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A Parent’s Guide to Playground Games

This summer, we spent many mornings touring playgrounds all over the metro area. It’s challenging to find playgrounds that are fun for all my kids, so they often play classic playground games to make the experience more fun. The best part about playground games is it’s a great way to meet other kids. I find it odd and miraculous no matter where we’ve been, kids seem to know the same games. There aren’t lengthy explanations of the rules. One kid will shout, “Who wants to play Groundies?” and before you can scamper up the big slide, kids are introducing themselves to each other.

Often, I’d sit on my bench and watch them tear around and wonder what they were doing. After consulting with kids, I’ve developed a guide for other parents so they too can know the rules of Groundies, the nuances of Infection, the joys of clogging the toilet.

Groundies: To play Groundies, you need a minimum of three people, a maximum of about a million. Mostly, according to my nine-year-old, you want to make sure everyone can fit on the play equipment. The group decides one person to be It. The rest climb up on the play equipment. The person who is It counts to ten while everyone gets into place. She can keep her eyes open while on the ground. Once she reaches ten, she has to find the other kids. If she climbs up onto the play equipment, she must close her eyes while she searches for a kid to tag. The kids must be quiet so she won’t find them. If she comes near, they might move off the play equipment. If they touch the ground, she can yell “Groundies!” which makes the ground-toucher automatically It. If she tags someone while on the equipment, they become It. Obvious dangers of this game include running around on playground equipment with one’s eyes closed. I suspect a bit of cheating occurs because it it didn’t, our family would probably have a fleet of wheelchairs and a wing named after us at the local hospital.