Top 10 Childhood “Sports” I Still Wanna Play

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Do you remember elementary school and how all games were considered “sports”? Don’t you wish you could have grown up to be a professional scooter racing competitor? I do.

Top 10 Childhood “Sports” I Wish I Could Still Play: 


10. Tetherball
If you don’t exactly know what tetherball is, don’t worry, it’s honestly not that fun. The point of the game is to hit a ball that’s tied to a rope and make it circle a pole while your opponent hits it in the opposite direction and tries to loop it in that direction more times than you. Bored yet? Yeah I thought so.

9. Blob Tag
Blob tag was legit! At least it was when I was 10, which I consider to be the peak of my maturity. Players run back and forth across a field, or small gym space as my Catholic middle school so generously provided, there are two players who are “it” and they tag the runners. As each runner is tagged he or she joins hands with the blob and becomes part of a large tagging monster. The last player to get tagged wins. But if you’re a little homo like I was, getting tagged and holding hands with cute girls is the actual way to win.

8. Scooter Relays
Ok, anything involving a scooter is good in my book

7. Kickball
As an adult, I still enjoy kickball, if you don’t, you should probably think about the perks of a sport where you can hold a beer and still “bat.”

6. Dodgeball
I also still play dodgeball as an adult. Some may say I never grew up, I like to think I was just a mature child.

5. Capture the flag
The most competitive of all my elementary games. Capture the flag was fun because when you played girls vs. boys the girls always won, because they are better strategists. There. I said it.

4. Spud
The player who has the ball picks a category (let’s say colors) and the other players convene and each pick a color and name a “captain” to repeat all the colors to the kid with the ball (let’s pretend it’s green, purple, red, and blue). Then the player with the ball tosses it high in the air an randomly picks a color (purple) and the player who’s color was called runs to catch the ball while all the other players run in the opposite direction. Once she catches the ball she yells “Freeze!” and everyone has to freeze on the spot. She is then allowed to take two steps towards the player of her choice and peg the ball at them. If they get hit with the ball they get an “S” and become the ball thrower. The game is played until one player gets all the points to spell out “SPUD” and when I was a kid my neighborhood practiced the punishment of a spank machine wherein all the players line up with legs spread and the loser has to crawl through all their legs while the other kids spank them on the way through. I’m sure Utah has outlawed that practice.

3. Parachute games
 Anyone who says that games involving a giant rainbow-ish colored parachute weren’t fun don’t have souls.

2. Light as a feather stiff as a board
I hate to come off as a child perv but this game was a fabulous excuse to touch all your girlfriends and/or get picked up by a group of cute girls, because lezbehonest, guys didn’t ever play this.

1. Spin the bottle
I can’t claim this awesome number 1 as my own, it was in fact thrown in to the mix by my roommate and dear friend Sara Medd, who you may know as the lesbian stylist to the stars.  But there’s no competition here in my eyes. That bottle is gender blind my friends GENDER BLIND. My first kiss with a girl was not through this game but I bet it was for some of you. SPILL!

What were some of your favorite recess or sleepover games?

This post goes hand-in-hand with A-Camp’s General Sporting Activities with Croce, Brittani, Alex, Robin, and Bren (generally).

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Sarah Croce

Sarah has written 14 articles for us.


  1. I loved Tail Tag, but I can’t remember what it’s officially called. Everyone tucks a loop of fabric into the back of their trousers and then you run around trying to grab the tails off them. If your tail’s taken, you’re out, and whoever ends up with the most is the winner.

  2. The big parachute thing is one reason I still seriously consider going back to school to get my PE teacher certification.

    • In college some of my friends bought one, I don’t know where or how, but it was a really magical thing to bring to the campus yard or to outdoor concerts.

      • There was a video floating around the internet not too long ago where a bunch of kids had one on campus and were trying to hotbox it, until campus police showed up…

  3. I miss the giant parachute. It made no sense to me back then, and it still mystifies me…
    And I used to be a pro at dodgeball, I had some serious moves in elementary school :P.

    • Teacher training college was actually the first place I encountered parachute games, the reasoning is for team building and co-operation. Plus they’re just -fun- :)

    • Yes! Very mystifying. I remember the first time I saw one in 3rd grade, I was like what the FUCK is this thing, and why is it so awesome? Like, who invented it? Perhaps it was engineered to be some kind of top secret military training tool, but then someone said, “Let’s bestow this gift upon the youth of the world to offset some of the smaller horrors of adulthood.”

  4. If you ever get the chance to go to a Rich Aucoin concert (awesome Canadian, electronic artist known for being able to start a party even amongst people who don’t know any of his music and for touring across Canada with only his bike as transport) he brings along TWO PARACHUTES to play with during a couple songs. SOOO FUN!!

  5. What about swimming-pool games? Did anybody else play Marco Polo or Sharks & Minnows? Damn, I STILL play Sharks & Minnows…

  6. Ribbon wands aka dance streamers during PE. I didn’t get why the teacher insisted on trying to choreograph routines (to music) when about a dozen of us would just run around the gym crazily waving the streamers behind us. Good times.

    The secret to dodgeball: hide behind the taller kids, aim for the lower legs, and know how to catch a ball. I was usually one of the last people standing.

    Tetherball: I always lost playing against Napoleon Dynamite-like players.

    • We played a variation of dodgeball that involved more, and softer, balls. Once I was the only kid left on my team (of like 15 kids!) because I had been going around picking up balls and giving them to people who could aim really well. I didn’t notice until every started yelling at me from the sidelines, I just went on my merry ball-gathering way. Stupid PE teacher wouldn’t call Jail-Break!

  7. I remember playing Capture the Flag, but up until year 4 they called it Mexican Invasion, until they realised how obviously racist that was…*facepalm*

  8. Curb Ball, anyone? The object of the game is to throw a basketball across a street so that the ball hits the curb and comes back toward you. The real excitement of the game happens when a vehicle is coming down the street. Throwing the ball over a car and hitting the curb gets you mad points. If its a bus, you win the game. If its a cop car, you clearly win and get bragging rights for the rest of your life. However, if you hit the car in any way, its expected of everyone to abandon the game and run away.

    • Have you tried to play this game as an adult? The kids in the youth group I run wanted to play it once, and it wasn’t till then that I realized that the game has no point and has completely confusing rules and basically is an excuse to make everyone quiet for a few minutes.

      It horrified my sense of primary school nostalgia.

      • I remember loving the game as a kid, but for the life of me I cannot remember the rules or how it was played

        • Everyone puts their head down, save 7 kids; they’re the 7 that are “up.” Everyone with their head down puts their thumb up, then the 7 go around and push down the thumb of one person a piece. Once all the 7 are back at the front of the room, the people that had their thumbs pushed down stand up and guess who tagged them. If you guess right, you get to be up and the person who tapped you is back down. The “up” people continue to be up until someone guesses them correctly.

      • Yeah, I tried to teach it to a group of kids I was watching a couple of years ago, and I ended up confusing myself and they just played some game that involved yelling out colors and running in circles.

  9. Duck duck goose!!! Funnest game ever! Me and my friends still play it at festivals when we’re very drunk or otherwise not in our soundest of minds.

    I second heads down thumbs up too!

  10. We played World Cup. Basically the best form of soccer recess ever. Best friend is your team mate. Everyone picks a country to scream out/represent. Everyone fights over Djibouti. Because there’s nothing better than yelling out “Ja-bootie” on a soccer field in 4th grade.

    Oh and Wall Ball. Literally throw a ball against a wall. If you drop it or it hits someone have to run and tap the wall before someone throws the ball against it.

  11. Does AIR HOCKEY count?

    Also, speaking hockey, in my gym classes in elementary school we played “gym hockey” which was basically structured like ice hockey but no ice – and we had a rubber ball instead of a puck, and foam sticks. I was bad at it, like I was at every sport, but it was a lot of fun. I remember this really douchey boy who would always yell “NO GOAL! NO GOAL!” like there was something that should disqualify the goal – but he would do it *every time* the other team scored, even when it was clear there was nothing foul about it.

    • When we could get our hands on it, my high school chemistry class played dry ice hockey. All the fun of air hockey, but with the added possibility of frostbite!

  12. Tetherball was awesome because it was sneakily brutal, between the rope burn on your arms and getting nailed in the head by a ball that feels like a chunk of cement there was always the potential for blood.

    I rocked at Capture the Flag, I was small and sneaky so it was basically perfect for me.

    • One of my fondest elementary school memories is climbing to the top of the tether ball poll to hook the ball back up after winter break. And then giving my friend a boost to get the other one.

  13. I always felt like my arms were going to be ripped off while playing with those giant parachutes.

  14. I recently got a job as a one on one aid for a kindergartner in a wheelchair. She goes to a.p.e. (adapted phys ed) and we totally got to play with the parachute this week. It was so awesome. I get to hang out with kids all day and get paid! Loving this job, so much.

  15. Oh my god, there are so many I don’t even know where to start. Let’s divide this into categories:

    Violent Games:

    Red Rover- My friends and I used to play this on the beach right where the waves crashed so that when my someone slammed into you, you not only fell, but were also sucked into the water and wound up washed up on the beach trying to pull your bathing suit back up.

    Bang the Pot- I learned this game at a religious retreat, which I still can’t reconcile with how ridiculously violent it got. Someone would take a metal pot and spoon and bang the pot any number of times. Then the players needed to arrange themselves into groups of that number. The best part was that people would physically try to rip someone out of a group and use that person for their own team (if you didn’t have the right amount of people, you were out) or throw someone to the ground to get them out of a group that was too large.

    Games I Played with My Younger Cousins Earlier Today:

    Running Bases- Never gets old.

    Manhunt- Also known in my neighborhood as Midget Hunt because the teams were always older kids versus younger kids and the younger ones were always getting hunted.

    Games I Played with My Religious Ed Classes When I Couldn’t Think of a Lesson:

    Four Corners!- I also played this in elementary school, and like 7-up it is obviously a time-filler for when teachers have no idea what to do. Basically, whoever’s “it” stands in the middle of the room and closes his or her eyes. Everyone else runs into a corner of the room. The corners have been designated 1, 2, 3 and 4. After everyone’s done running, the person who’s “it” yells out a number. Everyone in that corner sits down. This continues until one person is left. Why was this so much fun?

    This just made my day so much better.

  16. Red Rover! I was always small and speedy and managed to break through the line when the other team least expected it.

  17. Oh man, if I could go back to 5th grade P.E class for one day…

    I hated dodgeball. I’m legally blind, so catching is not one of my strong suits. By the time I reached my highly apathetic teenage years, I’d just step aside whenever somebody threw the ball to me to get out of “jail.” (“Nope, just leave me here, thanks.”)

    Anything with a scooter wins everything. A kid in my class broke her finger playing scooter tag, but it was still a badass game.

    Capture the Flag is INTENSE. Almost too intense for me.

    Crab soccer, anyone? You get a giant medicine ball and basically play soccer with it, but you have to crab walk.

  18. Oh balls, and that game where everyone sits in a circle and you have to slap your neighbor’s hand? Quack diddly…ocious? I don’t kknow how to spell it, but that game kicked ass.

  19. Strangely, the game that really caught on in my middle school was marbles. Really. Marbles. I think it had so much appeal because you got to keep any marbles you knocked out of the circle, and also because it’s basically pool without the cues, and if you want to inspire twelve-year-olds to play a game you should totally tell them that it’s great practice for a game that only exists in buildings they’re too young to be allowed into.

    It was also one of the two games in middle school I didn’t suck at (the other was gym hockey), so I have fond memories.

    • In ours it was Pogs, wich had the same kind of appeal (gambling.) You stacked up little disks and then…threw something at it? I don’t remember what the point was, but you got to keep other people’s Pogs. They banned them after a while, and we put on a protest in the playground, with picket signs and everything. (It didn’t work.)

      • YES POGS. It ended up being banned at my school too. Last year, my (then) gf and i found my old pogs and we played for an hour. :D

    • I love marbles! I have some still, in a nice little bag. Also, Pogs. I never played at school, but my brother did. When he left home he left them to me. And then I lost most of them because I was a stupid little kid who didn’t understand how cool it would be to have them now :(

  20. I was not a fan of kickball, for various reasons. (These reasons included not being good at it, the fact that all the popular kids would kind of take it over, and that I never quite knew what i was doing. So I just kind of stood around trying to look like I wanted to be there -which, since this was in middle school, I usually didn’t- or like I knew what I was doing.

    I liked tetherball a lot more, even though I was only slightly better at it.

    Also yay scooters.

  21. When I was in middle school and we went on camping trips (as a class) we always played capture the flag. (Capture the flag also happened when I went to camp for a week at the same camp during the summer.) It was more fun during the summers, since at that point I didn’t have to deal with most of the kids I went to school with. (I liked it as much as tetherball and dodgeball and a lot more than kickball.)

  22. Crack the whip. I was a beast at that game.

    I can remember 2 games that I used to play and have no idea how to now- TV Tag and Colored Eggs.

  23. Did nobody else play Breakout? You join hands with at least two cute girls and one of your friends is in the middle of your circle and you have to keep them in while they try to break free. So many opportunities to hold hands with cute cute girls.

  24. mkay…because i grew up in the swamp, we used to play “greasy watermelon.” you grease up a watermelon w/ baby oil, put two chairs on either side of the pool (or bayou banks), the melon gets thrown into the water and both teams try to get the melon into their “goal” ie, the chairs.
    t’was a full-contact sport…

  25. Did anyone ever play “silent ball” in elementary school? It was a genius creation during which the class stood in a circle and tossed a koosh ball to each other. If you made any sort of noise you were out. I don’t have any proof, but I think we probably only played it on days when the teacher had a headache.

  26. I found one of those parachutes in the store and totally bought it.

    Also, whilst cleaning out our garage, we found an old set of Jarts – lawn darts. The kind with points on them that they don’t make anymore. Drunk lawn darts is awesome. So far, no injuries.

  27. Does anyone remember wall ball? You take a tennis ball and a bunch of kid put them by a brick wall and throw it as hard as you can against the wall, but you can’t let it bounce when you throw it and you fight to get the ball first. I loved that game.

  28. there are no childhood games that i like to play as an adult, but i do like to swing on the swings as high as i can go. :-)

  29. When I was 17, my best friend died, which was terrible and all, but in order to make me feel better my parents offered to buy me ANYTHING I WANTED. I truly had unlimited possibilities, but I picked tetherball. I convinced my dad to build me a tetherball pole in the backyard, and it was the best decision I ever made.

  30. Does the Ouija Board count as a childhood game? I still really want to try that..

  31. Bullrush anyone?? Funniest game ver may only be an Aussie thing but soo good as the one girl in my school who was comfortable around guys it was the bee’s knee’s (sarcasm I’m not my mum I don’t use that term) its where you have two areas such as a grass area and you have to run from one side to the other while the person who is in tries to catch you as you do it. You end up with like 20 kids running for their lives, another great game is murder in the dark it’s like tips but you have to walk because the lights are turned off. SOMEONE PLEASE TELL ME THEY KNOW THESE GAMES.

  32. Double dutch. I started a double dutch craze at my elementary school that got so bad I had to bring my own ropes because there were NEVER any available. And then the popular kids started taking over and I lost my ropes and took up the flip-bars instead.

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