Australian children's games

Written by greg stone
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Australian children's games
Australian children games often come from a rich history. (Ezra Shaw/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Children in Australia play a variety of games, many of which are similar to games played by children across the world, such as soccer and rugby. Other games, however, come from a rich history dating back hundreds of years. Aboriginal tribes created various games for children that have evolved into games still played by Australian children today.

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Children historically played this game using the dried kai fruit as the ball. In modern times, children use a small beach ball or sponge ball. Players stand or kneel in a circle about a 3 feet apart. They take turns hitting the ball in the air with their palms, usually in an underhand motion. The cooperative game teaches both eye-hand coordination and teamwork. Children often call out letters of the alphabet while playing, attempting to make it all the way through the letters before the ball drops.

Down Down Down

Children throw a tennis ball back and forth. When one child drops the ball the others call out, "Down on one knee." The child must then drop to one knee and continue throwing and catching the ball. After he drops the ball again the others call out, "Down on two knees." After a third drop he must go down on one elbow, then finally two elbows before being put out of the game. Play continues until only one player remains.

Stuck in the Mud

In this Australian version of tag, players must freeze when touched, with legs apart. They can only get back in the game when another player slides between their legs. The game continues until all players are frozen except the tagger. The last person frozen gets to be the tagger for the next game.


One player called the puuny or march-fly runs around a safely marked area blindfolded. She tries to tag the other children, who must stay in the clearly marked area. The first child to be caught becomes the new puuny, and the game continues.

What's the Time Mr. Wolf

Mr. Wolf stands with his back to the other children, who start out lined up about 20 steps away. The children call out, "What's the time, Mr. Wolf?" He turns around and says, "It is eight o'clock." The children must all take eight steps toward Mr. Wolf, who turns back around. At some point when asked the time, Mr. Wolf turns around and says, "It's dinner time!" He then runs at the other children, who rush back to the starting line. Each one he touches must sit out the game until only one child remains, who becomes Mr. Wolf for the next game.

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