As many of us sit here working our nine to five to pay the bills, our minds drift back to what it was like to have no responsibilities.

That thought takes us back to a time called primary school, the place where you'd get away with mischief and have fun with your friends.

Over a cold beverage I met up with an old primary school friend and, before we knew it, memories of the games played in the schoolyard began to spark laughter and fondness of what being a young gun was all about.

From bullrush to marbles, here are eight classic Kiwi schoolyard games from the 80s and 90s.

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Handball/4 Square:

Sometimes a game of handball could feature more than 10 people at a time. Photo / Pintrest
Sometimes a game of handball could feature more than 10 people at a time. Photo / Pintrest

It was the game everyone lined up to play during lunchtime with every player hopeful they'd be crowned "king" when the bell rang for class time.

Handball is played using two or more squares with two or more players in each game. Usually played with four players, the game would often open up to multiple players when further squares were drawn up.

Fierce battles were fought over the course of lunchtimes with many falling victim to surprise rule changes, shocking referee decisions and stubborn people in the king's square refusing to give up their throne.

Many a friendship was lost over a competitive game of handball, and often games would be ruined if the person who owned the ball decided to take it away after a series of embarrassing losses.

Tiggy/ball tiggy

If kids weren't running around playing tiggy, then they probably are already playing ball tiggy. Photo / 123rf
If kids weren't running around playing tiggy, then they probably are already playing ball tiggy. Photo / 123rf

There was always one guy who chased the girls he fancied and another one who pushed even he tagged too hard. Tiggy (or ball tiggy depending if you had a tennis ball) could be seen through every playground of New Zealand back in the 80s and 90s.

The stable of every childhood, tiggy was a great way to show off your agility and speed.

The game would usually take you over the monkey bars, through the classrooms and across the field, all the way to the girl's bathrooms and back to the monkey bars.

When it comes to ball tiggy, many a player has suffered bruising from being "brandied".

Branding someone (the act of hurling the ball at your opponent from point-blank range) was considered a low blow and would immediately make you a target in future games.

Often players would make a rule not to throw the ball hard at anyone that's closer than 5m from you.

If you haven't played tiggy once in your life than are you even a Kiwi?

Bullrush

Bullrush was an essential at every primary school in the country. That's until it was banned. Photo / File
Bullrush was an essential at every primary school in the country. That's until it was banned. Photo / File

The classic Kiwi game faced the chop across the country throughout the late 90s and early 2000s when it was deemed "too rough" and schools were concerned they'd be held liable for any injuries to children.

The popular game was like a mix between tiggy and rugby with the those getting caught by the chasers becoming one themselves until a winner was found.

During the ban, students would play a "touch" version of the game until their teachers turned their backs and it was back to full tackle.

Girls would hold their own against the boys and it was the opportunity for the small kids to chop down the big ones.

Maybe the Warriors' lack of discipline on defence could be put down to the ban on bullrush?

Marbles

When it came time to giving up your favourite marble many kids couldn't handle it and would run to the teachers to complain. Photo / Getty
When it came time to giving up your favourite marble many kids couldn't handle it and would run to the teachers to complain. Photo / Getty

Everyone was out to win a prized marble off their fiercest rival and best friends.

Hunched down on the concrete or in the dirt, Kiwis would try to protect their prized marble at all costs.

The objective is to hit the marbles within the circle with marbles launched from outside and knock them out of the circle. A certain number of points are assigned for hitting specific marbles.

Some schools had to employ a rule where no marbles were to be won or lost after numerous tears from students who had to give up their favourite marbles. This only sent rogue games of marbles to behind the classroom away from the prying eyes of teachers.

Elastics

Elastics was extremely popular for girls to play in schools. Photo / Pintrest
Elastics was extremely popular for girls to play in schools. Photo / Pintrest

While the boys were off playing rugby many girls were seen on the courts or fields playing Elastics.

Elastics is a variation of skipping using a long loop of elastic. Two players stand facing each other with the elastic around their ankles, and a third player has to perform a series of jumps and manoeuvres, beginning with both feet within the elastic, then outside the elastic, before having one foot out and one foot in, and then swapping feet.

After the jumps are successfully performed, the elastic is moved higher and the jumps are repeated until the jumper becomes entangled. Then they are eliminated and replaced.

The game was a favourite throughout the 80s and still has similar versions being played in schools today.

The hula hoop

Chelsea Mayhew, 5. Skipping September Day at Otonga Road Primary School. 18 September 2015. Photo / Ben Fraser.
Chelsea Mayhew, 5. Skipping September Day at Otonga Road Primary School. 18 September 2015. Photo / Ben Fraser.

It wouldn't be New Zealand if there wasn't a stack of hula hoops in each school.

From trying to spin them around your body to trying to run through a moving hula hoop, hours of fun were had with hula hoops.

"Thread the hoop" was a popular game that involves standing in a circle holding hands and trying to pass the hula hoop over each other's heads and shoulders from person to person.

Often you'd find stray hula hoops up trees, around basketball hoops from students who decided it was fun to throw it as high as possible.

Knuckle bones

This classic game has been around for yonks and remain much loved in schools.

Originally actual bones, knucklebones are now mostly made out of metal. These were so addictive kids would fight through the pain of having metal pieces hit the back of their hand if it meant showing off their tricks and beating their friends.

Stuck in the mud

How could we nearly forget this gem!

Played on a court or a field, once you were tagged you were stuck in the same place and could only be freed if someone who was still in the game crawled between your legs.

There was always one person who cheated by either never stopping when they were tagged or always moving spots when they were 'stuck in the mud'.