Old School Childhood Games and Toys in Singapore - TheWackyDuo.com - Singapore Lifestyle Portal

Old School Childhood Games and Toys in Singapore

Remember the good 'old' times?

There was a period where games meant more than just iPad apps. We give you a snapshot of these games that were enjoyed by the children of Singapore in the 80s. This is the period where life is much simpler and everything is about pure fun.

No internet, no xbox, no Ipad, no star hub, no Mio TV, no YouTube ...just the company of friends and siblings to share a game or two to be entertain.

How many of these games and toys do you play or pass on to your child today ?

50 Old school childhood games and toys

Played indoors or outdoors. No electrical plugs required. Hours of fun guaranteed!

1) Police and Thief

This is probably the game most primary school kids play. It is also one where you learn about teamwork and individual roles. Other variations include catching and 'hide and seek'

How to play
Form 2 groups, one police and the other thief. Find 2 trees a distance apart for your stronghold. Police will catch thief and place in the 'prison' . Thieves will attempt to save the buddies caught.

2) Hopscotch

Got a chalk? If yes, game is good to go anywhere.

How to play
Draw 10 boxes as above. Number them. Take a stone( or any small object) and throw into the box. Jump or hop through the open boxes to retrieve the stone. Rules can vary , refer here for a guide.

3) Goli (Marbles)

It would not be difficult to find them in the pockets of primary school kids back in the 80s. A favourite recess time game.

How to play
Draw a circle in the sand. Play with 2 or more opponents to attempt to knock the goli out of the circle. You must contribute your golis to the pot. Winner will be the one with the most goli and sometimes get to keep his winnings!

Other variations applies.

4) Hatam Bolah

One of the best workout game for kids. However it is also one that provides the most bruises.

How to play
Just take a tennis ball, hit anyone. The next one who picks the ball up does the same. Don't ask me why we did it, but it was deliriously fun back then. I think if the same game were to be played today in school, it would probably raise a lot of heckles from the parents ( the same people who used to play this game ) especially if the precious got hurt in this game.

5) Chaptek
Feathers mounted on a rubber weight, this game test your leg - eye coordination.

How to play
Rules are simple. Keep the Chaptek on the air with your feet. You can play it in a group or by yourself. The one that keeps the Chaptek in the air the longest or for the most hits wins!

6) Void deck/ Basketball court soccer

Soccer has been a game played by many in the past and today. The favourite hunt of the past would be basketball court or void decks. Void deck soccer is disappearing but you still can catch 'uncles' having their weekly scorcher fix at neighborhood basketball court .

How to play
Form 2 teams . Designate a goalpost on opposite side . The objective is similar to soccer, just score as many as possible!

7) String game (The Cat Cradle's game)

This game is played with a string and 2 people.

How to play
Each takes a turn to create a pattern after taking over the string from the other. The one that ran out of ideas loses.

8) Zeropoint

There are more things you can do with rubber bands than just using them to tie plastic bags. Gather a whole lot of rubber bands, tie them together to form a long rope and you are ready for a game of Zeropoint.

How you play

You need a minimum of three players. Jump across the rope successfully without touching it. It will be raise higher for subsequent jumps. Once you touch the rope, you lose your turn.

9) Rubber band shapes

You just need one or two rubber bands for this game

How to play
This is more like a magic show rather than a game. You make shapes like stars or alphabets like L ,M to wow your audience. For the pros , use 2 rubberbands to make an aeroplane.

10) Slap hands( Red hands ) game

Fancy getting your hands slap? This game is considered 'violent' in today's standard , but it was one that test ones agility and reaction.

How to play
Play your palm above your opponent. The one with the hands on the lower side will attempt to slap the other's hand. Roles will reverse when the slap misses. The defender has the right to move the hands to dodge the attack.

An alternate way to play is for one to clasp both of his/her palms together . The opponent will do the same. Face each other and one will attempt to hit the hands of the other. Roles change when one is able to foil the attacker.

11) Scissors , paper , stone

This game needs no introduce. It is still played today to settle some decisions.

How to play
Usually played between 2 person. Stone wins scissors, scissors cuts paper, paper covers rock. First to 10 wins!

12) Spy Games

Heard of the F language , no not the vulgar kind. Afterall this is a family blog. Try decipher this I fi am Fm ha fa ppy fpy.

Give up?
It is I am happy. Just add the letter F to every syllabus and say it after the original. It is easier than it sound. With practice, you can communicate effectively.

Other spy games includes writing in wax ( invisible ink) and secret communication codes. It was popular especially when 007 movies where blockbusters back during the era.

13) Five Stones

This ancient game has been around for generation. Originated using stones (hence the name five stones) , it is commonly played by kids using 5 mini bean 'stones' instead.

How to play
Can be played alone or in groups. You attempt to catch the stones in a define sequence.
For the rules of the game, refer here.

14) Flag Eraser Game
Remember erasers with flags. Other than using it to correct mistakes in schoolwork, students also use them to pit their 'tossing skills'

How to play
Try to overcome the opponent by tossing the eraser on his/her. If it lands on top, you win. If play for keeps, prepare a bag of erasers if your skills are not up to par.

15) Kuti Kuti
These are tiny colourful plastics that came in forms of animals or flowers.

How to play
Similar to flag eraser, you toss the piece over the opponent's piece and win if it landed on it. Usually one has a bagful of these for such 'battles'.

16) Bottle cap game

There was a time when drinks came in a bottle. Along with it, you get to keep the bottle caps ( if you ask the store owner nicely)

How to play
Another variation of kuti kuti and flag eraser. Same rules as the above.

17) Pick up Sticks
These are not tooth picks. Rather they are coloured sticks similar to satay sticks. Comes usually in a bunch and denoted by different colors, the game challenges you to pick up sticks without touching another.

How to play.
Use fingers or won sticks to help you pick the sticks. Your turn stops when you disturb another stick. Colour coded sticks can also be use to count points instead of sticks. The object of the game is to pick the most sticks or points if you are using the colour coded format.

18) Animal Chess
Animal chess is the kids version of Chinese chess. You use animals instead of the usual pawn, kings, queen chess pieces.

How to play
There are rules on which animals are stronger than the other. The stronger ones are allow to 'eat' the weaker ones. There are also 'rivers' on the board that selected animals can cross. The objective is to have one animal in the stronghold or eat up all the opponents animals. Moves are simpler than chess, simply move up/down/left/right with selected pieces such as lions and tigers allowed to jump over the river.

19) Aeroplane chess

Another favourite 'chess' is the aeroplane chess. It is similar to snakes and ladders. There are spots on the board where you are allowed to 'fly'. Min 2 and max 4 players.

How to play
Simply roll a dice to move the aeroplanes. First to get all the planes 'home' wins. However to leave the 'hanger' you must roll a one or six ( Rules may vary with different players)

20) Card games ( Old maid , Donkey, Snap)

digitalreflections / Shutterstock.com
Hear of Old Maid Donkey or Snap? They are card games designed for kids. Each have their own set of rules. Hours of fun guaranteed! Minimum 2 players
How to play Old maid
How to play Donkey
How to play Snap

21) Tic Tac Toe

Fancy killing time while waiting?
Just take a piece of paper and pencil and you are ready for Tic Tac Toe with a mate.

How to play
Draw 2 vertical and 2 horizontal lines as above. Each player alternates a turn to draw his selected shape ( circle or cross) on the empty space. The winner will be the one who Is able to make 3 shapes in a row.

22) Snake and Ladder
This is a popular board game among groups of kids. Just grab a dice and you are ready to go.

How to play
Take turns to roll the dice and move the token around the board according to the number thrown, if you reach a spot where the ladder is proceed to climb up. If you reach a spot where the snake is, be prepare to slide down. First to 100 wins.

This is the game where kids first gets exposure to the corporate ladder and understand the pitfalls that lies within,

23) Board Games ( Risk, Monopoly, Cludeo Scrabble)

For older kids, classic boardgames such as Monopoly, Risk, Cludeo and Scrabble provided hours of entertainment. It is also a time for bonding and catchup amongst friends around a board game.Each games have their own set of rules. Some of these games still exist today in digital format. However interaction is not as robust as most of these games are played online.

The game that test your analytical skills. Beats Angry birds anything.

How to play
4 coloured pegs will be place on one side of the board by your opponent. It will be place away from your side and covered throughout the games. The objective is to guess and match the colours and positions of the pegs within 10 trys. For each try there will be black and white smaller place by the side of your try to signal if you have any correct colour sand position.How to play the code breaker game.

25) Rubik Cube
This colour coded cube is in almost everyone 's hands back in the 80s. Not everyone can get all the colours back in place once it is all mixed up. Some even retort to stripping off the stickers and repaste them to achieve the look above.

How to play
Try to get all cubes in place as above. You will start off with a cube that has mixed up colours. Only a few would be able to solve this. The world record to solve this puzzle currently stands at 5.55 seconds.

26) Carom
You need a customer board to play this game. It is a game that is a combination of pool and air hockey. Played with 2 person or in teams of 2.

How to play
The objective is to get 9 of your coloured seeds ( black or white ) along wih the red seed in the hole. First to do this wins!

27) Jenga
What do you do with blocks of woods. Pile them up together and see how makes it fall!

How to play
Stack the Jenga blocks up. It should be stacked in twos. Once stacked , each will take turn to pull a block out without toppling the structure. The one that causes the structure to collapse loses.


This is a popular card game played by many till the wee hours in the morning.At the height of its popularity, you might even hear shouts of UNO around the neighbourhood.

How to play
First to get rid of their given cards is declare the winner. Remember to shout UNO at your last card, otherwise you will be penalized.
Uno Rules.

29) Otello

A game played by 2 . Known as reversi in some parts, it is used test each other's level of wit and strategy.

How to play
Each player takes a turn to place their choice coloured disk ( black or white ) on the board, the objective is to turn as many disc to your colours by conquering the opponents disc.Rules of Otello

30) Yoyo

When someone ask you to 'walk the dog' or 'go round the world' , just simply pull out your yoyos and show them the tricks requested.

How to play
Just need lots of practice especially with tricks and routines.

31) Paper aeroplanes 

A simple paper can bring hours of fun. Simply fold them into paper aeroplanes and watch them fly.How to playThe plane that flies the furthest wins! For a better flight, add weights to the plane in the form of paper clips on the tip to the planes.

32) Longkang Fishing

Back in the past, the Longkang (drain) was a great source of guppies. Drains were usually uncovered and are found at most corners of the estate. It was a magnet for kids to do some longkang fishing. In addition drains became a good hiding place in a game of hide and seek.

33) Dragon Outdoor playground

Before we had the luxury of indoor air condition playgrounds, the outdoor playgrounds were the best spots to see kids come together and play. With Dragons and Elephants play structures amongst a host of other animals, they were a fantasyland for kids to roam about during playtime.

Along with games, there are toys that would keep the child entertain while on his own or with siblings and friends . Unbelievable but true...Some of these toys have even became collectible mementos today!

34) Building blocks
This is the toy most toddlers will play when they are young. Building blocks are a great way to encourage creativity. They also encourage and enhance problem solving. You may even inspire your child to build the tallest building in the world in the future.

Forget about electronics toys, this is the toy recommended for kids as young as 1.

35) Hungry hungry hippos
Hungry hungry hippo
One of the more popular games played amongst kids. Very easy to play, just pull the lever and see how many balls your hungry hippo eats.

This is the ultimate premier table soccer game of the past. You control the players with your fingers. Game can be played on tables or even on the floor. The mat is portable so you can place it anywhere you fancy. Football had always been a craze sport in Singapore , which explained the popularity of this game in the past.

37) Smurfs

Do you have a smurf hidden somewhere in your closet? 

You can't escape the lure of these blue things, especially when the cartoon is on every Sunday morning. Follow the adventures of Papa smurf , Brainy and Smurfette as they outwit the menacing Gargamel. It is a must watch show for kids in the 80s.

38) Matchbox cars
Aisyaqilumar2 / Shutterstock.com

Before Tomica, Matchbox die cast cars are the must have car toys for kids. Get half a dozen of them and you can have a race amongst them.

39) McDonald toys

When a quality toy comes free or cheap with a Happy meal, you will be sure that families will flock to the place for lunch or dinner. This is probably why Mcdonalds continues to have great business throughout the years. Some of the vintage Mcdonalds toys have even became collectible today.

40) Ultraman 

These giant protectors of the earth was a boy's favorite back in the 1980s. Available in 7 inch replicas, they are often engaged in battles with the mean monsters. Kids will follow the badly dubbed Japanese TV series every week and thereafter re-enact what they see.

41) Plastic army

These mini plastic soldiers are available in the 50s or 100s in bags. Great for creating a battle scene. Since they are available in huge numbers, you would not be surprise to find a piece or two around the house during daily clean up.

seewhatmitchsee / Shutterstock.com

Playmobil has been around since 1974. It was famous for its cowboys and Indians set back in the 80s. Everyone loves to play make believe with Playmobil figures. It is the favorite toy on everyboy's wish list for Christmas. 

The toy is still around today. However the popularity is waning compared to its direct competitor LEGO which has been around much longer.

43) Masak Masak


Masak Masak is a term used for toys related to cooking for kids. It seems like very kid wants to be a chef in those days. Particularly popular with girls, but it would not be surprising to see the boys join in the fun.

44) Care Bears


Initially created as characters for greeting cards, these Care Bears became popular when they have their own TV series. Each care bear comes in a different colour and has a special insignia on its belly. Wih the magic words Care bear stares, they would radiate light from the tummy to save the world! Fact : Most Care Bears gets to accompany its mistress during nap time.

45)He-Man and Masters of the Universe
He- Man
Move over Avengers... This was the ultimate Alpha male in the superhero arena in the 80s. He - man is part of the Masters of Universe franchise. Interestingly this toy was created by Mattel to ward off the success of Lucas Star Wars.

Since it was launched, parents decided it will be wise to give their child all the fun in the universe ...while he's still a child. Search your parents' storeroom , you may just find a prized He-man or his nemesis Skeletor. It had become a collector's item, so you may just have a treasure on hand.

They say behind every great Man is a great woman.
Meet She-Ra , the twin sister of He-man. She is created to appeal to young girls as how He-man dominated the boys toys market. She did not achieve the same success as He-man but she did gave Barbie a run for her money.

47) M.A.S.K
M.A.S.K Raven

M.A.S.K was a popular hit series between 1985-1988. It pits the good guys from M.A.S.K ( mobile armored Strike Kommand) with the criminal V.E.N.O.M ( Vicious Evil network of mayhem) . It features vehicles with the ability to transform into combat ready unit. Each driver also wears a mask with special ability.

It had potential but somewhat fizzes out within a short period.

48) Star Wars
Willrow Hood / Shutterstock.com

If there is one toy you should keep com the 80s, Star Wars will be it. Spawn from the highly successful space epic Star Wars, the first edition of Star Wars toys have now became the gold standard for action figures today.
If you have any of the above figure unopened and intact in its box , expect to fetch upwards of $1000 for the more popular ones.

Too bad, most kids would rather play with them than have the foresight to keep them for future returns. However it does show you can have fun and make money at the same time.

49) Game & Watch 

If there is a precursor to iPhones and iPads, Game & Watch handheld games will be one of the contenders. Invented by Nintendo, it has only one game and is usually in black digital images, nontheless you will be able to spot a kid on the schoolbus playing with one of them. The more famous models includes Octopus and Fireman.

50)Western Bar

The direct competitor to Game & Watch. Western bar proves to be such a hit that it has became a must have handheld for kids. The game play is much more advance compared to Game & Watch. There is even a boss stage where you have a showdown with a bandit. 
This is the start of a new evolution of toys leaning towards electronic and handheld. From these, handheld games like Tamagotchi to Nintendo DS to Playstation Vista and now Apple and Android devices emerged. Sadly it may be because of this evolution that cause old school games and toys to slowly disappear over the horizon. 

If we cannot fight the change, we could still play it. Have a bit of 80s in your modern phone with Western bar on Android.

As you can see, most games are simply to start and play. With the use of items around you or even with just your imagination, you could start a game on your own. 

The bottom line... We do not need iPads for our children's entertainment fix. There are many other things we could do with our children to make their lives interesting. Maybe it is time we share the games that had bought us hours of fun. Let them know fun can be found around them and not just encased within a sheet of metal. 

(Pictures are source from the internet. Links are provided to the best of  our abilities and the rights belongs to the respective websites. TheWackyDuo does not own the copyright. This post is for educational purpose and not meant for commercial use)

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  1. I played most of them games. :) But not the toys. Toys were considered a luxury then.

    1. Toys was indeed a luxury. I remember only have one or two pieces of the toys stated. Quite unlike what children gets nowadays :)

  2. wow such fond memories with this post.. thanks for writing it Daddy M! Need to play more of these with Lil Pumpkin too before I forget about them completely haha

    Ai @ Sakura Haruka

    1. Thanks Ai. I had great memories too when writing this. Just thought of penning it down before it fades away into the past . Something for the boys to know and perhaps play one of these days.

  3. Amazing list! I didn't really have toys when I was young, so I can really relate to those games that uses stationary - especially the flag erasers. I remember pooling money with friends so we could buy the box for a complete set!

    1. Thanks Dejiki! Wonder if they still sell it at the shops . Would be great if I could get a set for the boys !

    2. I think they can still be found in those old school stores like "Munch" (the one that sells biscuits from the 80-90s?) which also sells toys from that era. I also found erasers here: http://www.mtradenoveltystore.com/flag-erasers-48pcs-box/

  4. Replies
    1. Sadly my He -man is nowhere to be found :(

  5. They're all so pretty! Great activities for kids. These days, most would just keep them occupied...and quiet playing games on their ipads

    Kids' education

  6. Yes I was from that era... I played some of those games ... I even bought MASK RAVEN.. i remember my mom bought it for me.. it was quite expensive!! It was a good choice cos it was a nice car! I also bought those army soldiers... unfortunately, years later after I grew up, I made the decision to throw them all away.. sigh.. but I still have the skills to play 4 stones and 5 stones.. at that time, 4 stones was popular in my pri. sch.. HA!

  7. I remember last time there is another kind of handheld magnetic ball game also operated by batteries. Basically you control the ball to cross some obstacles. Does anyone know what is the name of this game?

  8. Hi am wondering where can we get hold of all these old school games here in Singapore. any idea?

    1. Try Chinatown Square. There is a shop next to Daiso that still sell these games!

  9. Thanks for writing this blog to bring back so much fond memories. :)
    Haha…don't forget about the Happy Family card game :)
    Some of these games can be found in carousell. Recently, I've just bought some from there. :)

    1. You are welcome. Hope to preserve this till SG100 and see how games have changed in the future compared to the ' old times '

  10. You guy are amazing. I really appreciate your effort in collecting all the information. You just helped me finish my project work. thank you!

  11. thx soo much.u also helped me finish my history group project

  12. Wow, really appreciate it. My close relatives also remember the toys they played last time

  13. While watching channel 8, the lead reminds me of the old kampong days. Find your article and really bring back memories. Thanks. If anyone can advise where to buy Kuti Kuti.


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