Outdoors games to play in spring
Spring is here! The weather is nice to play outside, and kids are spending more time outside of their homes to play with their friends. In South America, the kids play games that are also known to the American culture, with changes in their names and probably some basic rules. Some of the common games such as Hide-and-Seek or Freeze Tag are very common in all the countries south of the border, they are known by their Spanish name. Here is a list of the most common games for kids to play outdoors.
Las Escondidas (Hide and Seek):Everyone has played this one. Most parents have played with their kids, since hiding and finding is a common interest of small children. There are many variations in the game. Sometimes you count to twenty, sometimes ten, sometimes one hundred. Sometimes there is a home base that you can run to and tag, making you “safe,” which is the way I was used to play as a child. Sometimes you just wait to be found. The general idea is that one person is “it,” that person closes his or her eyes and counts to a certain number without looking and then he or she tries to find the others.
Number of Players: Ideally at least three.
La Rayuela (Hopscotch): uUse some sidewalk chalk and make a hopscotch grid. Number the squares from one to nine. Pick a rock that is good for tossing. Small ones can bounce too much, and larger ones are hard to throw. Start by tossing the rock onto Square 1. Hop over the rock and hop with a single foot or both feet (to follow the hopscotch pattern) all the way to the end. Turn around and come back, stopping on Square 2. Balancing on one foot, pick up the rock in Square 1 and hop over Square 1 to the start. Continue this pattern with Square 2. And so on. If you toss your rock and miss the correct square, your turn is over. This game can be played with any number of people, but only one person can go at a time.
Number of Players: One at a time.
Equipment: Hopscotch grid, rock or beanbag.
Estatuas (Red Light, Green Light): This game can easily be played inside if there is enough room. One person is the traffic light at one end, and the other players are at the other end. When the traffic light faces the group, he or she says, “Red light!” and everyone must freeze. The traffic light then turns his or her back and says, “Green light!” while the group tries to get as close to the traffic light as possible. The traffic light turns around quickly, again saying, “Red light!”, and if anyone is spotted moving, they have to go back to the starting place. The first person to tag the traffic light wins and gets to be the next traffic light. In the Spanish version of the game, instead of using the traffic light signs, the one person who is in control says out loud “1… 2… 3… ESTATUA!” and that works the same way as saying “Red Light!”
Number of Players: A small group.
Las Cogidas (Tag): A group of kids decides who will start out as being “it.” That person chases the other people around, trying to tag one of them with their hand. The newly tagged person is now “it.” There is often the rule of “no tag-backs” where you can’t tag the person who just tagged you. The game ends when everyone is tired of playing. There are many variations on the game. You can play Freeze-Tag in which when you are tagged you stay put and sone of the other kids playing must un-tag you. The game ends when everyone is tired of running
Number of Players: Any size group.
Marco Polo: This variation of tag is played in a swimming pool. Whoever is “it” closes their eyes and yells “Marco!” The other players then yell “Polo!” The “it” person has to tag one of the others, and then that person is “it.” Be sure to play in a pool that is not too deep for any of the players.
Number of Players: A small group.
Equipment: A swimming pool.
La Raya: This is a typical Latin American game. It consist in using a chalk to make a line in the sidewalk. One person should count 5 or 10 steps and create another line there. From that point each kid should throw a coin. Whoever get his coin closer to the line wins. One of the variations of this game is played without passing the line. the closer you get the coin to the line makes you a winner but the coin needs to land before the line or you are automatically eliminated if it passes it. In some cases the winner takes the coins.
Number of Players: minimum 2
Equipment: a chalk and coins