#69 Games you made up when you were a kid

Let’s turn off the TV, put away the board games, and toss the deck of cards in the trash.

Yes, it’s time to play all the made up games you played as a kid. Let’s chat about some of the greatest:

• Erupting volcano (also known as Snake Pit or Shark Tank). Here’s where you pretend the floor is covered in molten lava and you have to jump across the furniture without falling in. Sweatsocks on slippery coffee tables, ottomans with wheels, and top-heavy bookcases can be dangerous. House rules dictate whether riding the Golden Retriever across the room is allowed. Either way, I’m pretty sure you can use a blanket as a life raft to get to dinner.

Kitchen Rock Band. Grab all the pots and pans you can find, steal a handful of wooden spoons, and set up your kit on the cold linoleum floor. Now most makeshift kids bands are all drums – or percussive ensembles, if you will – so bonus points are awarded for anybody bringing in new instruments. Tip: Rubber bands over empty tissue boxes add a banjo section.

Indoor baseball. Never popular with the parents this is where you simply swing a mini baseball bat at a tennis ball in the front hallway. Feel free to set up a GI Joe and Cabbage Patch Kid stadium seating area, create bases around the house, and keep playing until something shatters.

Cardboard roll swordfights. Remember those long and thin cardboard rolls left over when mom finished wrapping the Christmas presents? Those were perfect for trumpeting announcements around the house, practicing robot voices, or using as pirate telescopes. After that they made for great lightsaber duels, Robin Hood swordfights, or gentle beating sticks. Finally, after a giant whack to your brother’s forehead caused them to spiral apart it was time for some nun chucks battles. Everybody wins.

Any game involving leftover cardboard. Yeah, speaking of leftover cardboard, the holy grail of made up childhood games was when your parents got something delivered in a giant cardboard box. A new fridge or oven could meant months of fun inside a new basement stronghold.

Store. Here’s where you empty out your kitchen pantry, put everything on the floor, and sell it back to your parents.

Yes, made up games you played as a kid let creativity roam wild to the outer edges of our brains. Rules are invented and changed, action takes over the living room, and big-eyed fun, screaming smiles, and sweaty foreheads crash together in a great big bang on Saturday afternoon.


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86 thoughts on “#69 Games you made up when you were a kid

  1. Oh man, these were AMAZING. A few weeks ago a friend and I were choreographing a sword fight for our Peter Pan adaptation of Richard III, and it quickly devolved into the most amazing wrapping-paper tube fight I’ve had in years. It’s amazing how epic they can become when you actually know some moves…

    1. Love that you included the “store” I was only telling my friends last week that this was my favorite game when I was a kid!

  2. My parents had bought a bulk package of paper towels, so naturally my sisters and I set them up as a bowling alley with a soccer ball. Oh, and we had mega hide and seek, where the “it” person had to follow a chain of clues hidden around the house that would eventually lead you to the hiding spot. It was a very advanced game.

    1. I used to do something similar with my brother but we would hide an object and leave clues for the other person to find it. I loved it! Honestly, I still love it…

  3. My favourite was one my brothers and I used to play on long car rides, strapped into our seat: “Prove the Other Isn’t Dead”. Taking turns being the dead person, we had to prove that the person, who would try to stay as motionless as possible, was in fact alive, by eliciting a smile, a laugh, and a (significant) movement, all while not moving from our own seat… great times

      1. i do that alot but i walk along the top untill it falls backward. the person who is on it when it falls is out. it go’s on untill one person is left standing.

  4. I loved when my parents got a new fridge. My brother and I used the cardboard box in tandem as a hybrid treadmill/hamster wheel on the floor. Super epic.

  5. We liked to pretend that our parents were monsters and they weren’t allowed to see us or we would die. The fact that they weren’t in on this game made it even better when we keeled over on the floor doubling with mocked pain. The best deaths got bonus points (obviously)

  6. I laughed out loud at Store…did it exactly as described! Hey, I fattened up my piggy bank that way. :) Cardboard was soooo terrific! Giant boxes, tubes, etc. were full of possibility.

  7. Sea Monster in the back yard. Cherry tree was the underwater store. Pear tree was the monsters home. The porch was the ship and whomever in the neighborhood really didn’t feel like playing was the boat captain. It was always the same game. Someone would swim off the boat to the store and the sea monster would try and catch them. If they got caught someone from the ship had to try and rescue them. The whole neighborhood would get involved and we played this for years. Never got old.

  8. Reblogged this on Lilywhitewash's Blog and commented:
    Omg, weird and completely freakin cool. My 8 year old just came from outside playing with her friends to check in. I asked what they were playing and she said Lava. So I asked what that was and she said they pretend the ground is covered in lava and the have to do like an obsticle course without touching the ground or they will get burned up by the lava. So they traverse our communities playground equipment without touching the ground.
    It reminded me of a very similar to a game I used to play as a child in my livingroom at home. I would throw all of the couch cushions and pillows on the floor and jump from pillow to pillow to cushion to couch and back and forth around and around. I would pretend that they where little islands and the floor was shark infested water. If my feet touched the floor than I would be the instant victim of JAWS. Lol, awesome memory.
    The crazy part is, as soon as she explained her game then set off back to play outside with her friends I went back to reading and skimming articles of the blogs I follow. The first one I seen was this one from 1000 awesome things. OMG, wild! I love when this kinda odd coincidence happens. What a cool feeling. Anywho, I figured I would reblog their post. Enjoy

  9. The game we were totally the first inventors of, EVER… “I’m just a singer in a rock and roll band!” And, nothing says, “I wanna hold your hand”, “I’m a believer”, and “I think I love you” better than a vacuum wand, hair brush and wooden spoons on tupperware drums in front of a picture window stage! Good times! REALLY some of THE BEST!

    1. Ok. I said I wouldn’t do this, but I think it’s out of my control So for your coffee break, singing, dancing and listening pleasure, I give you a classic awesome…

    2. Yes! The whole neighborhood was in our band and we usually sang something from the Monkees or The Partridge Family. Hours were spent looking for things that could be used as guitars, tambourines, keyboards, etc.

          1. Now that was FUN!
            I do believe we have ourselves “The triple A band!” And you are all capital A- Awesome:)

  10. I LOVE the photo of boys playing ball in front of China cabinet!
    A daycare I attended had a poster on the wall which read- “Perhaps imagination is intelligence at play.”
    So kids, go make up a game today…just maybe not in front of the China cabinet:)

  11. My friends and I had a few classics.
    Sledboarding: Using a sled like it’s a snowboard (not for steep or particularly slippery slopes). The ditch made an excellent training slope, especially before we were allowed to go to the school field, which had a great big hill with trees around it.
    Space Training: Someone would lie in our little plastic wagon and the rest of us would push them into the aforementioned big cardboard box, knocking over mini skittles on the way. Then we graded each other on things like posture, number of skittles knocked over, keeping our eyes open, and not screaming. What exactly we thought that had to do with space travel is beyond me…
    Sitting on the Slide: Exactly what it sounds like. We would all sit, one above the other, on the slide in their backyard swingset. I honestly can’t remember why, but we used to do it all the time.

    And you know what, I would happily play all those again today.

  12. The swingset was the door into the other universe (which was probably heavily inspired by Labyrinth). Clothes pegs were magic, colour-coded keys by which to complete specified tasks to get back into the correct universe.

    You mean kids don’t do this kind of stuff now? Sucks to be them.

  13. Four words that make a mother cringe while trying to relax in a tiny hotel room:


    Good times, good times. (…For us, obviously. Not so much for Mum.)

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