Children PlayingEveryday I am blessed with the opportunity to see and meet so many wonderful people. Of all of those that I have come to know in one fashion or another, I’ll admit that my favorite are the “little people.” Children have this amazing gift of reminding us of things we used to love to do, eat, and play when we were young. My fondest memories are those that include traditional Italian children’s games we played. Reminiscing inevitably stirred up many happy times and inspired me to share some of my favorite traditional Italian childhood favorites with all of you.

Guardie e Lardi (Cops and Robbers):

This game requires 2-14 players. There should be two teams with the same amount of children on each side. One side are the cops that protect a treasure. The opposite side are robbers who attempt to steal the treasure. The object of this game is for the robbers to pretend they have the treasure while the cops run after them.

Once the cops tag or catch a robber, they are required to take that person back to the police base. A base can be any object, such as a fence, tree or building. The robbers have their own version of a base where they are safe from the police.

Now here’s the fun part!

If one of the free robbers are capable of sneaking into the police base, that robber is allowed to free other robbers. Once all of the robbers are arrested, the police win the game. If the robbers rescue one another without getting captured, they become the winners.

Lupo Mangia Frutta:

This fun game is often referred to as the “fruit-eating wolf’. Just like Piovra, 5 kids are needed in order for this game to work. One kid plays the wolf while the other kids are fruit. The kids are only allowed to reveal what fruit they are to other ‘fruits’ in the game. Every kid should be a different type of fruit to avoid confusion.

All of the fruit players are required to line up (side-by-side). The wolf stands about 20 steps away from the fruit line.

The wolf yells out to the fruit, “Knock – Knock.”

The fruit players shout: “Who is it?”

The wolf says: “It is the fruit eater wolf.”

The fruit shout out: “What fruit are you looking for?”

Then the wolf names a fruit. If one of the kids are the fruit that was just called, then he/she must break free from the wolf without getting caught. If the kid gets caught, he/she becomes the wolf. If the wolf is not able to catch the fruit, the child remains the wolf.

Strega Ghiaccio (Ice Witch):

The object of this game is for a child to become a witch, who chases after other kids in order to freeze tag them. Once a child becomes frozen (at least three times) he/she becomes the witch. The rules of the game? The witch is forbidden to stand close to the players to freeze them.

The kids are allowed to decide ahead of time how long they are allowed to stay frozen before they can move. In order for this game to work, there must be at least 3-7 children.


This is one of the most fun children’s games around. In order for this game to work, there must be 5 players. A child is selected as the octopus. As the octopus, he or she stands still while the other kids stand around 20 steps away. At one time, all the kids run towards the octopus and desperately try not to be captured.

The octopus is only allowed to move horizontally to tag the other participants. Once a child has been tagged, he/she becomes frozen and is now demoted to a baby octopus. The baby octopi is only allowed to swing his/her arms to catch other players. When all of the kids have been captured, the first child that was captured now is now the new octopus.

I hope that you enjoyed reading through my list of favorite Italian children’s games and will inspire you to try playing them with your own children!

Warmest regards,