National Play Resource Centre

Playground Games

Children really enjoy playing games.  Games encourage the taking of turns, confidence, new skills and the opportunities for much needed exercise.

If they are well organised they provide a safe environment for testing out skills and showing off our strengths. Many games have been played for centuries and games from differing parts of the world are very similar.  Tag exists in some form in most cultures.  We would like to offer suggestions for games that can be played in the school playground, after-school or play scheme.  If you have any others let us know:

Dragons Tail

Mark out an area on the playground or hall floor.  This is the playing area (approx. 6 m x 4 m is needed).  Divide the children into groups of three ask them to form a chain by holding onto the waist of the child in front.  The lead child is the head of a dragon.  A cloth is placed in the waistband of the third child (a tea-towel or kerchief works well) this is the Dragons tail.

Two ‘Dragons’ are chosen to enter the playing area.  The aim of the game is to take the other dragons tail before they take yours.  The winning dragon stays on and ‘fights’ again.  If the Dragon breaks up or steps out of the circle they are out.

Mill and Grab

This game can be played with a large number of children. The only limitation is the amount of space available and how loud you can shout.

The children are all together in a group you shout ‘one’ everyone has to stand on their own. If you shout ‘two’ the children has to get into pairs. If you shout ‘three’ the children have to get into groups of three. Call out numbers of the size of group that you want the children to get into. You can play for along time without any one being ‘out’. The ones who do not make it into a group can be told to do three press-ups or tuck jumps. At an appropriate time children can be out if they do not get into the right group and this can carry on to you have a winner. When you have finished start again.


Ask children to get into pairs one boy one girl.

Groups with at least two boys or two girls And so on.

There are more games that you can download on the Playday 06 and the Downloads pages!

Copyright (c) 2006 - IPPA, the Early Childhood Organisation