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Traditional Games for Children


Are Traditional Children’s Games Dying Out? Only if We Let them!

Most people forty or older remember a childhood playing traditional games like “Red Rover, Red Rover” or “Mother May I?” in the playground or even the classroom, as our teachers would often use these games in teaching.

Some of these involved singing or rhymes – especially jump rope games, many had historic basis like “London Bridge is Falling Down.”

They were active and prompted imagination and most kids love them. Most can and have been played in the street and in backyards – but a great deal of them like jacks transport easily inside.

They are at danger of being lost – especially with the advent of video games. Let’s remember those traditional children’s games together – they are part of childhood that needs to be nurtured.

The Secret History of Nursery Rhymes – Interesting History Behind Children’s Games

The Secret History of Nursery RhymesThe Secret History of Nursery Rhymes

Many children’s games refer to adult matters: politics, intrigue, murders, famine and disease.

Learning the hidden symbols and stories behind the children’s games is fascinating.

Fascinating history about how children’s games have come about as children attempt to deal with the world around them – some of which can be very difficult.

Traditional Games are Played Worldwide

World Renown Child Psychologist thought That Play was Essential – Bruno Bettleheim on Learning Fairytales and Play

Some traditional children’s games – like traditional fairy tales are dark and discuss terrifying material. Play is the work of childhood.

Bruno Bettleheim believed that children needed fairytales – many which have sparked traditional children’s games -to work out the deep psychological tasks of childhood.

The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy TalesThe Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales

Traditional Children’s Games Have many Benefits

Although traditional children’s games may have originated hundreds of years ago – they still stimulate the interest, intelligence and creativity of modern children.

Childhood Games are a Part of Children’s Street Culture the World Over – From the Pinata to Piggly Wiggly

One of my favorite memories as a child is making a pinata out of a balloon, covering it with papier mache and breaking it open -to a mad scramble for all sorts of great treats!
Play is important in children’s lives and there are many wonderful games that they play. When you start playing children’s games, you can be assured that there are children playing similar games all through the world.

Here are some children making a pinata in California in the 1960’s.

How to Make an Animal Pinata for Your Family

I have had a lot of fun with paper mache over the years, I hope you enjoy the idea of making this pinata.

Some Traditional Children’s Game that are Useful even Now

These collections of classic children’s games will delight your child, as well as helping them with their manual skills and attention. As American as apple-pie – these marbles in the handy case are true winners for all ages of kids. Includes an instruction book. Another classic toy – jacks. Jacks and balls are great for helping with manual dexterity and concentration. An instruction book is included that discusses the history of jacks. And the horseshoes are great for outdoor play and great for summer as it is made of rubber horseshoes.

Channel Craft Jumbo Jacks in a Classic Toy Tin and Marbles in a Toy Tin Game BundleChannel Craft Jumbo Jacks in a Classic Toy Tin and Marbles in a Toy Tin Game BundleDominoes and Marbles in Nostalgic Tins by Channel Craft - Birthday, Fathers Day, Get Well, Travel, College Student GiftDominoes and Marbles in Nostalgic Tins by Channel Craft – Birthday, Fathers Day, Get Well, Travel, College Student GiftChampion Sports Classic Playground Equipment (IHS1)Champion Sports Classic Playground Equipment (IHS1)

Traditional Children’s Games can Bind us to History

Here we see the interesting historical context of many of our traditional children’s games.

Remember, Remember – Black Event in Britain’s History celebrated through A Children’s Game

Remember remember the fifth of November

Gunpowder, treason and plot.

I see no reason why gunpowder, treason

Should ever be forgot…

Guy Fawkes Day is a strange British celebration of a dramatic day in British history. In the late 1600’s Guy Fawkes was one of the biggest “traitors” in British history, he attempted to overthrow the King and re-install Catholic rulers through the Gunpowder Plot where they were planning to literally blow up the House of Lords.

He was dealt with quite cruelly, as in keeping with the time where torture was the rule not the exception. He leapt from the scaffold where he was to be hung so that he had a quick death.

His was a dramatic and hideous story, and yet through the softening of time Guy Fawkes Day – held every November 5. has become a holiday where people – including children, make large effigies of Guy Fawkes, the Pope or even political figures of the time who are under attack like Margaret Thatcher. The figures will be made from old clothes, newspapers and a mask. They will be set fire in a bonfire, and watching the bonfires light up in Britain is a celebration, accompanied with fireworks.

Traditionally children have been allowed to get money from those who pass by, asking for:

. ” A penny for the guy”

Note that the common English use of the word “guy” originated here, first meaning a man that was straggly, with a pejorative context, now meaning any man.

Let’s Keep Traditional Children’s Games Going!

Gameboys, computers and TV’s are great – but there has to be a place for traditional children’s games.


Leave a Comment


  1. Sara0129

    Thank you for sharing this. I am from East Africa and just as shown in the video, these children are very creative. They will use whatever is available to make their toys and just enjoy their lives. Growing up we would always play outdoors and not having our parents worry about us. Enjoyed this article.

  2. Indeed, it is important for our children and grandchildren to at least know how to play these games and a little about their history!

  3. What a great read. Thank you for all the information on Traditional Children’s Games.

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Meet The Author


Gypzeerose - aka Rose Jones - is a Mom, nerdy, fun loving traveller through life, currently living in the East Bay in the San Francisco Area.

She loves to write and blog, and has aspirations towards fiction.

She can be found ferociously packing boxes and packages as an eBay seller at http://stores.ebay.com/Gypzeeroses-Bargains-and-Treasures

In her spare time she is a nurse. :)

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