1970s kids playground games

Glorious summer days…although I think they are dwindling now as we head into Autumn. Here in the U.K. we had a beautiful summer – sun, sun and more sun! I remember the summer of 1976, I think that’s the last time we had such a long spell of hot dry weather. This glorious summer and my post I wrote recently What’s it like to work in a school? made me think back to my childhood – I like to do that a lot – and games we used to play outside at school.

So if you have ever wondered what sort of games kids played in the playground in the 1970s this is the place for you!

I have such fond memories of playing outside at my first school…I remember the layout of the playground really well, I think we had separate playgrounds for girls and boys if I remember correctly. The girls playground had a shelter, this had poles and a roof – guess pretty vital components for a shelter! What I mean is, it was a fairly substantial construction, not just a wooden gazebo type thing. I wonder if it’s still there…in the shelter we would play games such as peep behind the curtain and what’s the time Mr Wolf? The shelter had a wall at one end so this is where the wolf would stand. We also used to play wth tennis balls, throwing them against the wall, clapping our hands or clapping with our leg up or something and then catching the ball again.

Outside the shelter, we used to play skipping games. There were two old ladies, well I think they were really old, but actually in reality they were probably abut forty or fifty haha. When you’re little you think everyone is old don’t you! These lovely old ladies used to hold either end of the long skipping ropes while us girls used to jump in, sing rhymes and skip. I’m sure we had loads of rhymes we used to sing, but one I can remember in particular is: Bumper car bumper car number 48,  Slide round the corner and slam on the brakes. I think you had to jump, then run round one of the ladies then come back into the rope again. Did anyone else do that one?

In the summer we used to play on the field, I think it was massive and it had a horses’ field the other side of the fence. Once there was great excitement because a horse jumped the fence or hedge and got into our field! I don’t know what they did to sort that out! We used to do cartwheels and handstands and handsprings. Sometimes it must have looked like a training ground for some sort of mini Olympics. Oh and leapfrog, I’d forgotten about that! There was a little slope at the back of the hall, where we used to play handstands. Why did we choose to do handstands there? It would have been far easier on flat ground wouldn’t it? We used to play snow, rain, thunder, lightning. Someone called out snow rain thunder lightning and everyone had to do a normal handstand,legs straight in the air. Each time someone would choose to say a slightly different thing and then we had to do a slightly different handstand. Snow rain thunder scissors meant you had to open and shut your legs,whilst doing a handstand, like a pair of scissors – how ladylike!

We used to play another game where we used to say “Crocodile crocodile can I cross your water? To see your little daughter, floating on the water? Or something like that!! I can’t remember exactly what it was, but then the person would say something like “only if you’re wearing blue.” All the lucky people wearing blue were allowed to go past. Well I don’t know about you but we wore school uniform so mostly we all wore the same colour anyway, soooo I’m not really sure how well that game worked.

Are kids allowed to do handstands at school now? It makes me wonder with health and safety rules and all that. We also used to do french skipping which was where you had a long piece of elastic, two people used to stand with the elastic round their ankles and then one person had to jump over the elastic saying a rhyme. As you got more confident the elastics were raised higher so it would be round their knees, I’m not sure but it may have even got thigh high. It was brilliant fun and a tell-tale sign of those who had been playing was a mark round our white socks where the elastic had been!

Oh well that’ll do for today, what games do you remember playing at school? Did you play snow rain thunder lightning?  I’d love to know!

Until next time, have a great day!



  1. I love this! I had a 70s childhood too. I remember playing who’s afraid of Mr Wolf? (or similar), lots of skipping and basketball without the basketball hoop – we had to aim the ball at a spot on the playground railings! 🙂


  2. OMG. Crocodile and skipping games! I’m an eighties child (from Belgium), but my childhood was just the same! Totally agree: everyone seems old when you’re a kid. And that’s a really depressing thought when you’re an adult lol

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What a trip down memory lane! We used to play Crocodile Crocodile … and all the others apart from the snow rain, etc. I’ve not heard of that one! We also had a tennis ball in a stocking that we swung against the wall singing rhymes I can’t remember. Thanks for taking me on a nostalgic trip 🙂 Michelle

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ah handstands and cartwheels! Did you ever play British bulldog? That’s something we used to play all the time. This is so funny as my next 80s childhood post is going to be about school! Great minds Fiona, great minds

    Liked by 1 person

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