Hide And Seek

One child hides his eyes and counts. The others hide themselves. When all are hidden, he tries to find them.

Run And Chase Games

Join the Gang: One child is the leader. He stands on one side of the room, the other children on the other side. When he yells, "Join my gang!" they all run toward him and he tries to catch one of them. When he catches one, that child joins the leader and the two of them go back to their place and yell, "Join my gang!"

Black Cats and Pumpkins: The children are divided into two groups, standing on opposite sides of the room. The pumpkins turn their backs to the black cats and the black cats tiptoe very near to them and then yell, "Pumpkins, watch out!" The pumpkins turn around and try to catch the black cats. The black Cats that are caught can either join the pumpkin team or go back to their own team. Next, the black cats catch the pumpkins. This game can be changed with the seasons. It can be Santa Claus and the Reindeers, or Easter Bunnies and Easter Eggs.

Traffic Lights: One child is the policeman. He stands on a chair and holds up a piece of green paper. All the children run until he holds up the red paper which he has in his other hand. He alternates red and green (or stop and go) until it is time to change policeman.

Tag: One child is "it." He chases the other children until he touches one. Then that child is "it." The only child he cannot "tag" is the one who just tagged him...expressed as "no-touch-back."

Guessing Games

Hiding the Peanut: One child leaves the room, and the other children decide where to hide the peanut. When he re-enters the room, the children tell him whether he is hot or cold until he finds it.

Who Am I?: In this game, Mother is "it." The children sit on chairs in a circle. The mother stands behind the circle with her eyes closed and feels head, face, and arms of the child. She asks questions such as, "Oh, oh, pigtails-is it a girl? (Children answer, some say "no.") "Does she have a little brother?" "Is her brother's name Douglas?" "Is she ticklish?" (tickle under chin) "Does she have red hair?" "Is it Elaine?" (Answer is "Yes.") Proceed to next child without looking.

Who Is It?: One child leaves the room. A child is selected from the group to be "it." The child returns to the room and tries to find out who "it" is by asking only "yes" and "no" questions, such as "Is 'it' a girl?" "Does 'it'have red keds on?" When she guesses who "it" is, "it," is the next to leave the room. (This game for five-year-olds only.)

The trouble with "it" games is, everyone wants to be "it." Games of Skill

Beans in a Jar: Each child is given ten navy beans which he attempts to throw into a waste basket or cardboard carton from a chalk line on the floor.

Blowing the Feather: The child throws a light feather into the air and tries to keep it in the air by blowing (no hands). When the feather hits the ground, he passes the feather to the next child.

Soda-cracker Race: Give each child one double soda cracker. The one who can eat his the fastest and sing "Mary had a little lamb," is the winner.

Other Games

Sticky Balloons: Rub the balloon against your clothing a few seconds with brisk, fast motions. The balloon will stick to the wall or ceiling.

Fish: Tie a string on a stick. On the end of the string fasten a small paper bag with a safety pin. The child throws the "pole" over a sheet and you fill the paper bag with a gift. Pull on the string a couple of times so he will know when he has caught the fish.

Follow the Leader: One child is the leader and the rest line up behind him and mimic his actions. He may walk with his hands on his knees, fly like a bird, run, or just walk.

Follow the Trail: From a certain point, tie and start unwinding a ball of string. It can go indoors and out, upstairs and down, and at the end of the trail is a treasure for all. The treasure could be a shoe box full of small wrapped gifts.

Ball Games

For all of these games, a soft rubber ball about six to eight inches in diameter is most suitable.

Rolling the Ball: The children sit in a circle with their legs spread and their feet touching the next child. The child who starts rolling the ball calls out the name of the child for whom it is intended.

Bouncing the Ball: The children stand in two lines, one line facing the other. The child who starts the game throws the ball so that it bounces in the center of the two lines of the group only once, and calls out the name of the child who should catch it.

Balls in a Basket: Children stand a certain distance from a large wastepaper basket and throw the ball into the basket. (For indoors, rolled up socks are good "balls" for this game.)

Basketball: Remove the bottom from a bushel basket. Tie it to a post or tree, slightly above the child's head.

Tetherball: A three-inch pipe about eight feet long is set in the ground. A strong rope is tied near the top of the pipe and a tether ball is hung from the end. The ball should hang at waist level. The object of the game is to see which of the two players can wind the ball around the pole, with each hitting in opposite directions. Tetherball is one of the child's first experiences in competitive sports, and when he is in the second grade, you will learn a lot of rules concerning the game, but for preschoolers it is fun simply to bat the ball around the pole, whether they are alone or playing with several others.

Croquet: Another game small children can enjoy without rules. They like to hit the ball with the mallet. Wickets, of course, can be made from wire coat hangers.

Golf: Cut a broom handle to a suitable length for your child. Drill a hole at an angle in a block of wood 2" x 2" x 4", and insert handle. Sink jars, such as peanut-butter jars, in the ground at appropriate distances for the course.