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1970s Playground Games Still Taunt

Do 1970s playground games haunt your dreams?

If you grew up in the era, chances are they do. Here’s why …

The 1970s were a great time for playground games, with a wide variety of options to choose from. Here are ten different games that were popular during that decade:

  1. Red Light, Green Light: This is a classic chasing game where one player is “it” and stands facing away from the other players. When the “it” player turns around and says “green light,” the other players can move towards them. When the “it” player turns back around and says “red light,” the other players must freeze in place. If the “it” player catches someone moving, that person becomes the new “it.”
  2. Mother, May I?: In this game, one player is the “mother” and the others are “children.” The children must ask the mother’s permission to do something, such as “Mother, may I take two giant steps forward?” The mother can either grant permission or give a new task for the child to complete before they can advance, such as “Take three baby steps and turn around.”
  3. Simon Says: One player is Simon and gives commands to the other players, who must only follow the commands if they are prefaced with “Simon says.” For example, “Simon says touch your toes” would be a valid command, but “touch your toes” would not be. Players who follow an invalid command are eliminated.
  4. Red Hands (Hot Hands): This is a fast-paced hand slapping game played with two players. One player holds out their hand and the other player tries to slap it as quickly as possible. The players then switch roles and try to slap the other player’s hand. The player who successfully slaps the other player’s hand wins the round.
  5. Red Rover: In this game, two teams of players stand facing each other in a line, holding hands. One team calls out the name of a player on the other team and that player must run over and try to break through the line. If the player successfully breaks through, they can choose a player from the other team to bring back to their own team. If the player is unsuccessful, they must join the team they were trying to break through to.
  6. Follow the Leader: One player is the leader and the others must follow their actions and movements. The leader can do whatever they want, such as crawl, hop, or spin, and the other players must imitate their actions.
  7. Duck, Duck, Goose: In this game, one player walks around a circle of seated players and taps each player on the head, saying “duck” each time. When the player taps a player on the head and says “goose,” that player must stand up and try to chase the player around the circle and try to sit back down in their spot before the player can. If the player succeeds, the chaser becomes the new “it.”
  8. Red Light, Yellow Light, Green Light: This is similar to Red Light, Green Light, but with more options for the “it” player. When the “it” player says “red light,” the other players must stop. When the “it” player says “yellow light,” the other players must walk slowly. When the “it” player says “green light,” the other players can run.
  9. Marco Polo: This is a swimming pool game where one player is “it” and closes their eyes while saying “Marco.” The other players must swim around and avoid being tagged by the “it” player, who is trying to catch them by following the sound of their voices saying “Polo.”
  10. Four Square: This game is played on a square court divided into four smaller squares. Players take turns bouncing a ball into one of the squares, and the player in that square must hit the ball into another square before it bounces twice. If a player misses the ball or it bounces twice in their square, they are eliminated and must move to the back of the line. The last player remaining becomes the first person in line for the next game.
  11. Tag: This is a simple chasing game where one player is “it” and tries to chase and tag the other players. When a player is tagged, they become “it” and the game continues. There are many variations of tag, such as freeze tag (where players who are tagged must freeze in place until they are unfrozen by another player) or capture the flag (where players must try to capture the other team’s flag while defending their own).
  12. Tug of War: This game is played with two teams, each holding onto opposite ends of a rope. The teams then pull against each other, trying to get the other team to let go of the rope or be pulled over the center line. The team that successfully pulls the other team over the line or gets them to let go of the rope wins the game.

You might also enjoy our trip through 1960s playground games.

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