Everyone seems to be jumping on the retro bandwagon these days, but kids just love a great game regardless of whether it’s fashionable or not. Active games like bulldog or learning how to play marbles are fun ways to keep them fully absorbed. They also make your life easier as you don’t have to worry about the pitfalls associated with lots of time spent online!
Here are some fun ideas that will keep them occupied for hours…
- Bulldog – you don’t need any equipment for this game, and it will burn off tonnes of excess energy! One person is the ‘bulldog’ and stands in the middle of your garden/ marked square/ church hall. Everyone else lines up along one side, and has to race past the ‘bulldog’ without getting caught. Anyone who is caught stands in the middle and joins the ‘bulldog’ in catching people, until there’s only one runner left.
- Marbles – these are inexpensive and versatile, and bring the word ‘retro’ to a whole new level: marbles were being played by Ancient Egyptian kids, as far back as 4000BC. You may find your kids just marvelling over the colours and swirls of their favourites, but there are lots of variations on how to play marbles. A simple game is to outline a circle on the floor with string, putting around 5 marbles in the centre. Roll another marble towards the ring, trying to knock out as many of the original marbles as possible. You can find a more detailed description on how to play marbles here.
- Roller skating – it’s an increasingly popular retro pastime for adults, but kids also love a good roller disco. It’s a great active option that’s social and good for balance, and they’ll be completely engrossed in working on their moves (learning to stop is always a challenge). A group trip to the local roller disco also makes for an easy party. They can dress up in their smartest ‘50s frocks and jeans, and nibble on retro party food like jelly and ice cream, to refuel after all of the skating.
- What’s the time Mr Wolf? – a noisy, fun game kids can easily run themselves, leaving the adults to have a quiet cup of tea. It’s very simple: one kid is the wolf, and stands with their back to a wall. Everyone else lines up about 10 feet away, and asks “What’s the time Mr Wolf?” The ‘wolf’ turns around and replies with a time, like “It’s four o’clock,” which means everyone else advances four steps. At any point, the ‘wolf’ can reply, “It’s diner time!” which is a cue for everyone to run away shrieking as the ‘wolf’ tries to catch someone.
- Cat’s cradle – a good activity for a rainy day, this can develop into an addiction as kids try to work out new ways to tangle their (and often your) hands up with string. All you need is a piece of string with the ends tied together to make a circle. Advance from cat’s cradle to the Eiffel Tower or Jacob’s Ladder!