Playtimes is an online collection of film and audio recordings documenting 100 years of children’s songs, rhymes and games.
Steve Roud explores the wide variety of ball games popular among children.
Andrew Burn examines the history of children's singing games.
Clapping games have been a popular form of children's play for generations, Julia Bishop examines their continued popularity in 21st century.
Pretend play is an important part of children's development, Jackie Marsh examines the progress of pretend play.
Children have a variety of ways to fairly decide who is 'it', Julia Bishop explores the development of 'counting out' games.
Dr Andrew Burn examines the role of jokes, rude rhymes and humour in children's play.
Jackie Marsh explores the importance of children's play with objects
Skipping games were once the most popular games in Britain but have recently been in decline, Julia Bishop explores the rise and fall of skipping games.
Steve Roud explores the enduring popularity of chasing games.
The way children play can be greatly affected by numerous factors from media culture to the balance between the genders in the playgroup; the following short videos examine some of these topics.
Singing and dancing games have been popular for generations.
Ball games are, of course, a test of skill and coordination in all playgrounds, but they’re also part of a long cultural history.
Michael Rosen introduces the tradition of running around games.
A recording featuring the jokes ‘Tarzan in the Jungle’, ‘Donald Duck’ and ‘Popeye the Sailor Man’.
This film explores the fun and complicated 'singing and dancing games' that children play.
This footage, filmed in 1947, demonstrates the way in which children’s play so often imitates the world surrounding them.
A short recording of the game 'conkers'
View an animation exploring the tradition of clapping games on the British Library website.
This footage was filmed in Edinburgh in 1951 and features a group of boys singing.
A 9 year old demonstrates one of her favourite jokes
Doctor Rebekah Willett explores how children bring imaginative narratives and language into their games such as running around games, socio-dramatic play, fantasy play and singing and dancing games.
This recording was made by Iona Opie in Huddersfield in 1978.
This recording was made by Iona Opie in Wythenshawe, Manchester, in 1976, and discusses games played with whips and tops.
This group of boys have been inspired by the dance group Diversity
Explore key Playtimes themes
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