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Traditional British Games for Children

Skipping rope is a great way for children to stay fit.
Young girl skipping image by Courtney Keating from Fotolia.com

Many traditional games played by British children are still being playing today in schools and at home. Traditional playground games help children interact with each other and develop social skills. It also develops a sense of imagination that some say cannot be found in more modern games involving the television. Getting children outside to play traditional games gets them out of the house and actively engages them in physical activity, helping to develop healthy physical habits and fight against childhood obesity.


A conker is a seed that falls from the horse chestnut tree. It is threaded with tough string, and players take turns hitting conkers. The opponent chooses the height to hold the conker and then has three tries to hit it by dangling their conker and swinging it with the free hand. The players take turns hitting each other’s conkers until one of them is destroyed. Points are based on the number of destroyed conkers.


Squares are vertically drawn onto a sidewalk with chalk, usually with a single square then double square. They are numbered one through 10. Players toss a rock onto the first square without missing it or landing on a line. The player then hops onto the squares with only one foot in each square. The square with the rock in it is skipped over. If the player makes it to the end without being disqualified, he turns around, comes back, and tosses the rock onto the second square.

London Bridge

Two children hold hands and form an arch to represent the bridge and then the “London Bridge” song is sung. The other children hold on to the shirt of the person in front of them and chain-walk under the bridge repeatedly until the last verse is sung. The two people forming the bridge will then lower their arms to capture the children still under the bridge. The captured children are led to one of two predetermined spot to be prisons. Once all are captured, the two prisons of children play a game of tug-of-war.


In Britain, skipping is what Americans call jump roping. Tricks are performed such as the Can-Can and the Double-Dutch. In the Can-Can, the child jumps on their left foot as they raise their right knee. A 2-foot jump is made, landing on the left foot while kicking their right leg. The Double-Dutch requires the use of two skipping ropes that are swung by two children while a third child skips the ropes. Sometimes children keep jumping in one place or jump in and out of the ropes to show more difficult moves.

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