Old and Forgotten Children Games That Our Grandparents Used to Play

Slavic childhood memories at its best

markusspiske (CC0), Pixabay

Kids like to play, and they have the imagination to make some unbelievable games. Today, children games are associated with the virtual world, mobile phones, and computers, but what did our grandparents do for fun when they were little? Of course, every country has its own tradition and recognizable games, both for kids and adults, but there are always some games that the whole world shares.

Or at least Slavic countries. When it comes to kids games, they were usually played on pasture or after school, or anytime kids had some free time. Props were made from anything that could be found in nature, such as rocks, wooden sticks, rug ball, and time of each game was relative.

Girls and boys usually played together and each game lasted until mothers called their kids to come home for dinner. Here are just some of the old games, so see if you played any of them when you were little.

Nuts Game

This is a very simple game and it is easy to learn. You need to make a pile of 4 walnuts about 10, 15 meters away from a shooting place. Each player prepares “shooter” (the biggest nut) and the game can start. Each player can shoot 1-3 times and tries to break the pile. If he doesn’t succeed, his nut is added to the pile. When he breaks the pile, he takes all the nuts from a pile. Players should have a lot of nuts because you never know whether you will win or lose. Great players can win up to several kilograms with each game. That is a lot of nuts, right?


“Basket” is an old and already forgotten game, performed with a rag ball, made of cloth or animal hair. The game was played by 5-6 players. This game is quite forgotten, so today, even the oldest people do not remember it.


One of the roughest games for boys. One team jumps on another team whose members are connected in a “chain”, heads between the thighs of the other team player. Members of a team jump on another team, which tries not to “break down”. The judge stands in front of the first player in a row, and solves any misunderstandings.

Jelečkinje, barjačkinje

This game was popular in all parts of Serbia in the 19th century and performed under different names. All members of the game are divided into two lines, one against the other, and players in those teams firmly hold hands. The game starts with one group, which ask players from other groups: Jelečkinje, barjačkinje, who you choose? Players of the other group agree among themselves and say: We shall Milan! (For example) Milan then runs out of his row towards the other team which asked for him and he tries to break the chain of the firmly joined hands (choosing a position between the players for who he thinks are the weakest in that group). If he succeeds, then he can take one player from that group to his line. And if he fails, then he remains in the group that he attacked. The winner is the one group takes to its side as many players from the opposing group.


This game was popular among children of all ages. The group chooses one player who chases, and the rest run away and try not to get caught. Running away is limited to the agreed place, but when a player who chases touch any of the players who run away, that player takes over the role and the game continues. Those who run away can find salvation, if in the course of running two players hold hands. This game could also be played outside and inside.

Bear and Bees

A game called Bear and bees was played by pre-school children. It is performed as follows: children “bees” need to hold together in a firm ring, and inside of a ring is a queen bee. Outside the bear comes roaming around the circle. The queen asks: Who walks around my house? Bear replied: I, godmother, I. Queen bee says: Do not steal my bee! Bear answered: I’m not stealing one, but all. At that moment, the bees start attacking the bear with buzzing, pinching it and tearing, and he has to run away. This game is repeated several times with replacement bees and bears.


Game “kukumiš” was played by the students in elementary school who hold hands and put one student in the middle. They tie his eyes with a scarf and let him catch remaining players and try to guess their name. If he does not guess the name, he goes back to the center of the circle and begins the game again. When he guessed the name, then he becomes replaced by the person whose name he guessed.

Older people often say they had great childhood even though they didn’t have TVs or computers. They also say kids these days don’t know how to play, but if they just took some time and explained those games to them, maybe modern children would also love them. In the end, they would spend more time outside.

What do you think?

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