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10 best old-fashioned games for children & their rules

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Always something to do for the holidays or rainy day?

Play Choice now has the ultimate activity book collection, with over 60 pages of fun coloring pages and educational puzzles.

Need inspiration for a family or birthday party or just want to do something fun together?

Old-fashioned games are great fun to play and to organize in a simple way.

We used to do it a little more than nowadays, now that everyone has younger children with us, but these are the 10 best games that we will definitely introduce again for the next generation!

Collage with 4 old Dutch games for children

Let's take a look at these classics right away:

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Top 10 best old-fashioned games

What is Sack Race and what are the rules?

Children sack run outside

The most famous old fashioned game is sack race, who doesn't know it? This game is great for young and old!

In the past, when people weren't as well off as we are now and there was hardly any money to spend, the games should cost nothing.

These old-fashioned games were devised by being creative with the things that were available.

Just think of sack races, cookie or candy bites, nail pooping, and musical chairs.

A potato sack, who didn't have one?

Sack walking is great fun to do on the street during a neighborhood party or children's party.

For the game you only need jute sacks (at least two), but it is even more convenient if you also have pawns to set a course.

The rules of this game are as follows:

  1. Two groups are created and a course is set,
  2. you can preferably use pawns that the players have to jump around.
  3. The two groups line up and the first sack runner in each row receives a large burlap bag. The first sack runners have to stand in here and they leave immediately to complete the course while jumping.
  4. Falling over means starting over.
  5. The entire course is followed and when the sack runner is back at the start, he gets out of the bag and hands the bag to the next.

The group that has completed the course the fastest one by one is the winner!

What is shuffleboard?

Man is shuffling around on King's Day

(this is an edited image, based on the original work Shuffleboard 2 from under cc on flickr)

Take the old shuffleboard out of the closet or borrow it from the neighbors. You can play this game with as many people as you want.

  • Shuffleboard is played with a shuffleboard, a wooden box with wooden discs. At the end of this box are four gates with openings through which the wooden discs fit exactly.
  • The intention is that you slide the discs through the gates.
  • Each player must try to slide all shuffle discs into the holes.
  • Each hole earns points, some more than others. Plus you get bonus points when you have the same number of stones in each box. So think about which hole you want to aim for to collect as many points as possible!
  • Add up all the points and the player with the most points wins.

This is how you get a high score :)

You can also repeat the shuffleboard several times and then add the points together, for example after three rounds and do a nice tournament!

It is also nice to place a spring in the middle of the shuffleboard with a cake or candy on top, whoever touches the feather can eat the treat.

Cozy on a winter evening (Christmas was always standard for us).

One of the best brands is Buffalo, with a number of versions which you can find here.

What is Stilt Walking?

Girl steps on a few stilts

(check out these stilts here)

Stilts are wooden posts with a height of about 1 to 4 meters.

Originally, stilt walking was a way of fording flooded land or working at low elevations.

Later on, stilt walking has become a form of acrobatics. You often see waders in parades or other artistic events.

In addition, stilts were used for tournaments and stilt walking became a game that children and adults could also play at home.

For this game you need two pairs of stilts per person (very good ones this wooden from Angel Toys) and possibly tokens for a course.

You go outside for this game.

The waders can compete against each other by covering a course and seeing who is the fastest at the finish, or who is the last to fall off the stilts.

You can also do a relay race with two groups, the group that is fastest wins.

However, this game is not nice when it is raining or slippery outside.

In addition, the age of the children must be taken into account and they must be able to maintain their balance properly.

For safety and precaution, don't take too much stilts, otherwise the game can get a little dangerous.

How about gingerbread biting?

Old Dutch biscuits


Who doesn't like games where a nice piece of gingerbread has to be eaten as quickly as possible?

For the game gingerbread biting, you need slices of (breakfast) cake and strings. And some hungry players!

  1. Cut firm slices of gingerbread and make a hole in all slices.
  2. Then thread a thread or string through each cake.
  3. After that, tie all the pieces to the clothesline or some other sturdy rope with the other end of the wire or twine.
  4. Hang the gingerbread slices at the correct height so that they can be nibbled.
  5. The game is played with hands behind the back.
  6. The one who gets hold of the cake with his teeth the fastest and gets rid of it wins!
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Mmm feast if you like gingerbread. The idea of ​​this game is a bit like snacking on candy.

How do you play biting apples or biting candy?

Snapping apples or nipping candy

In short: a super fun and super tasty game!

Candy biting used to be played a lot at children's parties. All children love candy, of course!

Even longer ago it was like biting apples in a container of water, but in my youth it was all about sweets (at least with us).

For this game you need: a fairly large container filled with water and a lot of (packaged) candies. The game can be played with or without mask.

Fill a large container with water and place some candies at the bottom of the container. It must of course be candies that do not dissolve in the water.

Packaged candies may therefore be the most convenient.

  1. The players are blindfolded and have to take turns (or compete against each other) to 'fish' the candies from the bowl of water, only with their mouths and teeth.
  2. So they have to go underwater with their heads first, which makes for funny scenarios!
  3. When a candy has been fished out of the water, the winner may eat the candy.

A nice variation on this game is to fill a container with custard, flour or something else instead of a container of water.

Be prepared for a lot of mess! Let everyone know ahead of time to wear their old clothes.

What are the rules of the Egg Run or Potato Run?

Egg Run, or Potato Run, is a game that should not be missed at a fun family party.

What Do You Need?

  • Eggs or potatoes
  • and some spoons.

The messy element of this game should not be missing, which is why the game with eggs is so much fun.

However, if you are afraid of filth, you better go for potatoes. It is best to play this game outside.

You can play the game with two equal groups, in relay form, or one against one.

  1. Set a course, then the two players take the end of a spoon in the mouth with an egg or potato placed on the hollow part of the spoon, which is outside the mouth.
  2. They should try to complete the trail as quickly as possible with the spoon in their mouth, without dropping the egg or potato.
  3. Whoever reaches the finish line first, without dropping the egg or potato while running the course, is the big winner!
  4. You can also make the rule that the person who has completed the course the most times within a certain time, without dropping the egg or potato, is the winner.
  5. If you have smaller children, you can also make them hold the spoon with their hands first.
Old photo of two boys walking eggs

(picture of

A very entertaining old-fashioned game for young and old.

Do you remember Musical Chairs?

Group of children play musical chairs

Musical Chairs is an exciting game. It often creates a lot of laughter and funny situations.

You need chairs and music for this. You also need a group of participants. The more participants, the longer the game will last.

  1. You place a number of chairs in a circle where there is one chair less than the number of participants. For example, if there are eight participants, you place seven chairs, with the seating area turned to the outside.
  2. The seven participants walk around the circle with chairs while the music is playing.
  3. When the music is stopped they have to sit down as soon as possible, the one who is late is finished and leaves the circle.
  4. Then a chair is removed and the game starts again, until there are two players and one chair left.
  5. The person who can sit in the last chair when the music stops is the winner.

It is fun to play with different music fragments, from very short pieces to longer pieces of music.

This keeps the game exciting and unpredictable. Very nice game, partly because of the music.

How do you play the Nail Pooping game?

Two kids try to shit a nail in a bottle


Nail Pooping: A fun game, if only for the hilarious name! The game requires coordination and concentration.

For the game you will need:

  • strings,
  • nails
  • and beer bottles.

The nails should be attached to the ends of the strings. Do not make the strings too long or too short.

The nails must be able to dangle between the legs.

  1. The players all get a rope tied around their waist and the string with the nail hangs on it again. That string hangs over your bottom.
  2. The players line up and spread their legs, a beer bottle is placed between their legs and they have to try to 'poop' the nail in the bottle.
  3. The person who 'poops' the nail in the bottle first is the winner.

You can also specify a time limit, for example by asking to get the nail into the bottle as often as possible in 3 minutes.

The one who can do that most often within the allotted time.

Can throwing: how many cans do you throw over?

Boy throws a ball at stacks of cans

The game we also know from the fair: throwing tin. In addition, the game is often played during King's Day and it is also a popular activity at children's parties.

For this game you need a number of empty cans, at least 6, and a ball or bag.

When you eat canned vegetables or beans, don't forget to clean and store the cans! Then you don't have to buy the game in the store.

Prepare a stack of cans on a table.

Build them up like a tower:

  • at the bottom for example four cans,
  • the next layer three,
  • the layer on top two
  • and then a look at it.

Have the participants take turns throwing a ball or bag from a predetermined distance.

You can also have the players throw multiple times. The one who can knock over the most cans is of course the winner.

Ring throw, how do you play that?

Old black and white photo with old Dutch ring throwing

You can play ring throwing in various ways. The goal is to throw the rings around the obstacles as often as possible.

For this game you need rings and one or more oblong obstacle (s) around which the rings have to be thrown.

As obstacles you could use cones, sticks, pawns, or just soda bottles.

Make sure the rings are big enough for the obstacles.

Place five water-filled soda bottles or other obstacles and have each player throw five rings around the obstacle from a distance.

Whoever throws all five rings around the obstacle first is the winner. This game involves precision and also some luck of course!

Are old-fashioned games still the best kind of games?

Whether old-fashioned games are the most fun type of games depends on personal preference and the occasion. Old-fashioned games certainly have their charm and nostalgia, and they can be a fun and traditional way to spend time with friends and family. They can create a feeling of connection and coziness.

However, the definition of 'fun' varies from person to person, and modern games also offer a lot of fun and variety. So it depends on the taste of the participants and the type of experience they want to have. They can certainly be a good addition to the list of games to play with kids at home and can certainly be a great choice for certain occasions and people, but they are not necessarily the only fun option.

Always something to do for the holidays or rainy day?

Play Choice now has the ultimate activity book collection, with over 60 pages of fun coloring pages and educational puzzles.

Joost Nusselder, the founder of is a content marketer, father and loves trying out new toys. As a child he came into contact with everything related to games when his mother started the Tinnen Soldaat in Ede. Now he and his team create helpful blog articles to help loyal readers with fun play ideas.