Children need regular physical exercise, which is why playing outdoors is so important. It bolsters a range of skills, from motor coordination to cognitive thinking. The key is to pick games that are not only fun, but also a bit challenging. That’s where primary school playground games come in. From ‘Jumping Beans’ to ‘Noughts and Crosses’, these child-friendly activities are designed to hone a range of different abilities.
Tug of War
Tug of war is a classic playground game, which can be played in pairs or as teams. The object is to pull the opposing team across a line in the middle of the playing area. This is a great way to encourage competition and help kids improve their reaction times. It also teaches them to work together as a team.
Relay races are a great way for children to build teamwork, and a hula hoop relay is the perfect solution. Line students up in teams of two or three, and have them hold hands. Then, pass the hula hoop down the line without it breaking. This is a difficult task that requires patience and communication. It also helps students improve their balance.
Jumping rope and Double Dutch are two more great playground games that can be enjoyed by groups of students. Having one person or a group turn the ropes and others jumping can be a good workout for the legs, arms and core. The more people who jump, the more coordination skills are developed.
Another popular outdoor playground game is four square, which can be easily set up with a chalked playground marking. The ground or pavement is divided into four, five-foot squares and each is numbered clockwise from one to four. Players in square one start the game by hitting a rubber playground ball to the next player, who must catch it after only one bounce. If a player misses the ball, serves it incorrectly or moves out of the square, they are out of the game. The remaining players move up to the highest square and the new player starts at square number four.
Other Playground Games
The classic hide-and-seek game is a classic playground activity for kids of all ages. 44 Home is an especially fun variation of this game, in which a single person counts while the others hide around the playground. Once the player finishes counting, they yell “44 home” and try to find everyone before they are caught.
Other playground games that can be used for healthy competition include red light, green light, and limbo. Each of these games has a similar stop-and-go action to musical chairs, except that the players must freeze when “Red light!” is called and only move when it is “Green light.” This game can require several players to act as police to catch anyone who is still moving when music or vocal commands stop.
If you want to try something more active, try a game of leap frogging. Have your students form a long chain, with one person in the middle. Then have them get on their hands and knees and leap frogging over the other players to the end of the field. This is a challenge that can be made even more difficult by adding obstacles like cones or other pieces of equipment.