These are some games that were played in the 1940s and 50s at home, in school or visiting with neighbors.
1. Hide and Seek
One person is “It”. A place is chosen as home base. “It” closes his/her eyes at home base and counts up to whatever number the players decide before the game starts. The players all run and hide. After “It” has counted up to the decided number he shouts out, “Here I come, ready or not.” He/She then goes looking for the players. When “It” sees a player they both run to the home base. “It” tries to touch home base saying, “One, Two, Three, for (Name).” If “It” is able to do so before the player touches the home base the player is out. If the player reaches home base before “It” can say his bit, the player is safe. The game continues in this manner until all the players have been accounted for. The first player to be caught becomes “It” for the next round of the game.
2. Red Rover, Red Rover
The players are divided into two teams. Goal lines are imagined about 20 ft long and 50 ft apart. The players on each team, holding hands, line up on their team’s imaginary line. The two teams face each other. The leader from team one calls out to the other team, “Red Rover Red Rover send Viola right over.” Viola, from the second team, then tries to break through the other team’s line of holding hands anywhere she thinks she’ll be able to do so. If Viola breaks through the line she takes those two people back with her to her team line. If she doesn’t break through the line she becomes a player of the opposing team. The goal of the game is for one side to get all the players on its own side.
3. Mother May I?
One person is “It” and stands on an imaginary goal line about 20 ft long. Everybody else is a player. All these players stand on the starting line, another imaginary line, about 50 feet away. “It” and the players face each other from these imaginary lines. “It” calls out the name of a player telling him/her to take, for example, ‘three giant steps.’ That player needs to say, “Mother, May I?” before he or she takes those three giant steps. If the player fails to do so he goes back to the starting line. If the player asks the appropriate question he/she may take those steps. “It” continues to call on the players to take different kinds of steps (baby steps, scissor steps, backward steps, kangaroo steps, and any other kind of imaginable steps “It” can come up with). In the meantime players may try to sneak up on the goal. If “It” catches these players doing so he/she sends them back to the starting line. The first person to reach the goal line becomes the next “It” person.
4. Pump, Pump, Pull Away
Two 20 ft long imaginary lines are drawn about 50 ft apart. All the players line up on one or the other line. “It” stands between these two lines and calls out to both sides “Pump, Pump, Pull Away, Come Out Or I’ll Pull You Out.” Players from both sides try to race to the other side without getting caught by “It.” While the players are racing to the opposite side “It” tries to catch one of the players and taps him/her lightly three times on the back. If this player cannot get away before “It” has so tapped him, this player also becomes “It.” Now when the lead “It” calls out the same phrase the players again try to get safely to the other imaginary line. Both “It” people can catch these players and tap them three times gently on the back. Anyone caught becomes “It.” Sometimes a number of “It” persons will gang up on a person to catch him/her. The goal of the game is to be the last person caught. The last person caught becomes “It” for the next round of the game.
5. Steal the Sticks
Two 20 ft. long imaginary lines are drawn about 50 ft apart. About a yard’s distance in front of each of these lines are placed sticks, branches or some other objects. The players are divided up into two teams. Each team lines up facing each other on one of the imaginary lines. Each team will attempt to steal the other team’s sticks one at a time. The players last out from their goals are “freshest.” They can tag the players from the other team who are not as “fresh” while they are trying to steal the sticks. If a “less fresh” person is tagged before he/she gets a stick he/she becomes a member of the team that tagged him/her. If the player grabs a stick before he/she is tagged he/she is safe to take the stick back to his/her team’s pile of sticks. The goal is for the team to steal all the sticks of the other team.
6. Prisoner’s Base
Two 20 ft long imaginary home lines are drawn about 50 ft apart. About a yard’s distance in front of each of these lines is drawn an imaginary line 1 yd long. This is the prisoners’ base. The players are divided into two teams. They line up on these imaginary home lines facing each other. The game starts by players leaving their home lines and going out between the two home lines taunting each other to be tagged. The last person out from the home line is the “freshest” player so he/she is able to tag a “less fresh” player from the other team. Team players will try to “cover” each other by “freshening” themselves before going after an opponent player. When a player is tagged he becomes a prisoner on the other team’s prisoner base. The prisoner needs to stand on the prisoner base but may stretch out from it as far as he/she can in order for his/her rescuer to get to him. Now his team will try to rescue him/her before his/her team player is tagged by an opposing team player. If a rescue player manages to touch the prisoner before the rescuer is tagged the prisoner and the rescuer are free to go home without any interference. The goal of the game is to make all the players of the opposing team prisoners of one’s own team.
7. Too Late for Supper
All players form a circle holding hands except a two people who are “It”. This pair holding hands runs around outside the circle and taps the holding hands of two people. The tapped couple runs around the circle in the opposite direction trying to beat the “It” couple back to the empty space. Whoever is last in making it back to the open space first becomes the “It” couple.
8. Drop the Hanky
All players form a circle standing about a foot apart. One person is “It.” This player has some kind of object that drops easily, noiselessly, is safe and stays put. “It” walks around the outside of the circle and tries to quietly drop the object behind one of the players. This player grabs the object as quickly as he can. Other players can alert him/her to the drop. This chosen player chases “It” trying to tag him/her before he reaches the spot where the chosen player had been standing. If the chosen player becomes “It” if he can catch the original “It” before he gets to the designated spot.
9. Run Sheep Run
One player is the wolf. All the rest of the players except one are sheep. Some place is designated as their fence - their safe goal The one player who is not a sheep is the shepherd. . “The wolf” closes his/her eyes in his/her den - someplace other than the sheep’s fence. The shepherd gathers his sheep and gives them two signal words, e.g., barn & tractor. ‘Barn’ will mean the wolf is getting close. ‘Tractor’ will mean the wolf is far from his den. All the sheep run and hide in one place. When the sheep are hidden the shepherd describes to the wolf an approximate place of where the sheep are hiding but tries to deceive the wolf e.g. “They are under the bridge” when they may be hidden under a wagon. The wolf goes off to find the sheep while the shepherd calls out the prearranged signal words when the wolf gets close to them or far away from them. When the shepherd thinks the sheep could make it to the fence he yells, “ RUN SHEEP RUN!” The sheep then try to beat the wolf home to their fence. If anyone is caught by the wolf he/she becomes the next wolf.
10. Red Light, Green Light
In this game, one person plays the "stop light." All the rest of the players are cars. At the start, all the children form a line about 50 feet away from the stop light. The stop light faces away from the line of kids and says "green light". At this point the kids are allowed to move towards the stoplight. At any point, the stop light may say "red light!" and turn around. If any of the kids are caught moving after this has occurred, they are out of the game. Play resumes when the stop light turns back around and says "green light.” The stop light wins if all the kids are out before anyone is able to touch him/her. Otherwise, the first player to touch the stop light wins the game and earns the right to be "stop light" for the next game.
11. Button, Button Who’s Got the Button
Players sit in a circle. The “Giver” has a button between his two hands formed as in prayer. He/she goes around to each person in the circle whose hands are also as in prayer and pretends to drop it into everyone’s hands but actually drops it into one person’s hands. “Giver” calls out “Button, Button Who’s Got the Button ? to the “guesser” who is not sitting in the circle with the rest. The “guesser” get 3 guesses. If the “guesser” does not guess correctly the “Giver” chooses another “guesser” for the next round and the person who had the button becomes the “Giver.” If the “guesser” guesses correctly then he/she gets to be the “Giver” and chooses the “guesser” for the next round.
12. Fox & the Goose (in winter)
In the snow make a large circle by stomping down the snow. Cut the circle into pie-type pieces by making paths. Stomp a solid center in the middle of the circle where all the paths meet. “It” tries to tag a player by chasing him/her along the paths. When a player is tagged, he/she become “It” and the game continues.
13. Duck Duck Goose
All the players except "It" sits in a circle. “It” goes around the circle, tapping each one on the head and saying, "Duck" while tapping. At some point “It” taps one person's head, saying instead "Goose". That person chases “It” trying to tag him/her before “It” gets to the "Goose's” old spot. If “It” is tagged before getting to “Goose's” spot, he/she sits down in the circle. If “It” is not tagged in time he/she gets to be “It” for the next round.
14. Blind Man’s Bluff
Blindfold one player and spin him/her around 3 times. The players taunt the blindfolded player who tries to tag a player. When the blindfolded player tags one of the players he/she tries to guess who it it. If he/she guesses correctly than he/she continues to be the blindfolded player. If he/she does not guess correctly then the person who was tagged becomes the blindfolded player.
15. Ante- I- Over
A ball that can’t break windows and yet has enough weight that it can be thrown quite far is the best kind of ball to use in this game. The players divide into two teams. The teams take their places on either side of a small building with a two-sided slanted roof. One team throws the ball over the roof and calls out, “Ante I Over.” When the ball comes across the roof the other team tries to catch it. If it is caught the team will run around to the other side of the building and throw the ball at a player to claim him/her as their own player. If the ball is not caught by the team, a player throws the ball back over the roof while calling out, “Ante I Over.” The goal of the game is to capture the players from the opposing team.
16. Seven Up
This game is played with a tennis ball. If a player fouls out on one of the items he/she has to relinquish the ball to the next person. This is a game of several steps.
Onesies (not a baby's shirt/pant): The player throws the ball against the house has to catch it before it hits the ground.
Twosies: Throws the ball at the house, and claps his/her hands behind his/her back then catches without it hitting the ground.
Threesies: Throws the ball at the house, and claps his/her hands under a leg, then catches it without it hitting the ground.
Foursies: Throws the ball at the house, turns around, then catches it without it hitting the ground.
Fivesies: continued with similiar stunts, but when the stunts get more difficult the ball may hit the ground once.
Sixies: create your own stunt
Sevensies: create your own stunt
The goal is to complete all seven stunts in a set, without "dropping the ball" or "fouling out."
17. London Bridge
Two players become the bridge makers by joining their hands in an arch. Before the game starts each of these two players select some object for himself/herself, eg. Horse for one and sheep for the other. Then the players walk under the bridge as the “ London Bridge” song is sung. When the song comes to “my fair lady” the bridge builders drop their arms around the player who happens to be passing under the bridge. They take the person aside and ask him/her in a whisper which of the two objects he/she chooses. He/she then belongs to the bridge builder’s side whose object he/she chose. The goal of the game is for each builder to get as many players on his/her side.
18 Fruit Basket Upset
You have a minimum of 5 players. All except one, sit in a circle. The one person sits in the center of the circle. Each player in the circle picks– in his/her mind— a fruit name (short ones work best, Kiwi, pear, etc.). The person in the center of the circle starts the game by calling the names of two fruits. These two people try to exchange places. The person in the center then tries to “steal to” one of the spots where the two exchangers stood. The person who doesn’t get a spot sits in the center of the circle and becomes the fruit name caller.
19. Kick the Can
A can is put in the center of the "playing area.” The hunter closes his/her eyes while standing by the can and counts to 50 (or whatever # they decide works). While he/she is counting, the others hide. At the count of 50, the hunter goes hunting for the hiders. The hiders try to come out of their hiding spots and kick the can before the hunter sees them. The hunter has to try to hunt for the hiders and protect the can at the same time. It's a good game for a limited area.
20.. Crack the Whip
Everyone holds hands and the leader swings the line of people holding hands trying to disconnect the holding of hands by “cracking the whip.” The person who is disconnected from one other person is out of the game. Everybody in the game cracks the whip to get people out of the line.
All of the players are dispersed around the field except for the batter. He/she hits the ball into the field. The players try to get the ball while it is still in action. There are different points for each type of ball grasped while in action.
2 handed catch 1 handed catch
Grounder 25 pts 50 pts
1 bounce 75 pts 150 pts
Fly ball 100 pts 200 pts
The first person to reach 500 points becomes the next batter.