Scottish Playground Games

Updated February 21, 2017

Regardless of how much technology advances or the types of gadgets or video games invented, children are always going to need to play outside, expending energy of youth. Introducing Scottish playground games to children not only gives them new and exciting games to add to their playing repertoire, but teaches them a little bit about Scottish culture.


This game forces children to guess shrewdly and make fast decisions. The children pick one child to be the Queenie. The Queenie stands with her back facing the rest of the children and throws a small ball over her shoulder. One of the other children must catch or pick up that ball and put it behind her back. All the other children must mimic this pose so that when Queen does turn around, it's not clear who has the ball. Then all the children should shout at the Queenie, asking her who has the ball. The Queenie must guess who has the ball using the process of elimination. If she picks the person who actually does have the ball last of all, that person becomes the new Queenie.


This game originates before 1900 and its creator designed it for both boys and girls to play together. Children start by picking the name of a town for themselves. If children want to be traditional, they can select names of Scottish towns. Children sit in seats arranged in a circle except for the leader who stands in the middle. The leader calls out the names of two towns, saying for example, "From Portsmouth to Dover." The two children who represent those towns stand up and have to change seats. As they are involved in this process, the leader has to try to intercept one of their seats. The person who ends up without a seat is the new leader.


This game also originates before 1900. Its creators first meant for children to play it in a narrow lane or road, but nowadays it would simply be wise to play this on soft grass. One boy stands in the centre of the grass lawn and the other boys stand a few yards away from him on the other side. The boy in the centre of the grass hops on one foot, known as the Hoppy, and hops over to challenge another boy from off to the side. The boy he challenges must hop to the other side of the lawn. However, it is the original hopping boy's job to intercept him and try to knock him down so he will become the new Hoppy.

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About the Author

Lane Cummings is originally from New York City. She attended the High School of Performing Arts in dance before receiving her Bachelor of Arts in literature and her Master of Arts in Russian literature at the University of Chicago. She has lived in St. Petersburg, Russia, where she lectured and studied Russian. She began writing professionally in 2004 for the "St. Petersburg Times."