No matter where you are in the world, be it a bushy field in Africa, a back street in Naples, or a main road in Orlando, kids play the same sort of games. Playground games seem to be universal, which is an interesting development, since many of the various cultures across the world have never been in contact with each other prior to developing those games. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular ones.
Skipping is always a firm favourite, not in the least because you can play it alone or in entire groups. By yourself, you can challenge yourself to skip more, to twist the rope around you twice before your feet hit the floor again or even to skip backwards. With groups, there are tons of games that you can play involving two people spinning the rope. For added difficulty, you could have four people spinning two ropes and have more than one person jumping.
Give a child a ball and they will develop a game. This is why we have so many ball games in existence today. We have tennis, basketball, baseball, rounders, football, and so on. All of these games have been developed by kids playing on a playground with a ball and inventing rules as they go along.
Modern school playground designers such as Image Playgrounds are now incorporating various ball games into the outdoor play areas that they build for schools offering children a versatile and fun piece of playground equipment. Football is believed to have originated somewhere in Ancient Egypt. Children can develop balls out of absolutely anything. Those who are unable to get a hold of a good quality ball with make them out of rubber bands, pig bladders or anything else that they can use. The ball truly is universal.
Playing tig is another firm favourite that is played across international playgrounds. With tig, it is simply a case of chasing after each other and touching each other. Whoever gets touched is the next one who is “on”. Generally, these games also have a “den”, where people can stand and catch their breath and not get tigged. A variant of the famous tig game is to play “hide and tig”, which combines hide and seek with tig. If someone is found, they have to run towards the den. If they get tigged, they are next on.
Clapping Games and Playground Rhymes
There are various “clapping” games, where children clap their hands together in elaborate patterns whilst singing different songs to accompany the clapping. Generally, it is girls who engage in these games, but most boys actually now the movements and the words to the songs as well – they just don’t want to get caught! Interestingly, the lyrics of the songs are different all over the world, but the rhythms used are generally exactly the same, as are the actions. Some scientific research is being undertaken in this at present to see whether music is actually an international language.
Last but not least, there are a number of so called “freeze” games. The most common one is where children start at the end of a playground, with one child standing at the other side, with their back towards the rest of the children. The kids then have to run towards the other side, but as soon as that child turns around, they have to freeze. If they move, they have to start from the beginning again. Generally, these games are accompanied by sayings such as “one, two, three, SUNSHINE!”, to alert the children that the front one is going to turn around.
Although there are cultural differences in everything, including the games played by children, a playground should be a place where children have fun, play games, make new friends and develop important skills.