Thursday, May 22, 2014

We Like to Move It, Move It: Favorite Playground Games to Play at the Library

I like to include active elements all my children's programming, but especially in my after school programs for school age kids. By the time the programs roll around kids have been sitting in school a good majority of their day, and like this kid, they are ready to move.

In honor of National Backyard Games Week, we spent this month's ATLAS (At The Library After School) playing playground games. Here are some of my favorite games I've used in this program and others. Many of these games come from other countries and can be found in the book Multicultural Games by Lorraine Barbarash. Others have come from Games Kids Play.
  • Loo K'bah Zee (from Burma): To play this game all players stand in a circle with their hands behind their backs. One person is "It" and walks around the circle with a ball. They leave the ball in one of the other player's hands and that player has to try to escape the circle. Neighboring players try to stop the escape. If they successfully escape they are the next "It".
  • El Gato Y El Raton (The Cat and the Mouse, from Puerto Rico): One player is the mouse, another is the cat. The remaining players hold hands in a circle around the mouse. The goal of the cat is to get into the circle and catch the mouse. The players in the circle must stop the cat from ducking under or breaking the circle.
  • Catch Your Tail (from Nigeria): Each player has a partner and a handkerchief. One player of each pair tucks the handkerchief in the back of their pants. The partners hold onto each other by the shoulders and try to steal the other's handkerchiefs. The winner is the last pair that still has a handkerchief.
  • Boa Constrictor (from Ghana and Togo): A version of tag where the tagged players join with "It" to make a giant snake. The last free player wins.
  • Ladder Jump (from Australia): Two teams compete against each other to see who can jump the farthest. The first player of each team jumps, then the second must jump from where they land. The third jumps from where the second landed and so on. The team that jumps the farthest collectively wins.
  • Catch or Don't Catch: Players stand in a circle and must instruct other players to catch or ball or not to catch it.
  • Prisoner's Base: Kids divide into two teams and must try to rescue a team member held "prisoner" by the other team. The rescuer must avoid getting captured by the opposing team.
  • Freeze Tag: Had to include this one because it is a huge crowd-pleaser any time I've ever used it in a program.
Do you use playground games with kids? I'd love to hear any other suggestions you may have.

For more information about school age programming, check out the monthly blog hop Thrive Thursday for a schedule and ways to participate.

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