Ask your friends what they used to play in the 80’s and their faces will light up and an immediate discussion will be ignited. Except, of course, for your young friends, who will delight in announcing, “I wasn’t even born then!” Well, jog on, young one, you have no idea what you have missed out on.
The 80’s was a time of playing outside and having fun with friends. Here are just some of the games we used to play. See if your favourites are included and let us know!
No electronics were required for this simple street game. All you needed was a ball and a friend. Players had to stand on opposite sides of the road – there was less traffic back then! They then aimed the ball at the opponent’s kerb with the hope of it hitting the kerb, bouncing back and catching it. If the player missed the kerb they received no points for their turn. Children would play this for hours, making up their own point scoring system as they went along.
This has become controversial recently as some schools have banned it for being too dangerous! However, 80’s kids were hard as nails and we managed to play tigs and survive to tell the story. A simple game of chasing your friends, tagging them with a swipe of the hand and shouting, “Tig!You’re on.” The player who was caught then had to take their turn in catching the other players. Did you play tig and survive to tell the story?
Who didn’t love a pair of roller skates? Many people, it turns out. Some of us loved it and some of us hated it, mostly depending on our sporting abilities. Skating is now making something of a comeback and kids today can be seen out and about in roller skates far more sophisticated than ours.
We played this in Junior school, usually initiated by confident boys. The boys would count to ten and then chase the girls, catching them and kissing them. This was my least favourite game ever as no matter how slowly I ran, nobody ever caught me. A fun game for the popular girls, I imagine. Do kids still play this? My children had never heard of it when I asked them.
Pitch and Toss
There is a bit of debate about whether this is the correct name as others referred to it as Pigeon Toss, Pitching Pennies or Jingles. Players choose a place to aim, normally a wall, and whoever throws their coin the closest to the mark wins that round.
British Bull Dog
This was a firm favourite at primary school. The Bull dogs stood in the middle of the field and the other players stood on ‘home.’ The players had to run from one side of the field or playground to the other without being caught by a bull dog. If they were caught they became bull dogs too. As with tigs, some schools now consider this contact game too rough and it is not allowed.
Stuck in the Mud
Most children have played this at one time or another. A player is ‘on’ and has to tag other players who are then ‘stuck in the mud.’ That player has to stand still until another player frees them by crawling through their legs. However, if you touch their legs while crawling through, you too become stuck in the mud! Often PE teachers would resort to this game when they hadn’t planned ahead for their lessons.
My 9 year old daughter has just been given elastics for her birthday and it brought lots of memories flooding back. This game was particularly popular with girls back in the day, while games tend to span both sexes now. Two people stand in the elastic band, stretching it out so other players can jump over it. One of the most popular rhymes we used was, “England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales. Inside, Outside, Inside, Tails.” Did you have any other versions of elastics rhymes? Let us know in the comments below.
I grew up thinking my brothers had invented this game. It turns out, from discussion with friends, that loads of us used to play this! Find a wall, get a ball and take turns kicking the ball off the wall. Whoever misses the wall, loses. We used to play this for hours and were lucky enough to have a long, brick wall along our garage. Where did you find to play?
This was a regular component of playground games back in the day. Some of us preferred a single skip to merrily jump around with; others preferred a long piece of rope that could be held by two people while friends took turns jumping over the rope and chanting rhymes. It could be very tricky trying to jump in at just the right moment but so satisfying when you mastered it!
One person had to stand at a tree, lamppost or alternative ‘block’ while the others ran to hide. The challenge was then to get back to the tree or base before the person who was on could catch you and then shouting, “Block, 123!” A great way to burn off energy on the playground or after school.
Please, Mr Crocodile
This is a great game where one player is the crocodile and everybody else stands at the opposite side of the yard or room. They then chant, “Please, Mr Crocodile, may we cross your river? If not, why not? What’s your favourite colour?” The crocodile then chooses a colour and anybody wearing that colour in any form has to try and pass the crocodile to the other side without being caught. When I was at school, it would sometimes be organised by a kindly teacher or dinner lady.
So how many of these games do you remember playing? Do your kids play them now? Let us know which ones we should mention next time!