Get the kids outside with these classic games

Remember the good old days when you played outside as a kid and only came inside for lunch and, when the sun set, for dinner. Get your kids outside and play some of the games you enjoyed as a kid, like these classics.

Kick the can

  • One person or a team of people are designated as “it” and a can is placed in the middle of the playing area.
  • The other people run off and hide while the “it” covers his or her eyes and counts to a certain number.
  • “It” then tries to find everyone.
  • If a person is tagged by “it”, they go into a holding pen for captured players.
  • If one of the un-captured players manages to kick the can, the captured players are released.
  • The game is over once all the non- “it” players are in the holding pen.

Capture the flag

  • 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 whereby all the people in jail hold hands and make a chain back toward their own territory, making it easier for members of their team to tag them.

Stepping sticks

  • This game requires eight to twelve sticks, each about 50cm long. You need some clear yard space too. The sticks can be from a tree, or wood off-cuts. Some people make them from dowel or other timber and paint them their favourite colour.
  • The sticks are set square to the player and spaced at least one metre apart from each other, perpendicular to the player.
  • The players take it in turns from a running start to step between each stick, without touching a stick or taking more than one step between sticks.
  • As each player completes their run successfully, a stick is taken from the track and placed as the last stick at whatever distance the players agree.
  • This creates a larger gap between sticks that continues to increase as the game progresses.
  • The winner is the last person to successfully step between all sticks without touching one or stepping more than once. 

Handball

  • You just need a tennis or rubber ball and a relatively flat area of concrete, usually a driveway, to play this game. It’s best played with four or more players.
  • Use chalk to draw a large square divided into four even quarters.
  • One player serves the ball by bouncing it from their square into another player’s square.
  • The receiving player returns the ball by hitting it on the full into the ground and into any other square on the first bounce.
  • A player loses the point, if when hitting the ball, they hit it after it bounces, or hit it out of their square the full, or when receiving the ball, they let the ball bounce more than once inside their square.
  • The person who wins the point serves the next point.
  • If you have more than four players, you can rotate each point with the loser leaving the square and the next player joining the game.