Boy holds up doughnut on a string for sister.

Active Play

Games We Played As Kids That Are Still Fun

Jun 29, 2017

We used to have epic days of play when we were kids. No tablets, smartphones and barely any video games. TV was limited to a few short bursts of cartoons — and then hours of opportunity for amazing, imaginative fun. There were many games that we played back then, some short, some long, some indoor, some outdoor. We’ve revived a few of our favourites that you may not have had the pleasure of playing. They’re awesome for playdates, birthday parties and general screen-free good times at home. We promise they’ll remember these fun times far more than the latest Netflix series or Minecraft update. And the memories they’ll spark are good for the soul as well.

1. Doughnut Chew


  • 1 doughnut per participant (must be a doughnut with a hole in the middle – doughnut holes, fritters or Dutchies need not apply)
  • 1 piece of clean heavy string or twine per participant, about 1-2 feet long
  • 2 chairs

Little girl holds up doughnut for boy to chew.

How to Play

Tie the string with one end around the doughnut (use the hole in the middle!). A helper will hold the doughnut at the height of the player’s mouth (for shorter doughnut holder, have the player kneel down). The participant tries to eat the doughnut (which will swing) without letting it fall off the string using only their mouths – no hands! Funny and delicious, too.

2. Sticky Popcorn



How to Play

One participant starts and is the most delicious piece of sticky caramel popcorn. They run around trying to stick (tag) other players. If they tag someone, they become joined and have to run around stuck to each other, trying to stick to other players. Anyone tagged must hold onto at least one other person as part of the ever-growing sticky popcorn ball. The round is over when the last player is tagged and joins the sticky popcorn ball, after which you lie down and giggle, of course, and perhaps eat some caramel popcorn.

3. Ping Pong Soup


  • 12–18 ping pong balls
  • one spoon per player
  • 6 cereal bowls
  • stopwatch, timer, or clock

Girl has spoon in her mouth to guide ping pong to next bowl.

How to Play

Two or three participants can play at the same time.

Place six ping pong balls in three of the bowls. Place an empty bowl next to each bowl of balls.

Each player holds a spoon in their mouth by the handle – no hands! They have to try to move the six ping pong balls from one bowl to another in less than a minute. Hands can only be used if a player drops the ping pong ball – then they can go retrieve it and put it back in the starting bowl. Two to three players can compete in each round, because it’s more fun to have someone to play with!

4. Evolution



Kids acting out dinosaurs and chickens.

How to Play

This is a variation of Rock, Paper, Scissors. All of the participants need to know how to play so here’s a refresher:

  • Rock crushes scissors
  • Scissors cut paper
  • Paper covers rock

The different levels in this game are:

  • Amoeba (actions including shaking like jelly and making wobbling noises)
  • Funky chicken (flap wings, cluck)
  • T-Rex (use arms to open and close jaws, stomp, roar)
  • Supreme Being (strutting, looking cool, saying, “I’m cool – I’m a supreme being")

Everyone begins as an amoeba and wanders around the space. When they meet another participant, they play Rock, Paper, Scissors. Whoever wins becomes a funky chicken, and the loser stays an amoeba. You can only play Rock Paper Scissors with someone who is at the same levels as you (chickens can challenge only chickens, for example, and the winner would become a T-Rex). Losers go back down a level. The final level is Supreme Being, and they are safe from the game – they just strut around and maybe coach the amoebas.

The actions and sound effects are what make this game hilarious, so encourage everyone to own their level — and enjoy.

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5. When I Look Through the Green Glass



How to Play

This is a great game for car rides or when seated at the table. Only one or two people should know the twist for maximum effect – these are the leaders. Players take turns saying what they see through the green glass. A leader can start by saying “When I look through the green glass I see…” and they need to choose something that is spelled with double letters (the clue here is that there are double letters in "look", "green", "glass" and "see” so any “correct” answer needs to have at least one word with double letters. They also include an example of something they “don’t” see, which would be an item without double letters. For example, the leader might say, “when I look through the green glass, I see jelly but not jam.” Or perhaps, “when I look through the green glass I see balls and hoops but no bats or gloves.” Each player tries to describe what they see and the leader’s answer will give clues about what is correct and what is incorrect. For example, someone might say, “when I look through the green glass, I see clouds but no rain.” The leader could suggest instead that when they look through the green glass they see sleet but not snow. With a few hints more and more people will start to catch on.

Ah, the memories of these games from our childhood! They’re a lot of fun, and they’ll likely inspire recalling or researching some more. Have fun, have lots of giggles, and play, play, play.

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