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World Backyard Games for kids

4 Backyard Games Kids Play in Other Countries

Whether sunny, rainy, foggy, or snowy, kids around the world love to play outside. There are tons of exciting outdoor games played in every country. While one child may have grown up playing “Alto Ahi,” another grew up playing “Oonch Neech.” Grab some inspiration from children in Argentina, Ghana, Pakistan, and Australia and teach your kids new backyard games!

Alto Ahi

Country: Argentina

Translation: Stop There!

Number of players: no less than 3

Equipment: 1 soft ball (foam ball, dodgeball, volleyball, etc.)

How to Play: One player takes the ball and the rest begin running away. When the player with the ball yells, “Alto ahi, John” (“Stop there, John“), naming one of the other players, all the players must freeze. The player with the ball then takes three steps toward the player they named. They throw the ball at the named player, trying to touch them with it.

If the named player is hit by the ball, they now have one “spot.” They then take the ball and become the person who calls out “Stop there.”

If the named player is not hit by the ball, they are clean. The player who threw the ball and missed now has one “spot.” The same player keeps the ball and will call out “Stop there” again.

Whoever gets three “spots” must do something the group tells them to do. This is called a prenda, or punishment. The prenda can be anything from hopping like a bunny or singing “I’m a Little Teapot” to the mailman. Prendas should be funny and easy, never mean or dangerous.

After the player finishes their prenda, the game continues. The game stops whenever the players decide.


Country: Ghana

Translation: Time to search for

Number of players: one timekeeper/leader, any number of players

Equipment: stopwatch, small items to hide (sticks, stones, pennies, etc.)

How to Play: The timekeeper/leader hides the small objects around the play area. The other players should have their backs turned or be in a different area while this is happening.

When the timekeeper/leader is finished hiding the objects, they will stand at a designated “finish line.” The leader starts the stopwatch and calls out “Pilolo!”

The players must compete to see who can find an object first. When a player finds an object, they must grab it and run to the finish line. Whoever gets to the finish line first gets one point. The game can be played for any number of rounds.

Oonch Neech

Country: Pakistan

Translation: Up and down

Number of players: no less than 3

Equipment: things to climb on (trees, chairs, steps, etc.)

How to Play: “Oonch Neech” is based on the traditional tag game. The only difference is, instead of having one “base” where a player is safe from being tagged, “base” is anything you can climb on. For example, if a player climbs into a tree, on top of a chair, or onto the porch steps, they are safe from being tagged.

Down Down Down

Country: Australia

Number of players: any even number (players will be in pairs)

Equipment: one tennis ball for each pair

How to Play: Each pair begins by standing ten steps apart, facing each other. The players toss the tennis ball back and forth, trying not to drop it.

If a player drops the ball, their partner says, “Down on one knee.” The player must then get down on one knee and continue playing. If the same player drops the ball again, their partner says, “Down on two knees.” They must get down on two knees and keep playing.

Every time a player drops the ball, they must “get down.” The order goes: (1) “Down on one knee,” (2) “Down on two knees,” (3) “Down on one elbow,” (4) “Down on two elbows,” and (5) “Down on your chin.”

Extra fun tip: If you’re looking for a way to cool off in the summer, play this game with water balloons instead of tennis balls!

If your child enjoyed learning and playing new global games, check out our Early Explorers subscription, where an entire month is dedicated to toys and games around the world! Shop now.