Life | School | Retro

10 Games We All Played At Recess That Would Probably Get Us Expelled Today

There were all kinds of games we loved on the playground as kids, but sometimes you look back on things and see just how violent or kind of awful some of them could be. These 10 were especially intense, and we're not surprised that a lot of them are banned in schools these days.

Red Rover


In what sounds like a training exercise invented by the Spartans rather than a playground game, you single out someone from the other team to run at top speed and try to smash through your and your teammates' linked hands. We loved this game, but we definitely have the scars to show for it.

Duck, Duck, Goose

Star Tribune

Nothing quite beats the anticipation of if someone's going to tap your head and shout "GOOSE!" because it meant you had to sprint after them at top speed. Then again, it was kind of a bummer if you kept getting stuck as "it," or if you got stepped on by people running just a bit too fast.



The most classic playground game of all time, there were always a few kids that took tag just a bit too seriously. I wasn't uncommon to see kids get knocked down and hurt because of it, so maybe we can understand a bit why it might be inappropriate.

Snowball Fights


Snowball fights were one of the highlights of school in the winter, especially when you and your friends made forts to hide in. Unfortunately, there were usually some kids who ruined the good times by packing their snowballs with ice, like total psychopaths.

Things get more dangerous from here...

Cops and Robbers


The game wasn't exactly violent, but it required you to make a gun gesture with your fingers, and nowadays that's enough to get you expelled thanks to zero tolerance policies.

Musical Chairs


You ran around chairs until the music stopped, and then had to try to not be the one without a chair. We loved it, but apparently enough kids hate losing at it that parents have complained about the game.



The sound that those red balls make as they hit the floors, the walls, or our faces is burned into our consciousnesses like a bad Vietnam flashback. Dodgeball was a brutal activity, and while some places still play it today, they usually do it with softer balls. Honestly, it's probably for the best.

Cowboys and Indians


This has the double-whammy of both needing to have fake weapons, and also being pretty culturally insensitive.

King of the Hill


Being the kid on top of the hill made you feel like a total badass, but lots of us took this game VERY seriously as kids, meaning the chances of broken limbs and bloody noses were pretty damn high.

Punch Buggy


Anyone who grew up in an inner-city school is definitely familiar with this one; as soon as a Volkswagen Beetle drove by, you yelled "punch buggy" and the color of the car, and then punched your friend in the arm. Why? Because kids are jerks, that's why.

Share with anybody you know who loved these playground games!