, and for the kids to find it. (Games Kids Play has the rules, and variations.)
16. Doggy, Where’s Your Bone?
“It” gets three tries to guess who took an eraser (or object that stands in as the bone) from under his chair. (Here’s an example of young students playing the game with a little tune.)
Sounds ominous but it’s really fun! Where? Your classroom. How? A flick to the palm of the hand. (Read the full directions here.)