Introduce your kids to these traditional games German children play and see if they don’t discover a new favorite. The rules are easy to follow and hearken back to simpler times. Play these as part of a larger theme party (complete with traditional German treats) or let them stand on their own.
In English, “Hit the Pot.” This is a traditional German game small children play. Hide a pot containing a small present or piece of chocolate. The child who is “It” closes his eyes or is blindfolded and is given a wooden stick. He crawls on the floor, banging the spoon on the floor until he finds the pot. Spectators can help by shouting “hot” or “cold." When he finds the pot, he gets to keep what is inside. The pot can be hidden again and the game replayed for remaining children.
This “chocolate eating” game is another traditional favorite. Wrap a bar of chocolate in several layers of newspaper and tie with ribbon. Place the chocolate in the center of a table along with a hat, scarf, mittens, fork and butter knife. Each player rolls the die once, trying for a six, and play proceeds clockwise. If a player rolls a six, he puts on the hat, scarf and mittens and attempts to open and eat the chocolate with the fork and knife until another player rolls six and takes over. This fast-paced game continues until all the chocolate is eaten.
Koffer packen means “Packing a suitcase.” Children sit in a circle and pretend to “pack” a suitcase. The first child says the first item (for example, pajamas). The second child says the first item and adds an item of her own. This continues around the circle with each child repeating the list and adding another item to the suitcase. If a child makes a mistake, she’s out. The last child remaining wins a treat.
Katz und Maus
The “cat and mouse” game is played by larger groups, typically on the playground. One player is Katz and the other is Maus. The rest of the children form a circle and hold hands. The cat tries to catch (touch) the mouse. The mouse can run anywhere, including into or out of the circle. The circle helps the mouse by raising their arms to let the mouse through, or lowering their arms to try to block the mouse.
German children also play familiar playground games such as hide and seek (“Verstecken”), kick the can ("Dosenfussball"), tag ("Fangen"), and hopscotch ("Hupfspiel").