List of traditional children's games

This is a list of games that used to be played by children, some of which are still being played today. Traditional children's games do not include commercial products such as board games but do include games which require props such as hopscotch or marbles (toys go in List of toys unless the toys are used in multiple games or the single game played is named after the toy; thus "jump rope" is a game, while "Jacob's ladder" is a toy). Despite being transmitted primarily through word of mouth due to not being considered suitable for academic study or adult attention, traditional games have, "not only failed to disappear but have also evolved over time into new versions."[1]

Traditional children's games are defined, "as those that are played informally with minimal equipment, that children learn by example from other children, and that can be played without reference to written rules. These games are usually played by children between the ages of 7 and 12, with some latitude on both ends of the age range."[2] "Children's traditional games (also called folk games) are those that are passed from child to child, generation to generation, informally by word of mouth," and most children's games include at least two of the following six features in different proportion: physical skill, strategy, chance, repetition of patterns, creativity, and vertigo.[3]

Tag games

Hiding games

Games with equipment

Jumping games

Memory games

Parlour games

Hand games

Other traditional children's games

See also


  1. This game may be considered inappropriate by some adults.


  1. Lindon, Jennie (2001). Understanding Children's Play, p.83. Nelson Thornes. ISBN 9780748739707.
  2. Sierra, Judy and Kaminski, Robert (1995). Children's Traditional Games, p.xii. Oryx. ISBN 0897749677.
  3. Sierra and Kaminski (1995), p.3.
  4. Gryski, Camilla (1998). Let's Play: Traditional Games of Childhood, p. 5. Kids Can. ISBN 1550744976.
  5. Sierra and Kaminski (1995), pp. v-vi.
  6. Gryski (1998), p.10-11.
  7. Gryski (1998), p.15.
  8. Newell, W. W. (2010). Games and Songs of American Children, p. 189. Nabu Press. ISBN 978-1-145-39322-6.
  9. Foster, Edna Abigail; ed. (1916). Something to Do,—Boys!: A Book for Wide-Awake Boys, p. 222. W. A. Wilde. [ISBN unspecified].
  10. Gryski (1998), p. 26.
  11. "Leapfrog", Accessed June 27, 2015.
  12. Gryski (1998), p.16.
  13. Jennifer Moore-Mallinos (15 December 2018). When Competition Goes Too Far. The Rosen Publishing Group, Inc. pp. 30–. ISBN 978-1-5383-9033-7.
  14. Schaefer, Charles E.; Reid, Steven E.; eds. (2004). Game Play: Therapeutic Use of Childhood Games, p.10. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 9780471437338.