Summer Throwback: Old School Physical Games and Activities - Action for Healthy Kids
Open Search

Summer Throwback: Old School Physical Games and Activities

Print Page


Girls Playing Hop ScotchSummer is a great time to kick it with some old school games and activities! Stash away those electronic devices, gather your neighborhood friends, and head outside. These simple yet fun old school games are a great way to sneak in additional physical activity without lugging around a ton of equipment. Perfect for an at-home activity, community cookout, summer camp, or summer school physical activity break, these activities are sure to get everyone up and moving!

Old School Games & Activities

We all know Simon Says and Freeze Tag – but don’t forget about these others!

Captain, May I?

A simple game in which players ask, “Captain, may I….” to take a certain number and type of steps towards the “Captain”.

To Play:

  1. Identify one person to be the “Captain”. This person will call out the commands to the group.
  2. The Captain stands facing away from the line of players and selects a player at random. The Captain calls out a direction with a specific number of steps.
  3. The player then responds with “Captain, may I?” The Captain then respond with yes or no, to which the player obeys and takes the directed action. If the player forgets to ask, “Captain, may I?” then the player must go back to the beginning of the line.
  4. Examples of commands: Take 8 steps forward and…
  • Hop like a bunny, kangaroo or frog
  • Move like a giant
  • Only use your right or left foot
  • Hop using both feet
  1. The first player to reach the Captain wins and becomes the new Captain.

Red Light, Green Light

A simple movement game in which players try not to be caught in a moving violation.

To Play:

  1. Choose one player to play the role of the traffic light.
  2. Have all players stand at a pre-designated starting line. The traffic light player will be at the finish line with his or her back to the rest of the players.
  3. The traffic light player will call out 1 of 3 directions:
    1. Green Light: Players run as fast as possible to the finish line.
    2. Yellow Light: Players run at a moderate pace to the finish line.
    3. Red Light: Players stop moving and freeze in place.
  4. The traffic light player will turn around when calling out “Red Light” and if the traffic light catches a player moving, he or she will send that player back to the starting line.
  5. The first person to cross the finish line wins and becomes the new traffic light.

Ship Shore

A fun and creative take on the traditional game Simon Says.

To Play:

  1. Identify one person to be ‘it’ or the “Captain”. This person will call out the commands to the group. If any of the players do an incorrect action or do an action without the Captain first saying “Captain says…”, then they are out.
  2. The Captain will call out in any random order the commands below. Remember – Players must hear the Captain shout out “Captain says…” for participants to do the action! The Captain can also choose to not say “Captain says…” to try to trick the players.
  3. Commands include:
  • Ship – All players move toward the ship (pre-designated as one side of the playing area)
  • Shore – All players move toward the shore (pre-designated as opposite side of the “Ship”)
  • Captain Coming – Each player must gesture a salute and hold the solute until the leader calls “At ease”.
  • At Ease – All players put their hands to their sides and remain “at ease” until the next action is called.
  • Hit the Deck – All players lay down in a prone position on their bellies.
  • Octopus – Players lay down in a supine position on their backs while waving their arms and feet into the air.
  • Person Overboard – A 2-player command. One individual gets down on their hands and knees while their partner put one foot on their back and mimics gestures as though they are looking into the far distance.
  • Three in a Boat – A 3-player action. Three players get in a line and squat down as though they are rowing in a boat while singing the song “Row Row Row Your Boat”.
  • Crow’s Nest – A 3-player action. Three players come together with their back against one another and lock arms.


Assorted sidewalk chalk can turn this simple activity into a creative and colorful game perfect for 1 or more players.

To Play:

  1. Using sidewalk chalk, on a flat surface draw a hopscotch course with a series of connected squares, each numbered 1-10.
  2. Each player will need to find a tossable marker. A small rock or coin usually works best but feel free to use your creativity.
  3. The first player will toss their marker on the 1st square. The marker must land within the lines of the 1st square without bouncing out or touching the line.
  4. The player then hops through the course using one or two feet but skips the square with the marker on it.
  5. Once the player completes the hopping sequences, the player continues his or her turn or the next player continues by throwing their marker on the next numbered box and continuing the hopping pattern.
  6. The winner is the first player to successfully throw her or his marker into each numbered box (1-10) and hop through all boxes in each sequence.
  7. A player will lose a turn if a player’s tossed marker lands on a line or bounces out of the numbered box, if a player steps on a line when hopping through the sequences or if a player loses her or his balance.