Archive for the ‘Classroom’ Category

Follow The Leader

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

One player, who is especially resourceful or skillful, is chosen as a leader. The others all form in single file behind him, and imitate anything that he does. The leader aims to keep the line moving, and should set particularly hard tasks for them, such as climbing or vaulting over obstacles, under others, jumping to touch high points or objects, going through difficult feats, jumping certain distances, taking a hop, skip, and jump, walking backward, turning around while walking, walking or running with a book on the head, etc. Any one failing to perform the required feat drops out of the game or goes to the foot of the line; or at the pleasure of the players may pay a forfeit for the failure and continue playing, all forfeits to be redeemed at the close of the game.

Reprinted from Dr. Isaac T. Headland’s “The Chinese Boy and Girl,” by kind permission of Messrs. Fleming H. Revell & Co.

Games for the Playground, Home, School and Gymnasium by Jessie Hubbell Bancroft

Fence Tag

Sunday, March 27th, 2011

This game is a great favorite with boys for outdoor play, but may also be used in the gymnasium, various pieces of apparatus being used in lieu of a fence.

A certain length of fence is chosen for the game. The one who is It gives the other players a slight start in which to vault over the fence, when he immediately vaults over and tries to tag them. This tagging may be done only when both players are on the same side of the fence.

The dodging is made almost or quite entirely by vaulting or dodging back and forth across the fence within the length or boundaries previously determined. Any player tagged must change places with the one who is It.

FOR THE SCHOOLROOM.–This game may be used in the schoolroom by vaulting over the seats. When played in this way, it is not allowable to reach across seats or desks to tag a player. The tagging must be done in the same aisle in which the tagger stands.

Games for the Playground, Home, School and Gymnasium by Jessie Hubbell Bancroft

Dumb-Bell Tag

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

The players stand, scattered promiscuously, one of their number, who is It, being placed in the center at the opening of the game. A dumb-bell is passed from one player to another, the one who is It trying to tag the person who has the dumb-bell. If he succeeds, the one tagged becomes It.

A great deal of finesse may be used in this game; in appearing to hand the dumb-bell in one direction, turning suddenly and handing it in another, etc. Players may move around freely, and the action is frequently diversified with considerable running and chasing.

In the schoolroom this may be played either with the players seated or standing.

Games for the Playground, Home, School and Gymnasium by Jessie Hubbell Bancroft

Crossing The Brook

Friday, March 18th, 2011

This game is a great favorite with little children. A place representing a brook is marked off by two lines on the ground. For little children in the first year of school (about six years old) this may start with a width of two feet. The players ran in groups and try to jump across the brook. Those who succeed turn around and jump back with a standing jump instead of a running jump. On either of these jumps the player who does not cross the line representing the bank gets into the water and must run home for dry stockings, being thereafter out of the game. The successful jumpers are led to wider and wider places in the brook to jump (a new line being drawn to increase the distance), until the widest point is reached at which any player can jump successfully. This player is considered the winner.

This game is printed by kind permission of the Alumni Association of the Boston Normal School of Gymnastics, from the book “One Hundred and Fifty Gymnastic Games”.

Games for the Playground, Home, School and Gymnasium by Jessie Hubbell Bancroft

Circle Seat Relay

Monday, March 14th, 2011

This game starts with the players all seated, and with an even number in each row. At a signal, the last player in each row runs forward on the right-hand side of his seat, runs around the front desk, and returns on the left-hand side of his own row. As soon as he is seated, he touches the player next in front on the shoulder, which is a signal for this one to start. He runs in the same way. This is continued until the last player, which in this case is the one sitting in the front seat, has circled his desk and seated himself with hand upraised. The line wins whose front player first does this.

This is one of the best running games for the schoolroom. As in all such games, seated pupils should strictly observe the rule of keeping their feet out of the aisles and under the desks.

Players must observe strictly the rule of running forward on the right-hand side and backward in the next aisle, else there will be collisions.

Games for the Playground, Home, School and Gymnasium by Jessie Hubbell Bancroft

Changing Seats

Saturday, March 5th, 2011

This game is played in several different forms. The following are very popular.


The teacher gives the command, “Change right!” whereupon each pupil slips from his own seat to the one across the aisle to the right, the pupils in the farthest right-hand row standing in the outside aisle. The next order may be, “Change left!” when all of the pupils slip back to their own seats, and the row that stood resumes its own.

In the same way the orders, “Change forward!” and “Change backward!” may be given, the row of pupils left out each time merely standing in the aisles.


In this form of the game the players in the displaced row run around the room and take the vacant row of seats on the opposite side. For instance, the teacher gives an order, “Change left!” whereupon all the pupils slip over into the seats next to them on the left, the outside row on the left side of the room standing in the aisle. The teacher then says “Run!” whereupon the pupils who are standing run across the front of the room and take the vacant row of seats on the right-hand side. The teacher may then again say, “Change left!” whereupon the entire class, as now seated, moves one place to the left, the outside players standing in the aisle as did their predecessors; on the command “Run!” they, too, run across the room and take the vacant row of seats on the right-hand side. The command may be given, “Change forward!” after which the displaced players run around the side of the room and take the vacant places at the rear; or if the command be “Backward!” the displaced players run forward and take the front row of seats.

The sport of the game consists in rapid changes and unexpected variations in the orders given by the teacher. With right conditions the command to run may be omitted, the displaced row of pupils understanding that they are to run as soon as they stand.

The action of the game may be slightly quickened by having the running row divide, half running around the room in one direction and half in the other. For instance, if the players in the right-hand row have been displaced, half of them may run to the rear of the room to reach the rear half of the outer row of seats on the opposite side, and the other half run across the front of the room to the forward half of this row of seats.

Games for the Playground, Home, School and Gymnasium by Jessie Hubbell Bancroft

Catch The Cane

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011

The players, who should be numbered consecutively, stand in a circle or semicircle. One player stands in the center of the circle or in front of the semicircle, with his index finger on the top of a cane, wand, or closed umbrella, which stands perpendicularly to the floor. Suddenly he lifts his finger from the cane, at the same time calling the number assigned to one of the players in the circle. The person whose number is called must run forward and catch the cane before it lies on the floor. If he fails, he must return to his place in the circle; if successful, he changes places with the center player.

This game may have a great deal of sport in it if the action be kept lively and the one who is calling the numbers gives them in unexpected order, sometimes repeating a number that has recently been given, then giving a few in consecutive order, and then skipping over a long series, etc.

FOR THE SCHOOLROOM.–When played in the schoolroom, the player with the cane should stand in the center of the front of the room. The other players–part of the class at a time–may be lined up in front of the first row of desks, or only the players seated in the first row of seats may be called, according to the number of their row. At the discretion of the teacher this row may change to the rear row of seats, each line moving up one seat to make room for them.

This is an admirable game for making alert and active, children who are slow or dull.

Games for the Playground, Home, School and Gymnasium by Jessie Hubbell Bancroft

Cat And Mice

Saturday, February 26th, 2011

One player is chosen to be cat, and hides behind or under the teacher’s desk. After the cat is hidden, the teacher beckons to five or six other players, who creep softly up to the desk, and when all are assembled, scratch on it with their fingers, to represent the nibbling of mice. As soon as the cat hears this, she scrambles out from under the desk and gives chase to the mice, who may save themselves only by getting back to their holes (seats). If a mouse be caught, the cat changes places with him for the next round of the game. If no mouse be caught, the same cat may continue, or the teacher may choose another at her discretion.

A different set of mice should be chosen each time, so as to give all of the players an opportunity to join in the game.

This is a favorite schoolroom game for little children. They should be taught to add sport to the play by giving the cat quite a chase before returning to their seats, instead of seeking safety in the shortest and most direct way.

Games for the Playground, Home, School and Gymnasium by Jessie Hubbell Bancroft

Buying A Lock

Friday, February 25th, 2011

Oh, here we all go to buy us a lock;
What kind of a lock shall it be?
We’ll buy a broom handle; if that will not do,
With a poker we’ll try it alone.
But if neither the broom nor the poker will do,
We’ll open it then with a stone.

This game is suitable for very little children. They stand in a long line or rank side by side, holding hands. While repeating the verse, one end of the line winds in under the raised arms of the last two players at the opposite end, but instead of passing entirely through, as in many other winding games, the player next to the last only turns far enough to face in three quarters of a circle, or so that the players will eventually, when all have so turned, be brought into single file, one standing behind the other. In this position the arms are dropped over the shoulder, so that the player’s own left arm crosses his chest with the clasped hands (his own left and his neighbor’s right) resting on his right shoulder. Each player should clasp his neighbor’s hands at the start, so that the palm of his own left hand faces forward and the palm of his own right hand faces backward.

When the whole line has been “locked” in this way, the players unwind in reverse order, still repeating the verse.

When players are familiar with the winding and unwinding process, the game may be played in circle formation instead of line formation; that is, it will start with all of the players facing inward as they clasp hands to form a circle, and the locking or winding will bring them facing in single file around the circle.

This is a favorite game with little girls in China, and is here given with the kind permission of Dr. Isaac T. Headland and Messrs. Fleming H. Revell & Co., from the book entitled “The Chinese Boy and Girl.”

Games for the Playground, Home, School and Gymnasium by Jessie Hubbell Bancroft

Black Tom

Friday, February 18th, 2011

Two parallel lines are drawn on the ground with a space of from thirty to fifty feet between them. All of the players except one stand beyond one of these lines. In the middle territory between the lines the one player who is chosen to be It takes his place, and cries “Black Tom! Black Tom! Black Tom!” repeating the words three times as here given; whereupon the other players must all rush across to the opposite line, being chased by the center player, who catches any that he may. Any one so caught joins him thereafter in chasing the others.

The particular characteristic of this game lies in the fact that the center player, instead of saying “Black Tom,” may trick or tantalize the runners by crying out “Yellow Tom,” or “Blue Tom,” or “Red Tom,” or anything else that he chooses. Any player who starts to run upon such a false alarm is considered captive and must join the players in the center. This is also true for any player who starts before the third repetition of “Black Tom.”

Another way of giving a false alarm is for any one of the center players except the original It to give the signal for running. Any runner starting in response to such a signal from any of the chasers, except the original It, thereby becomes captive and must join the players in the center.

The first one to be caught is center player, or It, for the next game.

The game as here given is played in Brooklyn, N.Y. The same game is played in the South under the title of “Ham, ham, chicken, ham, bacon!” the word “bacon” being the signal for the run, any player starting without hearing it having to join the center players.
Games for the Playground, Home, School and Gymnasium by Jessie Hubbell Bancroft