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Try This: Fun Recess Games

kids playing on outside gymAt your school, do kids play the same games over and over on the playground during recess? Try these versions of classic games. They're a little different, and maybe even more fun.

Sock Tag

In this version of tag, you take a sock -- or a ribbon or clothespin -- and tuck it in your pants, like a tail.

  • Once you start the game, each person tries to grab the other kids' "tails."
  • If your tail gets taken, you have to do a chosen move -- like 10 jumping jacks or a somersault.
  • Then you can start chasing players to get more tails again.
  • Whoever has the most tails at the end wins.

Up and Down

This is called "Oonch Neech" in Pakistan. But it's a lot like tag. Here's how you play:

  • One person is "It" and runs to try to catch the other players.
  • To stay safe from It, players don't just use a "home base." They have to get on top of something, like a bench, a jungle gym, or anything stable you can climb.

Creative Kickball

Want to give kickball a new zing? Try it like this:

  • The pitcher rolls the ball to the player at bat who is ready to kick the ball.
  • As he pitches the ball, the pitcher shouts out an activity like "Bunny hop!" or "Flap your arms like chicken!"
  • Once the batter kicks the ball, he has to hop or flap instead of just run from base to base.


This can be like Follow the Leader. Here's how you play:

  • Everyone lines up on an imaginary obstacle course around the playground or field.
  • One person is the leader and calls out actions for everyone to follow. They should be ways to move -- "walk like a crab," "crawl under an elephant's legs," or "swim through jelly."
  • Keep doing that action over and over until the leader calls out another.
  • After you get through the course, the next person in line gets to be leader.

Ankle Races

This relay race is kind of like a potato sack race.

  • Grab your ankles and run to the finish line while you're still holding them.
  • You have to start over if you fall down or lose your grip, so you don't always have to be fast to win.
  • You could also try it while crab-walking.

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WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Renee A. Alli, MD, FAAP on December 23, 2013