You are in: surefish > culture >
Date: 19 July, 2007
In a first for the online games column, Suzanne Elvidge goes online to show you what can be done outside, without a computer
As a bit of a diversion, this month we are looking at real games to play outside (provided it has stopped raining by the time this column is published…). Because of this, the disclaimer has been edited a bit!
All games are free downloads or free to view online, and need the minimum of equipment.
To play a game, simply click on its name. If you are a parent, we advise you to try the game and the site it's on first before letting your kids play them, to make sure you're happy. (And, don't forget, you can also find great games for kids in our own Global Gang area)
You need: two blankets, a ball and eight players
Divide your players into two teams of four, with each holding a corner of the blanket. Put a ball in the middle of one of the blankets – the aim is to use the blankets to throw and catch the ball. The site doesn’t give any instructions for scoring, so either try and decipher real volleyball scores or make them up!
You need: at least three players
This one can be played inside or outside depending on the weather, and is, quite frankly, very silly. Sit everyone in a circle, with one person in the middle as ‘it’. The people in the circle take it in turns to ask ‘it’ a question, who always has to answer ‘tomato’ (“What’s your name?” “Tomato.” See, I said it was silly. The first person to make ‘it’ laugh becomes the new ‘it’.
You need: a playground, pavement or driveway, a piece of chalk, a flat pebble and one or more players
Draw out a hopscotch (from ‘scratched line’) board of eight squares – three single squares, two side by side, one on its own, two side by side (or one of may other layouts).
Start by throwing the marker into the first square, and hop (single squares) or jump with both feet (double squares) to the end and back, stopping to pick up the pebble on the way back. Then throw the marker onto the second square and go again.
Your turn ends if you step on a line, miss a square, hop when you should jump, lose your balance or throw your marker onto the wrong square. Having the co-ordination of a baby fairy elephant, I could never do this (ditto skipping games, ditto ball and catch games, ditto running games…)
You need: a parachute and quite a lot of players
If you just happen to have a parachute… players stand in a circle, holding the edge of the parachute and waft it up into the air, arms at full stretch. The leader calls out a something like a birthday month or a kind of pet, and everyone who shares the birthday or has the pet runs under the parachute to swap places before it falls to earth.
You need: A long piece of elastic (somewhere around 3 metres by 5mm) tied into a loop and at least three players
The game starts with two players standing inside the elastic, stretching it out, and one player performing a sequence of jumps, starting with the left foot inside the elastic loop and right foot outside:
If the jumper succeeds, the elastic is lifted to knees (then thighs, waists and chests). If the jumper doesn’t manage all the jumps, the turn goes onto the next player. There are skipping rhymes you can chant during the game.
You need: probably five or more players
One player stands with his back to all the other players, who stand a distance away. The players call out, “What’s the time, Mr Wolf?” and Mr Wolf, keeping his or her back turned, replies with any time between 1 and 12. The players take that number of steps closer. The winner is the first player to touch Mr Wolf – however, at any time, Mr Wolf can reply “Time for dinner!” and chase the other players – whoever is caught becomes the new Mr Wolf. Grandma’s footsteps is a similar game
You need: marbles, at least two players
This is a marbles game, also known as ringer, and probably many other names too. The aim is to use your marble to knock your opponent’s marbles out of a circle.
You need: a ball, three players
A game that was specially designed for the torture of small sisters (sorry, am I giving too much away?), two players throw a ball to each other, with the player in the middle trying to catch the ball. If the middle player catches the ball, s/he swaps with the player who threw it.
You will need: a hula hoop (not a packet of hula hoops), one or more players
Not a game as such, more something to do outside. See how long you can hula hoop for, how many you can hula hoop, or how fast, or even how far you can run while hula hoping!
You need: More than three people
Also known as ‘Chase’, ‘Tig’ or ‘Catch’, there’s not much more to say– the aim is for ‘it’ to catch someone else, who then becomes ‘it’. There are masses of different versions, so there’s no excuse not to start now. You’re IT!