6 games that have been forgotten… games to play with young kids

Do you remember when you were little and your Mom would sing all of those great songs to you? Sometimes I catch myself remembering them and noticing that I haven’t done them with my own kids.   (here are the 10 best things that my mom has taught me.)   Anyways- these games are so much fun to play and we played them when we were little!

games we forget to play


Here are our 6 favorite “Oldies but goodies” Games to play with young kids:


1- Ring Around The Rosie: Ring around the rosie, A pocket full of posies, Ashes! Ashes! We all fall down!

Education benefit: gross motor skills, teamwork, interactive play, music introduction


 2- Guess which hand.   Put a dice or small thing (candy, penny) in one hand (do this behind your back). Hold your hands out in a fist (fingers done) and have your child guess which hand the item is in.

Education benefit:: This one is great for having your child use visual cues (is one hand bigger from holding a toy?) It also helps them with taking turns.


 3- What’s in the bag? Take a brown paper bag (or whatever you have) Put something in it (example: a block, a tissue, a paperclip, a ball) Let your child FEEL it, without looking. Encourage them to roll it in their hands and think about it. Let them try to guess what it is, before looking. Pull it out to see if they are right. (For younger children- do something easy, but for older children, do something less defined by shape. Ex: if you are working on money, have ONE coin in there and ask them to tell you which one it is.. nickle, dime, penny, quarter…)

Education benefit: This is great for using their other senses.


 4- This little piggy.   This little piggy went to market, This little piggy stayed at home, This little piggy ate roast beef, This little piggy had none. And this little piggy went… “Wee wee wee wee wee” All the way home… How to play: When you say the lines of the song, wiggle one of the child’s toes, starting with the biggest toe. Wiggle each one until you’ve done all five. On the last two lines you tickle the child up the leg – as if the “piggy” is running home. I have “home” be on their necks- so they get tickled all the way up & they laugh & laugh!

Education Benefit: Repetitive words, vocabulary introduction, Rhythm


5- Thumb war & Hot Hands (easy).  {ps- I teach our kids how to play it gently- we do not slap each others hands!)
Our kids love these games!
For hot hands- “The first child places his hands palm down, hovering above the other player’s hands. The other player hovers his hands below the first, palms up. The two players’ hands should be barely touching each other, and all the hands should be around mid-torso height”. The touching hand is on offence, and attempts to bring his hands over to touch the backsides of his opponent’s hands. This must be done with sufficient speed, because the touchee’s goal is to pull his hand away, and out of the area where the hands overlap, to avoid the touch. If the toucher touches the hands of the slapee during the slap, then the roles switch.
Thumb war- you know how to play this one (we don’t do “tag team” with the pointer finger though! haha!)

Education Benefit
: hand-eye coordination


6War (card game).  Our kids love this card game! (each person throws down a card.  The person with the higher number wins.)  We started playing it at age four with each of our kids, to teach them the value of a number.

Education Benefit:This is an excellent game for teaching numbers, counting, greater than & less than.  It is also good for fine motor skills, turn-taking and learning visual cues.


 Have fun!
If you are ready to move on, check out the 5 skills that your child needs before starting Kindergarten (they are non-academic.   #1… tie their own shoes.  Read more here…)

5 things your child should know before starting Kindergarten



If your child has a birthday coming up, check out how we celebrate it without a gift (they will cherish this as an adult)

ps- If your child loves to build & create, you should give them this creativity box.

You make it yourself, but it is a great way to keep them busy. Or- try these fun activities to keep them busy for hours!


The best part about these games?   These games require no extra materials or clutter!!  If you want to see how I declutter our house, check out this series: 










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  1. says

    I love these! I think people have forgotten how to play games. TVs and computers have taken over all free time. Thanks for the great reminders. I have three boys. I’d forgotten about Hot Hands- they’ll love this game. Have a great day!

  2. says

    I completely forgot about the war card game! We used to play that all the time when I was a kid. Thanks for the reminder. :)

    This reminded me of cat’s cradle. Also, I saw some elementary aged girls in a restaurant the other day playing those rhythm hand slapping games. Remember those?

  3. says

    My daughter will play ring-around-the-rosie till I’m dizzy! I’ve never thought to play What’s in the Bag, but we have a store-bought version one of my boys got for a birthday present called What’s in Ned’s Head. You feel around in search of a specific item, but most of them are gross like a dead bug or a dirty diaper, thankfully all made out of plastic.

  4. ErinN says

    My kids LOVE Thumb wars. You hold hands so your thumbs can fight and the person to hold the others thumb for a count to 3 wins.

    • says

      There are 6. Here’s # 6 (although I’m not sure why your not able to see it- I hope everyone else can!) :)

      #6- War (the card game). Our kids love this card game! (each person throws down a card. The person with the higher number wins.) We started playing it at age four with each of our kids, to teach them the value of a number.

      Education Benefit:This is an excellent game for teaching numbers, counting, greater than & less than. It is also good for fine motor skills, turn-taking and learning visual cues.

  5. reanna says

    My best friend told me about your blog & I love it. Thanks, Becky!

    PS- just bought your potty training book- AMAZING!!!! It totally worked (in two days). I am completely shocked.


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