Children's Games in Breugel's 1560 Painting "Children's Games, Ranked"

Breugel, Children's Games
Bruegel, Children's Games

I understand it – but I do not want to play it

"The penalty of 'bumbouncing'" (bouncing someone's buttocks on a plank)

Catching insects with a net


Playing the scourge

Pitch and toss

Pushing a wall

Walking on high stilts

Pole vaulting

Bocce ball

I enjoyed this game as a child and it pleases me to think of this activity connecting my childhood with the childhoods of some long-dead Dutch children

Flute and drum

Playing with dolls

Climbing a tree



Wearing masks

Swinging from hanging seat

Toy animal on leash


Walking on short stilts


Playing shop

Put on a show



Crack the whip

I did not play this game and now I am seething with jealousy

Rolling a hoop

Rolling a hoop with bells on it

Mock baptism

Mock tournaments

Building a well

Riding a barrel

Hat throwing

Playing "Holy Mass"

Shooting water gun at owl


Twirling in a big skirt


Throwing sand

Blind Man's Bluff

Non-specific "playing with birds"

Making hats with twigs

Blowing soap bubbles


I have no strong feelings about this activity

Climbing a fence

Play the "knot" (essentially sit cross-legged and draw your legs up to your chin?)

Fence riding (pretending the fence is a horse)

I wish I could play this now

Mock wedding

Running through gauntlet of kicking legs

Twirling hat on a stick


Playing porter

Who's got the ball?

Riding piggyback


Lighting a bonfire

Riding a broom


The "devil chained"

Run and jump on a cellar door

Pass the baton

Throwing walnuts

Spinning tops

Playing trolleys

Flying a ribbon on a stick

Whom shall I choose?

Balancing a stick on a finger

I don't think this is a game at all


Pulling hair

Shit-stirring, literal

I don't think this is a game but I would still like to do it

Shouting into a barrel

No thank you

Making a ball out of an inflated animal bladder


Morra (rock-paper-scissors)

"The Pope's seat" (interlacing your hand with someone else's hand and letting someone else sit in your hands like a chair while you parade them around)

Teetotum (spinning top)

Inscrutable, but I still want to play it

"Raisinbread man"


Coil tournament

Floating down a river holding an inflated pig's bladder

Dethroning the king

Buck buck

Inscrutable, don't want to play it

Shell bobbin (apparently "a flying spinneret made out of nut shells"?)



[Games identified here]