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Do you remember when you were young and your mother or grandmother 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.   These games are so much fun to play and we played them when we were little!  Now it’s time to teach them to our children. 🙂

games we forget to play


7 games that have been forgotten… for kids!

I first wrote this post a few years ago, but this weekend I was thinking about how our youngest daughter had never played one of them, so I wanted to post it again today. I love the memories of playing these games or singing these songs as a child, so I wanted to share them with you. Do you remember these? Do you play or sing these songs with your children?

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 down) 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 is 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.. nickel, 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 to 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 AND Hot Hands

Note: I teach our kids how to play it gently- we do not slap the hands of each other!
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 offense 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


6. WAR (card game)

Our kids love this card game!
How to play: Each person throws down a card.  The person with the higher number wins.  Easy!
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.

7.  Red Rover 

We played this at least once a week in our neighborhood.
How to play:  Two teams line up opposite from one another (around 20-30 feet, I’d say).   Each team holds each other’s hands to form a “human chain”
The first team calls a player from the second team to try to break the chain of hands, by chanting: “Red RoverRed Rover, send (player’s name) on over!”

That player let’s go of his teammate’s hands and run towards the other line, with the goal of breaking through the chain by overpowering the kid’s interlocked hands.

If he is able to break the chain and get through, he can choose one person from that team to join his team.   If he is not able to break through, he becomes a part of the opposing team.

There isn’t a winner or loser, because the game ends when one team has all of the people.

Education Benefit: Other than exercise, laughter & bonding, I’m not sure that this one would be on my “Most educationally beneficial game,” but I remember it with such fondness.  I loved playing it with my friends when I was young…  and we laughed the entire time.

What are a few more games that you played as a child?

I loved four square, TV Tag, and jail-break (which is almost like night-time hide & seek.). I’m sure there are others that I’m forgetting. I would love to hear yours! Leave your favorites in the comments.


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Hi there!

I’m Becky, a former elementary school teacher turned certified child development therapist and blogger. I work at home with my husband and together we are raising (and partially homeschooling) our four children in the Carolinas. I love diet coke, ice cream, and spending time with my family.

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      1. When we were little we played “Mother May I”. In the game, the appointed mother tells the “child” what to do (example: take 2 giant steps, take 5 baby steps, take 3 scissor steps or jump twice) the “child has to ask “Mother may I ” and the “mother” responds “yes you may”, then the child is allowed to proceed forward. If the child moves without asking permission they have to go all the way back to the beginning. First “child” that reaches “mother” wins and gets to be the “mother” for the next round.

        This teaches manners, patience and is a fun way to get in some exercise.

  1. 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. I love simple fun. Great games and definitely some we forgot about. Thanks!

  3. Thanks for the reminder! Going to do war and what’s in the bag? first.

  4. Loved War as a kid! I’m also a fan of good ol’ fashioned tag, too. If I play, I kinda feel excused from the gym…

  5. 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?

  6. 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.

  7. This is so cool, pinned! Thanks for sharing at Creative Linky Party.

  8. 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.

    1. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. Just wanted to mention keep up the good WORK- your tips are always helpful 🙂 !