Games That Don’t Get Old

Play and Humor
3-8, 9-12

Many of us have memories of growing up in the city or suburbs. On weekends or after school, our parents would encourage us to “get some fresh air” (most likely an excuse for getting us out of the house). We’d be out for hours, returning only for a snack or to have bandages placed on scraped knees or elbows.

Grandparents can give children the gift of joyful, freewheeling play, where there is one essential goal: to have fun. We can introduce them to the games that kept us occupied for hours when we were children.

Here are some that I remember. In addition to demonstrating to your grandchild that you are, in fact, fun and fully comfortable being goofy, you can share your memories of being a child. The grandkids will be happy, dirty, exhausted, and grateful.

Here are some games I loved: 

Red Light, Green Light 1, 2, 3

Children stand in line 20 or so feet behind the back of the grandparent. The grandparent shouts out “Red light, green light 1-2-3” during which time the children are allowed to run forward. After calling out the same phrase, the grandparent turns around. If they spy a child moving, the child must go back to the starting line. If not, the grandparent turns their back again and, once again, calls out “Red light, green light 1-2-3.” (Changing cadence is always a good strategy).  The first grandchild to reach the grandparent wins. Reverse roles for more fun.

Hide and Seek

A perennial favorite. One person covers their eyes and counts to 10 while the other hides. Bellow the words “ready or not, here I come!” Be sure to find goofy places to hide. Choose the difficulty of the hiding place based on the age of the child.

Frisbee Catch

Frisbees are wonderful because they are so unpredictable, and a grandparent can be just as bumbling as a toddler in attempts to throw or catch one. Embrace your ineptitude; your grandchildren will love you for it!

Freeze Tag

When the player who is “it” tags another player, they tap them and say “FREEZE!” The participants who are not it need to run, dodge, and hide from the players who are it. They also unfreeze other participants who have been frozen by tapping them and saying “UNFREEZE!” Grandparents with balance issues may want to pass on this one.

Photographic Credits
Potato sack race, three-legged race, and child with grandparent by Stephanie Fink