Children's Games of Old

Children’s Games of Old

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Last weekend we went to a child’s party. It was actually being held in a sports hall. And there were all sorts of games and food and balloons, just as you may expect. But when one of the adults suggested playing the traditional party game of ‘musical chairs’ the children all reacted with a bit of a ‘meh’. It turned out they didn’t really know how to play. Which got me thinking of all the children’s games of old they’d probably turn their noses up at!

Children’s Games of Old


Children's Games of Old


A party wasn’t a party without musical chairs. But what other games have the young ones of today been missing out on? They would much rather play on their tablets and with electronic games that play the party games that we grew up with.

Pass The Parcel

I used to love pass the parcel. But these days you have to make sure that there is a prize in every layer or the kids don’t want to know. We never had to deal with that in the 70s and 80s. Plus, it wasn’t a game unless one of the layers was completely smothered in sellotape so nobody could open it!

Musical Statues

I don’t know any child that can stand still for a second, let alone the freeze action necessary for musical statues. Ditto Sleeping Lions.


I actually noticed that my daughter’s school playground has a hopscotch board painted out on it in lovely rainbow bright colours. But how many children actually know how to play it these days? Think it is more for decoration these days…

Games involving Dice

There were actually a lot of games that involved throwing a dice and having to throw a six before you could progress to the next task. No, not board games like Monopoly! One I will always remember is having to don gloves, a scarf and a hat before sitting and eating a bar of chocolate with a knife and fork. You relied on luck to get any further than putting your gloves on before some other lucky git threw a six too and you had to forfeit!

Games For Letting Your Mates Win

There was always the particularly harsh brand of games where whoever was in charge could just let their mates win all the time and thus ensure that their gang ran the game the whole of recess.

A particular favourite in the late 70s was a game I cannot remember the name of, but one person stood at one end of the playground whilst the other players asked to move a certain number of moves. These were allocated on the whim of the person running the game. They always let their mates have huge ‘lamppost steps’ (long strides) whilst giving those they didn’t want to win (i.e.-me) ‘fairy steps’ (tiny steps) thus ensuring only their mates ever won. Strange why we all joined in really, but thus is the nature of the playground.

The Games That Were Always Banned

Which leads me finally on to that particular breed of children’s games of old – the one that got banned.

You’ll know the one. It was too rough, too dangerous (yes, that even happened occasionally in the 70s!) There was always one that had the urban myth about the time Bobby Smith broke his jaw playing it. The kids loved them, and played them exuberantly. Until the teachers found out and they were promptly prohibited.

Bulldog was the one that I do recall getting banned in the first week the teachers found out about it.

Maybe I should organise a revival.

Can you remember any games from your youth that were loved? Were you the rebellious type who liked the banned games? Do get in touch. Give us a comment, or find me on social media.


Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday


  1. Lucy Zelazowski says:

    Yes, I love these old games. I think as adults we should play them. Musical Statues used to be so much fun. Lucy Zelazowski – @londonbirdlucy

    1. Margaret Gallagher says:

      Cant beat the oldies – hopscotch is always a winner here

      1. says:

        I remember playing elastic twist with a long length of elastic in the school playground and I loved playing jacks

        1. Margaret Gallagher says:

          Yeah these are always the best – hopscotch is my favourite

    2. says:

      Used to love all these . I remember playing elastic twist and Jack’s in the school playground

  2. Lyndsey cooksey says:

    Aww takes me back to my childhood reading these! Yes! Organise a revival!

  3. Michael Fisher says:

    Happy memories

    1. Maria says:

      used to love pass the parcel, always hated that one kid who would hold onto the parcel for too long lol

  4. Carly Belsey says:

    I love all the old games, they really need to come back when we are out of this madness and can hold parties again

  5. says:

    Bulldog was always on the banned list. It was great fun though! #KCACOLS

    1. Louise craney says:

      Oh i need them i want 2 play

  6. says:

    lovely list! I remember sleeping lions! That would be a good one for my boy – just to get him to be quiet for five mins!
    Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next time!

  7. says:

    I loved some of these games. And definitely remember Bulldog being banned! #KCACOLS

  8. says:

    Oh my goodness. These are my childhood! #kcacols

  9. sharon martin says:

    happy memories, love the simple older games

  10. sandy ralph says:

    oh the old games are the best i still love them

  11. says:

    My daughters love Musical Statues and Pass the Parcel. We played them a month ago for my daughter’s sixth birthday. And because of the lockdown it was just me, her dad and her sisters but they still had a great time. You can’t beat the old ones!! #KCACOLS

  12. says:

    Blimey this takes me back, many happy memories X #kcacols

  13. says:

    Great games. We have lay these with our children still.

  14. A S,Edinburgh says:

    This takes me back! I always liked jacks.

  15. Katrina Adams says:

    Aw this post made me reminisce! Loved playing a game of pass the parcel, but loved bulldog and curbie as well!

  16. Pippa Ainsworth says:

    I remember all of these, my children still play a lot of them.

  17. Laura says:

    Gosh, I remember these games! Takes me back to my childhood, good times!

  18. ashleigh allan says:

    Great memories – I remember bulldog being banned too!

  19. justine meyer says:

    Loving the old games all able to be played and enjoyed for a few pennies

  20. Hekna says:

    I loved these games as a child. During lockdown I put together some simple games for my 5 year old for Halloween – pin the spider on the web and a mini ‘toss the ball in the cupcake case’. Both based on games I played as a kid, and my little one absolutely loved it. We played them for days after!

  21. Ellen Stafford says:

    Love these. My favourite game to play as a kid was marbles. I had such a great collection that I was so proud of!

  22. sherri Hough says:

    The older games will always be the best. I used to love playing hopscotch

  23. Charlotte isobelle says:

    Hopscotch was great at school, I always loves curby too!

  24. Lea says:

    Classics ❤️❤️

  25. BERNIE says:

    I remember playing Jack straws as a kid

  26. Lorna Quarmby says:

    Bulldog in the school playground was the best. Surprised we didn’t have more injuries though!

  27. claire woods says:

    Still love these old games. It is a shame when children get too old to play them anymore!

  28. Kerri copeland says:


  29. Leila Benhamida says:

    😀 Live the musical statue. He has been years since we play some of them. Great post.

  30. Jo m welsh says:

    Some great games listed here I also remember we had loads of skipping rope rhymes (can’t remember them now) but kids don’t seem to skip as much , my girls learnt but it’s not something they would do for that long .

  31. Sheena Batey says:

    I had such uncomplicated fun when I was a child hope it is the same today but fear it is much too complicated being a child now

  32. Theresa Thomas says:

    We used to play PEGS when we were kids, great memories

  33. Alex Vaughan says:

    I always remember playing ‘Red Rover’ in the school playground.

  34. Rebecca Nisbet says:

    Awww I love pass the parcel, when you hold on to it a bit longer than you need too, in hope that the music will stop!

  35. Louise Reeks says:

    Great classic games, hours of fun

  36. Kelly Cooper says:

    We used to play musical chairs at party’s as well.

  37. Mandy Doherty says:

    Jacks was a game I loved playing many years ago, still get to play hopscotch as my grandchildren like a game of it

  38. Nadia Josephine says:

    I challenge anyone to resist a hopscotch drawn on the pavement! I always have to jump it!

  39. Nigel Soper says:

    Bulldog can be great, and most children love it, but care must be taken to quieten those who are tempted towards too much aggression and care must be taken to ensure all enjoy the game and none feel left out.

  40. kim white says:

    Chinese jump rope was always fun

  41. Emma England says:

    Yes! Bulldog was always banned and there were always story’s about the kid that got hurt! That being said, it was my favourite game.

  42. James Travis says:

    Great memories of childhood here for me

  43. judy kennedy says:

    We still do pass the parcel, it was one of my favs and still is as well as pin the donkey

  44. Zoe Brown says:

    loved hopscotch

  45. CLAIRE W says:

    These are great! I used to love playing curby!

  46. sharon martin says:

    some fab games, simple but fun

  47. YOLANDA DAVIS says:

    I’m old enough to have played all of them.

  48. Fiona jk42 says:

    We used to do “French skipping” which you play with a large loop of elastic held taut round the legs of 2 kids about 6 feet apart. You have to do various moves that result in different patterns, without falling over.

  49. Teresa Sheldon says:

    Pin the tail on the donkey loved that game such fun

  50. says:

    We always used to play pass the parcel at my daughter’s birthday parties and I used to love the chocolate eating game with the gloves!
    Musical bumps, musical statues and musical islands were also fun too :o)


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