National Edition

13 gym class games that will make you miss your childhood

Published: Tuesday, July 29 2014 1:15 p.m. MDT

Gym class was an excellent time for you as a kid. Take a look back at that time with these 13 different games.

Jae C. Hong, Associated Press

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Remember the good ol’ days of gym class?

How could you not? Fun time with the friends, a reprieve from the backbreaking pressure of schoolwork and all those added benefits.

Seriously. There were benefits to all that gym time. A study by Cornell University found that time spent in gym class could knock down a kid’s likelihood of being obese. And being more fit overall can improve grades and educational success, too.

But some gym games are known less for their physical requirements and more for their lighthearted nature. This is a look at those gym games.

Here are 13 elementary school physical activities that we wish we could play all over again:

Four Square

Who could forget this old faithful of elementary school games? Four square pits friend against friend, brother against brother, and love interest against love interest, in a square that is as small as it is unforgiving. Not only does the game hold a number of different nicknames — like handball, squareball and king’s corner — but it also has a national organization that hosts the Four Square World Championships.


Part baseball, part soccer, kickball was a go-to for many gym classmates. Kicking a ball and running to first base was as simple as it got back then. Reputation and popularity were always on the line, too, when it came to playing this top-tier game. Better not to be known as the kid who couldn't kick it with the cool kids, right? (OK, maybe not).


Dodgeball is the kingpin of schoolyard and gym-class activities. There were multiple variations of the game — like the traditional variation, where you line up against the wall and someone throws a ball at you, or the battlefield variation, where everyone scatters, hacking dodgeballs every which way. The game has grown significantly in the United States, and it has even inspired a hit movie starring Ben Stiller.

Capture the flag

This is the game where gym-class heroes were made. You had to run across the field, grab a flag and return it to your side without getting caught. In some variations, getting tagged got you in jail. This game was all about the fast kids who were daring enough to dash through the fields and save the game for their team.


You remember the day. You walked into P.E. and in the middle of the gymnasium was a rainbow parachute. That’s when you knew things were about to get serious. From "Popcorn" to "Making Waves" to "All Change," the parachute inspired so many different activities that your hour of class time went by in a snap.


Much like the parachute, tag was more than just a one-trick pony. There was freeze tag, TV tag, traditional tag, and zombie tag. Some adults still play this game, as a matter of fact. It’s called man-hunt.

Relay races

Whether you were wearing a potato sack or hopping on one leg, the relay race was the Super Bowl of gym-class games. There was tug-of-war, egg tossing and a slew of other activities. Everyone had a role, everyone had a task, and it was the ultimate showcase of teamwork and passion, which has been proven to be good for kids.


Kids scattered everywhere. Some play the lighthouse role, others are rocks and the last few are the ships. Players had to navigate through the sea with their eyes closed, looking to avoid the dangerous rocks with the fear that they would become one of them.

Red Rover

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