Good, Old-Fashioned Fun!

Tag, Steal the Bacon, Spud -- timeless, easy-to-play games always spell good fun!

By FamilyTime


Games for sizeable numbers of players of all ages are great for summer picnics and other get-togethers. They have easy rules, minimal equipment, and - best of all! - do not require great skill. This means all ages and sizes are welcome.

These games are just plain fun.

What are you waiting for? Invite the neighborhood kids, cousins, or schoolmates over to play.

Wonder Ball or Hot Potato
This is especially fun for small children (older kids enjoy playing it with the little ones, too).

Stand or sit in a circle. Pass a small ball, beanbag, or actual raw potato from person to person. Recite a poem, sing a song, or play music. When the poem, song, or music stops, whoever is left holding the "potato" is out. Play until only one player remains.

The fun is to pass the ball or beanbag quickly - as if it's a hot potato.

When participants chant the following verse, this game is called Wonder Ball.

The wonder ball, goes round and round
To pass it quickly, you are bound
If you're the one, to hold it last
The game is past, and you are out!

Steal the Bacon
Best for a good sized group of players, this is game where the players are divided into two teams. One person is chosen to be the referee.

All players receive numbers, the same for both teams. The teams then line up facing each other across a playing area.

The "bacon" is placed in the field between the two teams. The bacon can be any small easy-to-grab item, such as a sweatshirt, baseball mitt, or cap.

When the ref calls out a number, the opposing players with the same number approach the bacon. They both try to grab it and get back to their team before being tagged. If successful, their team gets a point. If tagged by the other player, the opposing team gets the point.

The game is over when all numbers have been called or a pre-determined number of points is scored.

For variety, the referee may decide to call more than one number at a time - which means more players are vying for the bacon. In this case, the players decide beforehand who can tag the bacon-stealer (only the opposing numbered player or any opposing player).

Octopus Tag
One person is chosen to be "It." "It" stands in the center of a playing area and all other players gather at one end. When "It" says go!, the players run to the other side of the field.

Any players tagged by "It" - who can run after the players until they cross the line at the other side of the field - have to sit down where they are tagged.

"It" returns to the center of the field and calls go! again. This time, the untagged players can be tagged by the seated players as well as by "It." The catch is that the seated players can use only their arms to tag the runners.

This game can be rough and tumble and so may not be suitable for very young children playing with older, more competitive kids.

There are several variations on this playground game. All require a large, soft ball (the classic red playground ball is perfect).

All players take a number and stand in a large, loose circle around the first person to be "It." He tosses the ball high into the air as the players scatter across the playing field. At the same time, "It" shouts out a number.

The player with the called number must run to catch the ball. Once he has the ball, he yells "SPUD!" and all players must freeze.

The player with the ball can take two (or more, depending on all the players' decision) giant steps toward another player and try to hit him with the ball.

If the player is hit with the ball, he gets an "S." If the player who threw the ball misses, he gets an "S."

The player who gets the letter is the next ball tosser. Everyone scatters again as the tosser calls out another number.

Play continues until one person has all four letters: SPUD.