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Playground Games that We Loved and Lost

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We all have our favourite games from childhood, the ones that we spent many hours playing, whether on our own or in groups. Each generation has their favourites, with some enduring more than others. The current generation benefit from the latest technologies in building playground equipment and surfaces, as well as a limitless bank of game ideas just a Google search away.

But still, it’s important that our most beloved playground games aren’t merely resigned to our past memories. Well, you may or may not agree with whether or not we should hold on to all of these games, but here are some of the most loved childhood games that we may be in danger of losing:

Marble Games

This game was a regular feature in school playgrounds of old. Remember laying out your bag of intricately designed marbles on the ground, and then in turns, trying to reach and hit various targets against your opponent? Oh, and of course, it was vitally important to determine beforehand whether you were playing ‘for friendlies’ or ‘for keeps’. This was a game high on skill, and maybe for many of us, a first introduction to a wager also!

Conker Games

If marbles was a game of skill, conkers may have relied more on brute force, but was still a lot of fun! There was of course the excitement and anticipation when collecting conkers under trees, piercing holes through them and forcing in a string to act as handle. For the patient among us, you could then soak them in vinegar to give them a coated layer of toughening armour, and leave them to toughen up for a week, or an hour, depending on how quickly you ‘needed’ to use them! Then came the two rivals, schoolyard gladiators battling to try to break their opponent’s conker in turns. Just don’t let it drop out of your hand and onto the floor; at that point it’s over!


This floor-based game needed balance, fitness, precision and timing. The players would mark out a grid and number the squares. As a player, you were expected to throw a stone into the first square, jump through without touching the square with the stone in it. When returning down, you were supposed to pick up the stone and do the same with the next square. To win you had to do this with every square. We all hoped for a close battle, as it was embarrassing to still being going for square number 2 or 3 as your opponent was already making their way back down from 10! This is one game we’re actually helping to bring back to increased popularity with our range of fun playground surfacing options.

Cat’s Cradle

This may have appeared a simple game to play, after all, it only took a piece of string, but it was an impressive and actually pretty highly skill–based game. You’d wrap your fingers up in the string and the after various twist and turns would be your more structured creation. The untrained eye may have seen it as an aimless wrapping of strings, but the final outcome brought sense to it and it was very fun once you knew what you were doing.

British Bulldog

This game, maybe the most controversial on the list, was definitely a setting for much ‘boisterous’ fun and maybe even a few bumps and bruises, depending on who you played with! We all probably remember lining up against the wall of a hall, or one end of a field or playground. Beginning your run and trying to avoid being tagged by the bulldog, whether through raw speed, clever twists and turns, or using one of your less nimble friends as a sacrificial lamb! With each round the number of runners would reduce and the sea of bulldogs chasing you would increase. If you were the last left standing, there were few feelings of achievement like it!