Taking Playtime Back to Old School

by Renee Hunte, MA, CCLS,
Arkansas Children's Hospital

Do you ever wonder what children played before Xbox 360, Playstation, Samsung tablet and iPad apps? Sure we all remember, since this technology is still fairly new and our childhoods weren't all that long ago.

Use your memories and a sense of nostalgia to engage your kids during playtime. These "old school" games are sure to be a winner with your favorite little ones:

Freeze Tag

One child is the "tagger". The other children will run around in a designated area while the "tagger" tries to freeze the other children. Once you are tagged, you have to stay "frozen" in place until another child touches you to un-freeze you. Have children take turns being the "tagger."

Jump Rope

  • Count for 60 seconds and see how many jumps each child can complete in that time. Allow the children to rotate turns being the "counter" and the "jumper."
  • Have one child stand at the "finish line" and the others race while jumping rope to see who gets to the finish line first. Allow the children to rotate being the "finish line" person.
  • Two children both hold an end of the jump rope and twirl the rope while one child jumps in the middle of the rope. Have the two children twirling the rope sing their
    favorite song. Allow children to take turns being the "jumper" until everyone has
    a turn.

Mural Drawing

Have the children draw a picture on the family's iPad or tablet; then print the picture. Let them use sidewalk chalk to duplicate the iPad/tablet drawing on the sidewalk. Sidewalk chalk can be purchased at most retail stores.

Sidewalk Tic-Tac-Toe

Have children draw a giant Tic-Tac-Toe board on the sidewalk with sidewalk chalk. Challenge them to search the area for small stones or twigs. Use the small stones or twigs as the game pieces to play Tic-Tac-Toe.

Mother, May I?

Pick one child to be the "finish line" and have the other children line up at the "starting line" at least 10 to 15 feet from the finish line. The "finish line" person will tell each child to perform different actions. For example, hop forward five times on one foot. The child at the start line will need to ask, "Mother, may I?" before doing the action. The "finish line" can reply with "yes" or "no." If the child forgets to say, "Mother may I?" – the child must go back to the starting line and wait until their next turn. The first child to reach the finish line is the winner. Allow each child to have a turn being the "finish line."