List of Traditional Outdoor Games of India

Games Palyed in Open Area are classified a Outdoor Games – We have classified games played in open area as outdoor games. The following are some of the games played outdoor and are familiar among the villagers and people who are above 20.

  • Hide & Seek (கண்ணாமூச்சி)
  • Kho Kho (கோ கோ)
  • Nondi (நொண்டி) [Pandi (பாண்டி)
  • Kichi kichi thambalam (கிச்சி கிச்சி தாம்பலம்)
  • Pacha Kudhura (பச்ச குதிரை)
  • Kabadi (கபடி)
  • Oodi puduchi vilayaduradhu (ஓடி புடிச்சி விளையாடு)
  • Tree Climbing Monkey (மரமேறிக் குரங்கு)
  • Anila Naaya (அனிலா நாயா)


Hide & Seek

Hide and seek is a timeless game that has been

played by children throughout the ages. It isn’t only

children who enjoy it – a natural instinct for parents is

to play a facial form of hide and seek with their

children from the earliest age, as it teaches children

about attachment and detachment in a safe and caring

environment. Leaving aside the psychology, however,

the outdoor game provides wonderful interaction

amongst children is easy to play and never gets boring.

How to Play

  • At least three players are needed to play Hide and Seek. Naturally, however, the
    more players you have, the better is the fun.

  • Set down the rules to play. If you do not set down rules, you will have people
    running to places that have valuable things in house, or may run outside when
    everybody’s inside.

  • Find a suitable location to play it may be outdoor or indoor. Outdoor location
    works best were you have more choices to hide, although indoors is fine for rainy
    days. It will be necessary to set boundaries for hiding or you will have players
    running off to too many far-off locations.

  • Determine who will be “out”. Working out who is “out” can be done a variety of
    ways, for example use an elimination word game, such as “Inky Pinky Ponkey” or
    similar game.

  • Now begin the game, the person who will be “out” has been chosen, he or she
    stays at a central place or a place behind a tree or pillar, closes his or her eyes
    and begins counting out loud to a number from about 1to 100. The number you
    choose should be based on how many people are playing the game and the
    distances to hiding spots. The more people, the higher the number should be.

  • All of the players who are not “out” should run off and quietly hide from the player
    who is counting. The person who is “out” is not allowed to peek at the players
    hiding from him or her.

  • Once the player who is “out” has finished counting, he or she yells “Ready or not, here I come!”. At this point, the player who is “out” must try to find all of the other players who have hidden. The players who are hiding cannot move or switch hiding places as the seeker may find him easily.

  • he player who gets found first becomes “out” in the next round of the game.

  • Find all the people who are hiding and start playing the second round with the person who was found first as seeker (“out”).


  • If you have younger children, you can play this right inside the house. When you hide and the little ones find you, they laugh in delight.

  • Try to find different places to hide, but do not make it too hard to find you. Younger children can become frustrated when they cannot find you.

  • If some of the hidden players do not return home before a predetermined period of time, the person who is “out” should give the universal “all clear” signal. Yell, “All, all outs in free.” The person who is “out” must take another turn as “our” or appoint a willing volunteer to take his or her place.

  • There are lots of different strategies of hiding. One is to hide in plain sight. For example if there is a table near home base hid under it: it often will not be expected and make a really short run back to home base.

  • Hide in places that look impossible to hide in (example: in a cabinet under a sink in the bathroom.) Just make sure you can get out pretty easily without hurting yourself A LOT or moving everything if you hide in a small space.

  • Hide where your body won’t cast a human-shaped shadow.

  • Play in different places every time. If you do it in the same spot (different games, not rounds) then people will remember the good places and search there first.

Kho Kho


Kho-Kho ranks as one of the most popular traditional

sports in India. The origin of Kho-Kho is difficult to

trace, but many historians believe, that it is a modified

form of ‘Run Chase’, which in its simplest form involves

chasing and touching a person. With its origins in

Maharashtra, Kho-Kho in ancient times, was played on

‘raths’ or chariots, and was known as Rathera.

Like all Indian games, it is simple, inexpensive and

enjoyable. It does, however, demand physical fitness,

strength, speed and stamina, and a certain amount of

ability. Dodging, feinting and bursts of controlled

speed make this game quite thrilling. To catch by

pursuit – to chase, rather than just run – is the capstone

of Kho-Kho. The game develops qualities such as

obedience, discipline, sportsmanship, and loyalty

between team members.

The rules of the game were framed in the beginning

of the 20th century. At Gymkhana Poona, a Committee

was formed in 1914, to frame its rules. The first ever

rules on Kho-Kho were published from Gymkhana

Baroda, in 1924. In 1959-60, the first national Kho-Kho championship was organised in

Vijayawada (Andhra Pradesh). The Government has initiated the following awards for

the game: Arjuna Award, Eklavya Award for men, Rani Laxmi Bai award for women,

Veer Abhimanyu award for boys under 18, and Janaki award for girls under 16.

Kho Kho is one of the most popular sports in India, and can be played by men, women

and even children. It is essentially a version of tag, which endows it with a few qualities

it is both simple, and inexpensive—that make the game as enduring as it is endearing.

How to Play

  • Kho Kho is played in 2 teams of 12, in a field that measures 27 m by 15 m, but only nine players take the field for a game or contest.

  • A match consists of two innings. An innings consists of chasing and running turns of 7 minutes each.

  • Start with 8 members of the “chasing” team sitting or kneeling in a row in the middle of the court in their eight squares on the central line, alternately facing the opposite directions. Two wooden poles stand at either end of this central line. The ninth player is the “chaser,” and he takes his position next to one of the two poles, ready to begin the pursuit.

  • The opponent team enter the field, in batches of three are called defenders. These defenders, or dodgers, try to play out the 7 minutes time, and the chasers who try to dismiss them within that time.  A defender can be dismissed in three ways: 1) if he is touched by an active chaser with his palm without committing a foul, 2) if he goes out of the limits on his own, 3) if he enters the limit late.

  • Chasers run in one direction around the centre line where 8 members are sitting and cannot run in reverse course, and also cannot cut across the central line of sitters, even though the dodgers may run wherever they like. Chasers have to run around the entire line (row).

  • An active chaser can change position with a seated chaser, by touching him from behind (whose back must be facing you) by palm, and uttering the word ‘kho’ loudly, and simultaneously, chase or attack is build up through a series of ‘khos’ as the chase continues with a relay of chasers.

  • After the first set of 3 defenders is caught, the next batch of 3 is sent onto the field.

  • At the end of the innings there is an interval of 5 minutes and an interval of 2 minutes, in between the turns. Each side alternates between chasing and defence.

  • Kho-Kho can be played by men, women and children of all ages. The game requires a very small piece of evenly surfaced ground, rectangular in shape, and 27m by 15m. The only equipment required are the two poles. The game lasts not more than 37 minutes.

  • A match consists of 2 innings. An inning consists of chasing and running turns of 9 minutes each. Each side alternates between chasing and defense.

  • The objective is to tag all the opponents in the shortest time possible; the quickest team wins.


Nondi is a very funny hopping game played by the

girls in many rural villages of Tamil Nadu. It is known

as Tokkudu Billa/Tangidi Billa in Andrapradesh and

Kunte Bille in Karnataka it is played by the girls in

many villages, even today. Today educated modern

girls and tomboys have forgot their gender-based

games and shifted to playing masculine games. As a

result, today nondi is in the verge of extinction.

Tokkudu Billa, a 2×4 grid, is variation of the family of

Hopscotch games.

Thing Required:

  • A coin or a small slate stone

  • Chalk piece or chalk powder

  • Flat Ground

  • More than 1 player to have fun

The aim of nondi is to capture maximum number of squares in the grid

by hopping and jumping through the court in a specific pattern without

the feet touching the lines and without putting a hand down to gain

balance. A small and flat concrete area or a sandy ground would be ideal

to play this game. The grid is drawn on the ground or on the floor and

numbered as shown above the semicircle on the top with number 9 is


How to Play:

Phase 1:

  • Stand out side of the grid, near square 1

  • Throw the stone in square 1

  • Starting from square 1 hop over the stone on your way to ‘Home’
    (square 9) and turn back and hop back to square 2 bend and pick
    the stone in square 1

  • Throw the stone in square 2

  • Starting from square 1 hop over the stone on your way to ‘Home’
    (square 9) and turn back and hop back to square 3 bend and pick the
    stone in square 2

  • Repeat the above process by throwing the stone in 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8

Phase 2:

  • Place the stone in the palm opened

  • Hop, starting from 1 unto 8

  • Throw the coin out the grid (not too far) and jump on it in hopping position

  • Repeat the process with the coin in the palm inverted

Phase 3:

  • Ask the other players for “kaaya” or “Pazhalama”

  • If the other players choose Kaai, sit down with back facing the grid and throw the coin so that may falls in any of the squares.

  • If the players choose Pazhalam, then stand up with back facing the grid and throw the coin so that it may fall in any of the squares

  • Hop into the grid, and pick up the coin as in the previous steps

  • Draw a cross in the box in which you picked up the stone. (In this box, you can rest both of your legs)

  • Hop out the grid with the stone. Now this indicates that you have captured a box.

Phase 4:

  • Go through all above phases to capture the other boxes. You can rest both of your legs in boxes 4 and 5 and in the boxes that you have captured.

Losing chances:

 A player loses her chance at any stage if

  • He/She Lands on a box that is captured by the opponents

  • The coin is thrown on crossed squares

  • The coin falls out of the grid

  • The coin falls on the lines of the grid

  • The coin slips down off the palm

Kichi Kichi Thambalam

This is an interesting traditional game played in
villages, which has riverbanks. As this game needs
sand for playing it was played in riverbanks. This game
increases skills like face reading, direction finding and
hiding things without others knowledge even if the

opponent is in front.

Things Required:

  • Two Players

  • Sand filled ground

  • Stick/shell/ Cotton Lamp wick

How to Play:

A sand stage of size 1 to 1.5 feet length and width with height of 4 to 5 inches is made and the players decide who is going to hide the stick and who is going to find it. Then the player who is going to hide takes the stick and holds it in two fingers (thumb and index finger) and insert it in the sand stage from one side of it and collects it on the other side using the other hand in such a way that the stick is inside the sand and is not visible. The player has to move the stick inside the sand, confuse the opponent, and position it in a place. The person will sing the following song while he/she hides the stick

“கிச்சுக் கிச்சுத் தம்பலம்
கீயாக் கீயாத் தம்பலம்
மச்சு மச்சுத் தம்பலம்
மாயா மாயாத் தம்பலம்”

He/she does this in such a way that the opponent gets confused and tries to find it. The opponent gets only one chance to find the stick, he/she needs to observe the movement of the hand and face of the player who hides the stick and should conclude were the stick would be and point it to the player who hid the stick.  If he/she fails then the player who hid the stick get one point and he/she will get a chance to hide the stick for the second time, if the player finds the stick then he/she gets the chance to hide the stick in the second round.

The game will continue until any one player wins 10 games. Once a player win 10 games the opponent should take a handful of sand and put a stick inside the sand and the winner will close the loser’s  eyes with his/her hands and take him to some place and ask the loser to put the sand in ground and bring him back to the starting place by eyes closed.  Then the loser should search the place where he/she put the sand in ground, if he/she fails then he/she needs to do what the winner says.

Pacha Kudhura

Pacha Kudhura is a traditional game similar to Hurdles Race. It is an ancient game played by kings and their men to develop war skills. The translation for Pacha Kudhura is Green Horse in English. In this game one player will bend in front like a horse and the other will jump over him, since one player bends like an horse, the game was named Pacha Kudhura. This game helps the players to jump over high walls and other obstacles they face.

Things required:

  • Two or More players

  • Play ground or Play area

How to Play:

This game is played in two ways

First Method

This is a very simple game to play, in this
method all the players who are interested
in playing this game gather in the ground
and stand in a straight line leaving 3 to 4 feet
gap between each other and bend, the position after they bend will look like a horse. The person standing at the end of the line should run and keep his hand on the back of the person bending in front of him and jump over him, he should jump over all the players bending as we do in hurdles. Once he reaches the last player, he bends and the other person last in the line will start jumping over others and bends once he reaches the end. This continues until all players’ jumps over others.

Second Method

In this method a player first sleeps in the ground and raise his leg to certain height and other players jump over him, in the second round, he raises the height by raising his leg bit high and others jump over it. In the following successive rounds, the player will raise the height little by little by sitting, bending, standing, etc and at one point when a player fails to jump the height he sleeps in the ground and give position for others to jump.


Kabadi is a team sport, played mostly in South Asia. The word ‘Kabadi’ is derived from a Hindi word that means, ‘holding your breath,’ which is the activity that underlies all games of Kabadi. It is most often played in underwear (Shorts) in villages and in track suits in tournaments. Kabadi was one of the demonstration games at Asiad ’82.

How to Play

Number of teams                        : 2

Number of Players per Team     : 12

Number of Players in court        : 7

Number of Players in reserve    : 5

Dimensions of the Court            : 12.50m x 10m, divided by a line into two halves

Timing                                          : Two 20 minute halves, with a break of five minutes

Criteria                                         : On the basis of age-group and weight

Referee’s                                     : 7 (1 referee, 2 umpires, 2 linesmen, 1 time keeper and 1 scorer )

The side winning the toss sends a ‘raider’, who enters the opponents court murmuring continuously, ‘Kabadi – Kabadi’ in one breath. The raider’s aim is to touch anyone or more players on the opposing side, and return to his court without losing that breath. The person, whom the raider touches, will be out. The aim of the opposing team will be to hold the raider, and stop him from returning to his own court, until he takes another breath. If the raider cannot return to his court in the same breath while murmuring ‘Kabadi – Kabadi’, he will be declared out. Each team sends a player alternatively into the opponents’ court. If a player goes out of the boundary line during the course of the play, or if any part of his body touches the ground outside the boundary, he will be out, except during a struggle.

The team scores a lona (a bonus of two points), if the entire opposition is declared out. The game then continues by putting all the players on both sides.

Matches are staged on the basis of age-groups and weight. Seven officials supervise a match – one referee, two umpires, two linesmen, one time keeper and a scorer.

Types of Kabadi

In India, Three forms of Kabadi are played, they are

  • Surjeevani

  • Gaminee

  • Amar (Punjab Style)

The ‘Surjeevani’ form of Kabadi is played under the Kabadi Federation of India, and is governed by its rules and regulations. In the ‘Surjeevani’ form of Kabadi, one player is revived against one player of the opposite team who is out. i.e. one out, one in. The duration of the game, the numbers of players, dimensions of the court, etc. have been fixed by the Kabadi Federation of India.

In the ‘Gaminee’ type of Kabadi, there is no revival. When all the players of

team are out, the game ends. So there is no time limit in this category.

In the ‘Amar’ form of Kabadi, whenever any player is touched (out), he does

not go out of the court, but stays inside, and one point is awarded to the

team that touched him. In this way, one point for each touches for the opposite team, i.e. to the team who touches the anti player. This game is also played on a time basis, i.e. the time is fixed.

In the northern part of the India, like Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi, Kabadi is played in a circle. This is known as ‘Circle Kabadi’ or Amar Kabadi. If it is played without a court, as in some places, it’s called ‘Goongi Kabadi’. The Goongi Kabadi is nothing but wrestling between two players.

Worldwide Recognition for Kabadi

The first World Kabadi Championship in the history of the game, was

organised in Hamilton when approximately 14,000 people packed Copps

Coliseum, to watch stars from India, Pakistan, Canada, England, and the

United States compete.

The Kabadi Federation of India (KFI) was founded in 1950, and it compiled a standard set of rules. The Amateur Kabadi Federation of India (AKFI) was founded in 1973. The AKFI has given new shape to the rules, and it has also the rights of modification in the rules. The Asian Kabadi Federation was founded under the chairmanship of Mr. Sharad Pawar (Maharashtra).

Some of the Arjuna Award winners are Sh. Sadanand Mahadeo Shetty, Sh. Sadanand Mahadeo Shetty, Sh. Shakuntla Panghar Kholavakar, Sh. Shantaram Jaatu, Kumari Monika Nath, Kumari Maya Kashi Nath, Rama Sarkar etc.

Tree Climbing Monkey

Marameri kurangu in Tamil means Tree Climbing Monkey. This game is an interesting and funny game played in urban areas where lot of trees are available. Big trees are not suitable to play this game; small trees with more branches are best suited.
By playing this game the players learns the climbing skill and by running, his physique is improved.


  • Six or more player

  • A Small Stick

  • Small Trees with branches

How to Play

  • Suitable trees where one can climb up and down easily is located.

  • A circle with diameter of 4 feet is drawn near the tree.

  • All the player stand in a line and throw a stick by taking it in their hand to their back and throw it under their leg by raising their leg, The player who throws the stick very near to the place where they stand is the loser and he is the ‘out’ person he needs to catch others.

  • A fast climbing person is selected as the leader of the team.

  • All the players climb the tree and hide, except the leader and the ‘out’ person who is going to catch other players stands near the circle.

  • The leader throws a stick in a distance from the place they stand, he takes it behind him, raise one leg and throw the stick below his leg.  Once he throws the stick, the ‘out’ person runs to take the stick, once he picks the stick he need to put it inside the circle. In the mean time the leader has to run to the tree and climb it.

  • Once the ‘out’ persons puts the stick in the circle he needs to climb the tree an need to touch anyone player and make him ’out’

  • Once the out person starts climbing the tree others can Jump from the tree to the ground or can jump from one tree to the other like a monkey.

  • Once they come to ground from the tree, they need to touch the stick in the circle; if they do it they are in Home and is safe, the ‘out’ person cannot make that person ‘out’.

  • The Main aim of the ‘out’ person is to touch anyone before the players touch the stick in the circle. If the ‘out’ person touches anyone then he will be ‘out’ and the game starts again from the beginning.

Anila Naaya

Anila Naaya is similar to that of Maramerik kurangu (Tree Climbing Monkey). This game
is also an interesting and funny game played in urban areas where lot of trees is available.
Big trees are not suitable to play this game; small trees with more branches are best
suited. By playing this game the players learn climbing, enhance their hearing capacity,
differentiate between animals that climb tree and the animals that do not climb tree, and
by running here and there their physique gets improved.


  • Six or more player

  • Small Trees with branches

How to Play

  • Suitable trees where one can climb up and down easily are located.

  • An ‘out’ person is selected by playing any choosy game

  • The ‘out’ person stands in a distance from the tree away from others at the begining.

  • The ‘out’ person has to say Anil (Squirrel) or Naai(Dog). If he says Anil all has to climb the tree and if he says Naai all has to come down from the tree.

  • The ‘out’ person says Anil and Naai slowly in the beginning and slightly increases the speed between Anil and Naai, so that the players move up and down from the tree quickly.

  • All the players have to do as the ‘out’ person says, If anyone fails to do it or do it wrongly then he becomes ‘out’.

  • The ‘out’ person can also run behind the players to touch them and make ‘out’ when they are in the ground away from the tree or run from one tree to another. The players escape from the ‘out’ person and jump and run here and there  and try not to become ‘out’

  • The Main aim of the ‘out’ person is to make any other player ‘out’