Traditional Children's Games in Australia

By Dee Taylor
Australia has a broad cultural history.

Children around the world grow up in an unimaginable variety of environments. Although their homes, experiences and cultures may vary, a common denominator is that children everywhere love to play and entertain themselves. Some games are comparable, while others are unique to particular cultures. In Australia, the customs and practices from a varied population have allowed for an assortment of games and pastimes.

Down Down Down

Catch the ball in Down Down Down, or you'll be hitting the pavement.

Down Down Down involves the tossing of a tennis ball between two players, and the eventual crouching of the player who continues to drop the ball. Players begin tossing the ball back and forth from a standing position. If a player drops the ball, he must go to one knee. If he drops it again he goes to both knees, then to an elbow, to two elbows, and eventually ends up on his chin.

Stuck in the Mud

Try not to get tagged, or you may remain stuck.

Stuck in the Mud emulates the game of freeze tag. Frozen players must remain frozen until a free player crawls between their feet, which are planted as if stuck in mud. All players are eventually frozen until only one free player remains.

What's the Time, Mr. Wolf?

Children have an endless amount of entertainment today, but traditional games allow for the continuation of age-old activities.

What's the Time, Mr. Wolf? focuses on one player, the "wolf," who stands with his back turned to the other players, about 15 feet away. The other players begin to inquire about the time. When the wolf yells out the time, the other players take the correlating number of steps forward (10 o'clock for 10 steps, 2 o'clock for two steps, and so on). Once the group is close enough, the wolf screams "dinner time" and tries to catch one of the other players. The player who is caught assumes the duties of the wolf.

Bounce Eye

Marbles are the foundation of numerous children's games.

Bounce Eye is thought to have been in existence for more than 200 years. It involves marbles and at least three players. After a 12-inch circle is drawn, each player deposits two of his three marbles in the center. Each player takes a turn dropping his remaining marble over another player's marble, trying to knock it out of the circle. When a marble is displaced, it becomes the property of the individual responsible. Turns are taken until all the marbles are outside the circle. The player who accumulates the most marbles is the winner.

About the Author

Dee Taylor is a Virginia writer and editor, based near the Washington, DC area. She has 10 years experience in journalism and publishing, having worked for the Gannett Co., Inc., and the National Academy of Sciences. She holds a BA in Political Science, and a MS in Publishing.