Outdoors in the Winter – Children’s Old Fashioned Games

Bring Back Play! What’s the value of play? Active play may be fun, but it’s certainly not frivolous. Play allows youth of all ages to try new things, test boundaries and use their imaginations. In addition to the physical health benefits, active play offers cognitive, emotional and social development benefits. It has been shown to improve and foster motor function, creativity, decision-making, problem-solving and social skills, and the ability to control emotions and preschoolers’ speech. And, it’s lots of fun! Unfortunately, 63% of Canadian kids’ school time and free time after school and on weekends is spent being sedentary. We need to get our kids moving, and we’ve got plenty of great ideas, tips and information on bringing more play into your children’s lives.

Outdoor Games

This game is played in the snow in a maze the children trample out. (See diagram.) One player is the fox. He chases the rest of the players. Everyone must stay in the paths. When he fox catches one of the geese, he puts him in the middle of the maze in the pen. The game is over when all the geese are in the pen.

This game is also played in the snow. One player is the fox and the others are the hounds. The fox makes a trail in the snow. The hounds must follow it to catch the fox. When he is caught he becomes a hound and another player the fox. The new fox can make another trail.

This is a skating game. Players form two teams, and make form lines on opposite sides of the ice rink. Teams take turns saying, Red Rover, Red Rover, Send “Billy” right over. On hearing his name the player skates to the other side and past the line of the other players. If he is successful, he takes a player back to his team, but if he fails, he must stay on that side. The team wins that gets all the members of the other team.

Make two equal circles in the snow, one inside of the other with one player in front of another all facing inside. Two players, the chaser and the runner, are outside the circle. The runner may weave in and out of the circle, with the chaser pursuing him. When he chooses to, the runner may stop in front of a player in the inner circle causing the second player directly behind him to be the runner. If the chaser tags the runner, they change places. This is a very fast moving game and all players must be alert, for they may become the runner at any time.

Players form a circle with mittened hands clasped. One player is the cat, another the mouse. The mouse runs around the circle chased by the cat. The other players keep their hands clasped and, at any time, will raise them to let the mouse dodge in or out, but they try to prevent the cat from getting through. When the mouse is caught, he chooses another player to be the next cat. The former cat becomes the mouse.

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