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15 Popular 1960s Playground Games

These 15 popular 1960s playground games helped kids of the era find respite from the turmoil and upheaval of the world around them, for at least a few minutes here and there. Read on to find out how 1960s kids let of some steam on school playgrounds across America.

Four Square

Players take turns hitting the ball against a backboard.

The player who hit it gets to keep the square. If another player hits the ball, that person can have one of their squares or if they’re already in possession of four squares then they get an extra turn and must move again for every square they pick up after their fourth square.

Is it still played today? Yes.

Red Rover

Players line up on the two lines in front of one another.

A player from each team tries to break through their opponent’s formation by walking into the opposite side, then returning back and tagging that player with a hand or arm before he can get back out again. If they’re successful at crossing over without being tagged then they switch places and the next player in line tries.

Is it still played today? Yes.

Tag

Players are split into two teams or groups and then take turns chasing after one another.

The game is over when the person who’s “it” catches everyone else on the opposing team. The player tagged becomes “it”.

This playground game is still played today, but it might be called something different like freeze tag or touch tag depending on the region and age group.

Is it still played today? Yes.

Capture the Flag

A game where two opposing teams fight to capture the flag of their opponents.

Is it still played today? Yes, but with variations like Capture the Flag tag or even Flashlight Tag.

Hopscotch

A game where players take turns drawing lines on the ground and hop from one to another.

Is it still played today? Yes, but some schools have banned this activity for being a traffic hazard in some cases.

Kickball

A game where players kick a ball to each other in a setup that closely resembles baseball or softball.

Is it still played today? Yes, but with variations like Kickball tag or even Freeze Tag.

Kick the Can

A game where one player is selected to be “It”. They then stand in the middle of a circle and have to kick an empty can over. The other players run around, avoiding being tagged by It or kicking the can themselves while trying not to step on any cracks along the way. If they are able to do so without getting caught by It, they become It.

Is it still played today? Hardly ever.

Dodgeball

A game where players try to dodge balls thrown at them by other team members. Players wear protective gear like a helmet and gloves, but the goal is still to be hit with as many balls as possible.

Is it still played today? Yes, but some schools have banned this activity for being too dangerous.

Hide and Seek

A game where one player hides and the other players try to find them.

Is it still played today? Yes.

Tug of War

A game where two teams pull on a rope trying to tug the other team across an imaginary line.

Is it still played today? Yes, but not as much as before.

Simon Says

A game where players have to follow the commands given by Simon, but they also need to be careful not to do what he says when he doesn’t say it.

Is it still played today? Yes.

Duck, Duck, Goose

The person who is “it” walks around while everyone else forms a circle. When “it” catches someone, he/she becomes “it.”

Is it still played today? Yes.

Red Light, Green Light

A game where one person is “it.”

The other players have to walk without getting caught by the “it” player. If someone gets caught, they become the next “it”.

Is it still played today? Yes. This is a very popular elementary school playground game in North America and Europe.

Simon Fights Back

A game where one person is “it.”

The other players have to walk without getting caught by the “it” player. If someone gets caught, they become the next “it”.

However, if a player can get back over to their own side before being tagged then it becomes that player’s turn and they’ll be able to “tag” other players.

Is it still played today? Yes, but not very common outside of North America and Europe.

Hot Lava

A game where one person is “it.”

Players are on two sides in a line. The object for the side with the ball is to throw it across to their partner who will then have to throw the ball back.

If they succeed, then their partner will catch and pass it to them so that they can cross over in turn. The person with the ball is “it” and may not go across until all of his/her partners are safely on the other side.

Is it still played today? Yes, but not very common.

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