Games for Children Four and Older
In this version, IT shouts out something the other players have to touch to make them “safe” from tagging (tree bark, for example). Only one person can be safe at one place at a time and can call out “safe” to show they are touching something suitable. If you are not “safe” you can be tagged and become IT.
Freeze tag/ Stuck in the Mud
When IT touches someone, that person has to freeze and stand with his feet apart. The only way to unfreeze is to have another player crawl between their legs. Play continues until all players are frozen and the last person to be frozen is IT in the next game; or the first person to be frozen three times becomes IT.
Hide and Seek
One child is IT and has to count to 20 (or number chosen) while the others hide. The seekers then says “ready or not, here I come!) and hurries to find everyone. If he sees a hider he has to shout out her name and where she is hiding, and then the two race each other back to “base.” If the seeker reaches base first, the hider becomes IT. If the hider gets to base first, she is safe and can either wait at base for the others to be found or help seek them.
In another version, once someone is caught he “goes to jail” and can only be freed by another hider while the seeker is not looking.
In this version of Hide and Seek, only one person goes off to hide. The others count to an agreed upon number and then split up to find the hider. When someone finds the hider, he or she joins in the hiding spot. As more seekers find the hiding place, it gets more cramped. The game usually ends when the hiders give themselves away, rather than the last seeker finding them!
Everyone is IT
In this game all the players run around trying to tag each other and the last person not tagged it the winner.
Games for Children Five and Older
In this traditional game, someone says “I spy with my little eye something beginning with…” and chooses the first letter of the object they want the others to guess. Play continues until another player guesses the identity of the object or gives up.
Blind Man’s Bluff
Blindfold one player and spin him around three times. The blindfolded player then tries to tag one of the other players who tease the “blind man” to let him know where they are. Whomever is tagged becomes the blind man.
Capture the Flag
Two teams, each with a flag, has five minutes to hide their flag in a pre-designated area of the yard or fort. When the flags are hidden, the teams meet in the middle and then go look for the other team’s flag. If a player is caught by a member of the opposite team he has to go to “jail” and can only be freed by a teammate when the other team is not looking. The first team to capture the flag wins.
This is a game adults still play! Each player writes the name of a celebrity (fictional characters optional) onto a piece of paper and it’s placed into a hat. The papers with the names are then mixed together and then each player chooses one without reading it. This piece of paper is stuck to the forehead (usually with spit!) for everyone else to see, and players take taking turns asking questions to guess who they are. Only one question per turn is allowed and the first person to guess his or her identity correctly wins.
Kick the Can
This is a great hide and seek/tag game. The person who is IT stands by the can (or bucket or whatever kids have at the time), closes his eyes and counts while the players hide. Then he has to run all over the neighborhood to find everyone. Once a player is found, he and IT race to the can, and the found person tries to kick the can before IT tags him.
In this popular water game, one person is IT and has to keep her eyes closed while trying to tag the other players swimming around. IT calls out “Marco” to which the others reply “Polo” for her to gauge where in the pool they are. If IT suspects someone is out of the water she can call “fish out of water,” and if she is right, that person becomes IT, otherwise play continues until a player is tagged.
Water Balloon Toss
Two players toss a water-filled balloon to each other, and every time they catch it they have to take a step back so the distance between them lengthens. Eventually one of them will miss and will probably be splashed when the balloon bursts.