By Erin Barrette Goodman
All parents and caregivers know how valuable it is to have easy, fun, prop-free games in their repertoire for moments of transition or unexpected delays. "What time is it Mr. Fox?" is one of our family’s favorites. This game works best outdoors where you have plenty of room to run.
Tell the children that you are going to be a Fox and they will be the little animals of the forest. Their job is to try to get as close to you as they can — and then turn and run away as fast as they can — without getting eaten for dinner.
Have the children form a line facing you and then you (the Fox) take several large steps away from them. Â (If possible, it is helpful to have an older child or another adult join in as a forest animal for the first round until kids get the hang of their part in the game.)
Once everyone is in place the forest animals yell, “What time is it Mr(s).Â Fox?”
The Fox chooses a number (from 1 to 10) and replies, “It’s four o’clock.”
The children then take four steps towards the Fox and ask again.
This calling game continues until one time when the Fox offers a different response.
When the children are very close (and once they get used to the game, giggling with anticipation) and ask, “What time is it Mr. Fox?” the Fox responds, “Supper time!!!!” and runs laughing towards the children.
Older children often enjoy the challenge of turning this into a game of tag to determine who will be the Fox next, but with younger children we just run for the pleasure of running and take turns letting everyone (who wants to) be the Fox.
Erin Barrette Goodman is a writer, yoga teacher and mother of two in Southern Rhode Island. She is the founder of the Rhode Island Birth Network, which promotes empowered decision-making during the childbearing years, andÂ she is very grateful for her children’s wonderful preschool teachers who taught her this game!