Brits think modern kids are mollycoddled too much at school and should be allowed some more rough-and-tumble play

Skipping, hide and seek and ‘tag it’ are the playground games Brits remember most fondly from their school days, it has emerged.

A study exploring the halcyon school years of the nation’s grown-ups has revealed the break-time activities they miss most from the playground.

Other popular playground games which made the top 10 include ‘What’s the time, Mr. Wolf?’, rounders and rock, paper, scissors.

One in five fell in love with a keen-eyed, competitive game of marbles, while 19 per cent enjoyed the free-for-all chaos of British Bulldog.

The study was commissioned by Play Absurd by online casino, to mark their coverage of some of the UK’s most absurd sports, including the British Marbles Championship in Crawley. Spokesman Greg Tatton-Brown said: “School is a place for learning, but some of life’s most important lessons are taught outside the classroom and in the social mixing pool of the playground.

“Our achievements at break time may seem insignificant now, but back in the day a hard-won game of marbles or a shattered skipping record are likely essential experiences in forming the kind of people we become in adulthood.”

It also emerged more than four in five Brits think break time play helped to teach them valuable life lessons.

Overall 57 per cent think playground activities helped them to develop team working skills, and 44 per cent think it aided the development of their hand-eye coordination.

A humble two in five believe hard knocks on the playground taught them to be gracious in defeat, while 38 per cent think striving on the playground helped to make them more determined and confident in later life.

The results also revealed some firm gender lines between particular playground activities.

Games such as skipping, cat’s cradle and hopscotch were far more popular with female students, while marbles, conkers and British Bulldog were the favoured activities for boys.

Hide and seek, kiss chase and tag were able to cross gender boundaries and be popular with all kids at break-time.

As for games Brits think wouldn’t be allowed to take place on modern playgrounds, conkers was first for a ban, followed by wrestling and kiss chase.

British Bulldog and leapfrog are also activities considered too physical to have a place on modern playgrounds.

Sixty per cent think modern kids are mollycoddled too much at school and should be allowed some more rough-and-tumble play.

Playground games with more freeform rules were popular with over a third of British school kids of old, while one in five enjoyed organised games and sports more than the activities they made up with their friends.

Twenty nine per cent regularly concocted their own absurd games on the playground during their breaks.

If Brits had the opportunity to go back to their school years and do them all over again, 40 per cent would work harder.

Twenty eight per cent would worry less about their school work in hindsight, and one in four would study different subjects to follow a different career path.

Greg added: “Our study seems to indicate that British pupils, who are now all grown up, rather enjoyed the creative, fun and occasionally hazardous nature of break time play back in their childhood.

“Whether an absurd test of skill and technique, like a game of marbles, or a more physical engagement across the playground, these activities are precious to Brits all over the country and provided some of the best fun to be had in a school setting.”


1. Skipping

2. Hide and Seek

3. Tag / It

4. Hopscotch

5. Marbles

6. Red Rover / British Bulldog

7. Conkers

8. What’s the time Mr. Wolf? / Statues / Grandmother’s footsteps

9. Rounders

10. Rock, paper, scissors

11. Cat’s Cradle

12. Kiss chase

13. Catch

14. Stuck in the Mud

15. Piggy in the middle

16. Jacks

17. Leapfrog

18. Double Dutch

19. Simon Says

20. 40-40-In / Blocky 123 / 52 Bunker

21. Cops and Robbers

22. I spy

23. Ring a Ring o’ Roses

24. Pogs

25. Duck, Duck, Goose

26. The floor is lava

27. Wrestling

28. Wink Murder

29. Thumb War

30. Beanbag toss

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