Many of us grew up playing outdoor games like Hide-and-Seek, Kick the Can and Capture the Flag. Now that we are grown up, we can pass them on to our children and enjoy watching them play and learn as they run, jump and hide. We thought sharing the history behind these three beloved outdoor games would be a fun trip down memory lane. Come along!


According to, this game originated from a Greek game called “apodidraskinda.” It was mentioned for the first time by a second century Greek writer named Julius Pollux.The game of apodidreskinda is the earliest known example of the game of hide-and-seek and was played exactly as it is today, with one player closing their eyes and counting while the other players hide. This game was also found in an early painting discovered at Herculaneum, dating back to about the same time.

Kick the Can

Kick the Can was a very popular children’s game in the first half of the twentieth century. It is difficult to know for certain where it originated, but we do know that it became very popular in the 1930s during the Great Depression. As it did not require expensive equipment or a special field to play on, it could be played anywhere – a nearby field, someone’s backyard or even a park. A used can was usually found in the garbage and filled with rocks so that it would make noise when it was kicked.

Capture the Flag

Capture the Flag is a well known game comprised of two teams with the object being to capture the opposing team’s flag. It is believed that the game’s history began on the battle field. In battle soldiers knew that the war would be over only when the enemy’s flag was captured. The number of casualties did not determine the winning side; it was only when the opponent’s flag was secure that the war was officially over. During the Civil War, soldiers known as color guards and color bearers were appointed the duty of guarding the flag. Color guards who did their duty of protecting their own flag or successfully capturing the enemy’s flag were awarded the Medal of Honor.

Now that you’ve learned more about the history of these classic outdoor games, share the memories and head outside with those you love.