While you will be home with your children for an extended period of time this year, why not introduce them to some classic games you played when you were a kid?! Not only will it keep them busy for hours but you may find that it helps you relieve stress also!!
HIDE AND SEEK
Everyone has played this one. Most parents have played with their kids, since hiding and finding is a common interest of small children. I've heard of all kinds of variations on this game. Sometimes you count to twenty, sometimes ten, sometimes one hundred. Sometimes there is a home base that you can run to and tag, becoming "safe," sometimes you just wait to be found. The general idea is that one person is "it," that person closes his or her eyes and counts to a certain number without looking and then he or she tries to find the others. Number of Players: Ideally at least three. Equipment: None.
CAPTURE THE FLAG
This game is most fun when played with a large group. Split the group into two teams, each team having a flag or other marker at the team's base. The object of the game is to run into the other team's territory, capture their flag and make it safely back to your own territory. You can tag "enemy" players in your territory, sending them to your jail. They can be sprung from jail by a member of their own team running into your territory, tagging them and running back, with one freed person allowed per jail break. It is sometimes played that all the people in jail could hold hands and make a chain back toward their own territory, making it easier for members of their team to tag them. We also played a similar game called Steal the Sticks. It had almost the same rules, but several sticks were used instead of one flag. Number of Players: A large group. Equipment: Two flags or other markers.
Use some sidewalk chalk and make a hopscotch grid. Number the squares from one to nine. Pick a rock that is good for tossing. Small ones can bounce too much, and larger ones are hard to throw. Start by tossing the rock onto Square 1. Hop over the rock and hop with a single foot or both feet (to follow the hopscotch pattern) all the way to the end. Turn around and come back, stopping on Square 2. Balancing on one foot, pick up the rock in Square 1 and hop over Square 1 to the start. Continue this pattern with Square 2. And so on. If you toss your rock and miss the correct square, your turn is over. This game can be played with any number of people, but only one person can go at a time. If it's raining or dark or too cold, you can get indoor hopscotch mats or foam pieces, or just find a pattern on the floor to follow, perhaps using a beanbag instead of a rock. Number of Players: One at a time. Equipment: Hopscotch grid, rock or beanbag.
RED LIGHT, GREEN LIGHT
With enough room, this game can easily be played inside. One person is the traffic light at one end, and the other players are at the other end. When the traffic light faces the group, he or she says, "Red light!" and everyone must freeze. The traffic light then turns his or her back and says, "Green light!" while the group tries to get as close to the traffic light as possible. The traffic light turns around quickly, again saying, "Red light!", and if anyone is spotted moving, they have to go back to the starting place. The first person to tag the traffic light wins and gets to be the next traffic light. Number of Players: A small group. Equipment: None.
MOTHER, MAY I
This game is set up in the same way as Red Light Green Light. One person in the group asks the person in the front, "Mother, may I take steps forward?" The person at the front then says, "Yes, you may." or "No, you may not." You can vary your requests by including options such as taking baby steps, spinning steps, leaps or whatever strikes your fancy. Again, the first person to tag the person in the front wins and is the next person in the front. Number of Players: A small group. Equipment: None.
Divide everyone into two teams, each forming a long line, holding hands, facing the other team. The two teams should be around 20 or so feet apart. The teams take turn calling out, "Red Rover, Red Rover, let come over!" That child leaves their team's line, runs as fast as they can toward the other line and tries to break through the held hands. If they break through, they get to take someone back to their team. If they don't, they join the new team. When a team only has one person left, that person tries to break through the other team. If they do not, then their team loses. If they do, they gain a player and play continues. Number of Players: Any decent size group. Equipment: None.
BUTTON, BUTTON, WHO'S GOT THE BUTTON?
Played inside or outside, the group sits or stands in a circle and holds their hands together in front of them. One person takes the button and goes around the circle, pretending to put the button in someone else's hands. They actually deposit the button in one person's hands, but then continue the rest of the way around the circle, pretending to put it in everyone else's hands. Then going around the circle, each player tries to guess who has the button now. Before each person's guess, the group asks together, "Button, button, who's got the button?" Then the player can state their guess. Once the player with the button is finally guessed, that person distributes the button during the next round. Because a button is used in this game, be sure that all the kids playing are old enough so as to not choke on the button. In another version of this game (and the one that I am more familiar with), one child stands in the middle of the circle, and the button gets passed around the backs of the rest of the group. Those without the button pretend to pass it. When the passing stops, the player in the middle has to guess as to who actually has the button. Number of Players: Any size group. Equipment: A button.
In a circle, arrange chairs facing outward to total one fewer than the number of players. An additional player needs to be in charge of the music. When the music starts, the players walk around the chairs. When the music stops, players sit down in the nearest chair as soon as they can. The one player who does not have a chair is out. One of the chairs is then removed, and the game continues in this manner. The player that sits in the final chair is the winner. This game is traditionally played inside, but it can also be played outside with outdoor furniture and a portable music player. Number of Players: A small group. Equipment: Music player or person making music, chairs.
Choose one person to be in charge of the music. When the music starts, everyone else dances, the crazier the better. When the music stops, the dancers must freeze in their position. Anyone caught moving after that is out. Play continues until there is one person left, the winner. Number of Players: Any number. Equipment: Music player or person making music.
Information courtesy of: wired.com