When it comes to children’s games, the classics are unbeatable. Playing a simple game with friends is the best way for children to build their confidence and strength. Our playlist of lost favourites is all about rediscovering those forgotten games, which have become less popular over the generations as more modern kids’ activities have taken over.
The Playground Games series of articles celebrates the best classic games from around the world and, while teaching your child about the fascinating and entertaining games played by children in other countries, we hope these game guides will give you some inspiration to try with your little one at home.
Here we learn how to play Leapfrog, a game that kids have played for generations in the UK, which demands nothing more than space, a group of friends, and a little bit of trust.
WHAT YOU NEED:
At least two people – but the more the merrier.
Open space (indoors or out – you just need to be able to fit all people into a line and leave about a meter before the line for the run-up and about 3 metres after the line to land and continue leaping).
The first child should crouch down and rest their hands on their knees. Younger children can simply crouch on the floor tucking in their head and feet.
The second player runs up to the crouched child in front, placing their hands on their back and leaping over like a frog flying through the air, straddling their legs wide apart on each side.
On landing, this child immediately stoops down into the frog position so that the third child has to leap over the first and second, and then adopts the crouching position for the fourth player to leap over.
When all the players are stooping, the last in the line begins leaping over all the others in turn.
It can go on forever!
WHAT’S SO GOOD ABOUT LEAPFROG?
This classic game is not only great for agility and fitness; it also encourages teamwork and trust. Children have to be aware of their place in the game, and it’s all about getting the timing right, knowing when to leap, and trusting the person they’re leaping over. It’s a fun, easy game to play in the garden, in the playground, or even indoors if you have space.
TALES OF TRADITION OF THE LEAPFROG GAME
Classic games of this sort have been played in the UK since at least the late sixteenth century, but the Leapfrog game is now well known all over the world by different names, in France it is known as “saute-mouton”, or literally "leapsheep" and in India it is known as "Aar Ghodi Ki Par Ghodi" or literally "horseleap". It’s a simple game, requiring only a group of kids and plenty of energy.