Sometimes the allure of hundreds of TV channels, video games, and iPads can prove too strong for children, and too easy for parents, who see their kids sitting quietly and letting them get on with other things.

But such solitary and sedentary persuits do little for the child, and also little for the parent child relationship. As a parent, you should think about what you were doing when you were your childs age.  What do you have fond memories of playing with your parents, or your friends.

You will think of the usual range of sports and activities, but inevitably your mind will also turn to at least one or two traditional games that parents have passed onto children for generations.

No matter how the world evolves and technology develops, the appeal of such games endures from generation to generation. A 2012 study by the collectors card company Topps Match Attax showed that such traditional games are still the most popular amongst children in the playground and beyond.

Sadly in this day and age, there is an increasing assumption that children will find many such games silly and pointless, and far less fun than their smartphone.

But the advice of is… give it a try. We are pretty confident you will be pleasantly surpirsed by how much fun your child, and you have along the way…

To help bring back those childhood memories, we have compiled a list of some of the most popular traditional childhood playground games you might want to give a try:

·       Conkers: Quite simply each child finds a conker which they think looks like the strongest they can find. With the help of Mum or Dad they make a hole in the conker and tie a piece of string through it. Then they take it in turns to hit each others conker with theirs until the last conker not to break is the winner. Many parents will have find memories of the ‘19er’ or ‘27er’ (the number of undefeated bouts a conker has survivied) as well as no doubt a few tricks of the trade (cheats) to improve your chances. Soaking in vinegar and baking in the over are two that leap to mind.

·       What’s the time, Mr Wolf?: One player is chosen to be Mr. Wolf and stands facing away from the other players at the opposite end of the playing field. Everyone else apart from Mr. Wolf chant in unison "What's the time, Mr. Wolf?", and Mr. Wolf will answer in one of two ways:

Either Mr. Wolf may call a time - usually an hour ending in "o'clock". The other players take that many steps towards Mr. Wolf. They then ask the question again. Or Mr. Wolf calls "Dinner time!", and turns and chases the other players back to the start line. If Mr. Wolf catches anyone, they becomes Mr. Wolf for the next round.

·       Skipping: A fun pursuit for little girls (or boys I guess) either on your own or with friends. All parents have to do is purchase an inexpensive skipping rope. All the child has to do is practice and enjoy. Anyone can skip in a few minutes, on their own and there are various tricks you can master too. Synchronising with friends is always fun as it having two friends holding the rope and swinging it for you. Great exercise too.

·       Hopscotch: Simply get some chalk, draw the grid on the footpath or your driveway, and you are away. If they think it sounds boring, tell them Roman soldiers used to play to test their strength and balance. A true tale that might even get the boys having a go. For variety there are a number of different types of grid that can be used. Here, modern technology can play a role, as google will be able to give you numerous different designs.

·       Simon Says: A game for three or more players. One player is Simon and gives instructions to the others. Instructions might be such things as ‘touch your toes’, or ‘do a handstand’. However the others players should only do the instruction is it is prefaced by ‘Simon says…’ (e.g. ‘Simon says touch your toes.’) The winner is the last player to follow all the instructions corerctly.

·       Oranges and Lemons: Two children form an arch, and decide secretly which one of them is the orange and which the lemon. The other children, all singing 'Oranges and Lemons', go under the arch and the two forming the arch raise their arms up and down. When the song gets to 'here comes a chopper to chop off his head' in the last verse, whoever is under the arch gets caught. This child chooses to stand behind either the orange or lemon, and when all of them have been caught in this way, the two sides see which of them can pull the arch apart.

·       Hide and Seek: A timeless classic which can be played inside or outside, so perfect for those rainy days. A minimum of two players are needed. One is the seeker and covers their eyes whilst counting to 100. The other plays then have to hide somewhere in the house (or garden, or wherever the game is being played). Many happy hours can be spent in hiding, or trying to think where your friends (or parents) might be.

·       Freeze Tag: A game of tag with a difference. Players who are tagged are ‘frozen’ and must stand where they were tagged with their arms stretched out until they are unfrozen. TO be unfrozen, another player must perform an agreed action, such as tagging them, crawling between their legs, or ‘high fiving’ them without being caught themselves.

·       Blind Mans Buff: Blind man’s buff is played in a spacious area, such as outdoors or in a large room, in which one player, designated as “It”, is blindfolded and gropes around attempting to touch the other players without being able to see them, while the other players scatter and try to avoid the person who is “it”, hiding in plain sight and sometimes teasing them to make them change direction.

And one game that is banned in most schools now, but kids still love as much if not more than any other:

·       British Bulldog: Most commonly one or two players (although there can be more when playing in a bigger space with more people) are selected to play the parts of the “bulldogs”.


The bulldogs stand in the middle of the play area. All remaining players stand at one end of the area (home). The aim of the game is to run from one end to the other, without being caught by the bulldogs. When a player is caught, they become a bulldog themselves. The winner is the last player or players ‘free’.