Street Games Of India: Forgotten Indian Childhood Games

Street Games Of India: Common Games Played on Streets

Street Games Of India: Keep Away

Keep Away
Keep Away


The spirit of keep Away has been with man for thousands of years though there is no formal record of the game before the 18th century. It was a popular pastime of the Russians, Australians, American Indians, and Italians in the early 1800s and 1900s. Perhaps as the melting pot melted, the game soaked it way into the national bloodstream of the United States. The game is played in all fifty states, and is second in popularity only to Cards, Candy and Television.


1 basketball, volleyball or piece of clothing.

Objective of the game:

For one team to keep the ball in motion without losing it to the other team.

Rules and Regulations:

Any number can play this game, but even numbers work better in a team situation. The two teams must find a clearly definable way to distinguish themselves from one another. Very often it is the “skins” against the “shirts”, which in some parts of the country limits the game to warm weather and boys.

Everyone spreads around the street in pairs, one member of each team making up a pair. The ball is tossed into the center among the players. The team that gets the ball first passes it from one teammate to another, trying to keep it away from the opposing team members.


The first way to score is when each successful pass between team members counts one point. The team to reach twenty-one points first wins.

The other method is a bit more complicated. During the game, each member passing the ball counts off a number, starting with one and consecutively increasing with each pass. If the ball is intercepted, the new holders of the ball start at number one. The game is played within a specific time limit. When the ball is returned to a team, the team continues the count from where it was left off. The team with the greater number of passes within the set time limit wins.


Saluggi: There is a resemblance to Monkey in the Middle in this game of “possession is nine-tenths of the law.” It is mostly played during the school lunch hour. While everyone is anxiously waiting to return for the afternoon session, one victim is robbed of a hat or scarf, jacket or shoe. Cry babies are target of this frolic, where everyone throws one kid’s possession around, hand-to-hand. Unlike Keep Away, it’s one poor soul against the crowd. All the other principles of the game remain until the principal arrives.

Hockey: This is Keep Away with a change of equipment. The Hockey stick is substitute for the hands and a punk for the ball. In hands armed with weaponry, the players often overexert their confidence, and the result is assault and battery.

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