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Playing the Blind Man’s Bluff Game with Kids

Blind Man’s Bluff is a popular kids’ game that goes far back. It is actually called Blind Man’s Buff, but somewhere along the line, the word “buff” was replaced with “bluff” and now many call it the Blind Man’s Bluff game.

Here are the rules of the game and the benefits of playing it, some variations for playing with children of different ages, as well as some similar games.

Blind Man’s Buff Meaning

During the middle ages, adults played this game by striking and buffeting the blindfolded player. [source]

Buffeting means “to hit with great force many times.” [source]

The modern-day kids’ version does not involve any buffeting, thankfully!

how to play blind mans bluff game pin image

How Do You Play the Game Blind Man’s Bluff?

The Blind Man’s Bluff game instructions are simple:

  • One player is “it” and is blindfolded.
  • The other players spin the blindfolded player around a few times.
  • They move around the room or area, calling out to, dodging and trying not to get touched by the player who is “it.”
  • Anyone who is caught gets blindfolded and becomes “it” in the next round.
child blindfolded

Variations of the Blind Man’s Bluff Game

You can tweak the rules slightly to play variations of Blind Man’s Buff, depending on the age of the kids who are playing or just to try a new version.

  • Instead of using a blindfold, the player must simply keep their eyes closed while trying to find and tag others. This would be too difficult for younger children.
  • The player who is “it” can spin herself around five times while the others start moving away from her and around the area.
  • Instead of the players moving around, they could all stand in a spot quietly and try not to get caught.
  • The children can stand still in a spot and call out to the blindfolded player, who uses their voices to guide him to find them.
children playing blind mans bluff game

5 Benefits of Playing Blind Man’s Buff

Like most children’s games, Blind Man’s bluff is educational and has several benefits.

1. Position in Space

This game is great for helping children develop a feeling of their position in space.

As they are dodging the blindfolded player and moving around an area with a group of children, they must develop a sense of where their bodies are, so as not to knock into others.

They also build a sense of direction.

This is part of proprioception, one of the body’s seven senses.

boy blindfolded for a game

2. Auditory Perception and Listening Skills

Auditory perception is an important skill for learning to read and can be developed with many games and activities.

During a game of Blind Man’s Bluff, kids need to listen carefully to the sounds around them – such as voices, footsteps or the sound of bodies shuffling.

They need to hear these sounds and their brains need to process what they are hearing.

They need to judge how far away the sounds are, in what direction and if the voices are familiar.

3. Following Instructions

Any game with rules teaches kids how to follow a set of instructions – a vital skill for coping in school and life.

4. Teamwork

Games require children to work together towards a common goal.

All players have to be willing, they have to conform to the agreed rules and they must work together to achieve the object of the game.

Group games are therefore a wonderful platform for teaching children about teamwork and cooperation.

children playing blind man's buff game

5. Gross Motor Skills

Being a movement game, children will build gross motor skills while playing Blind Man’s Bluff. 

The game involves movements like running, dodging, spinning and walking backwards.

Games Similar to Blind Man’s Bluff

Here are a few more ideas of children’s games that are similar to Blind Man’s Bluff.

They teach similar skills and children love them.

Marco Polo

This is the closest game to Blind Man’s Bluff and is usually played in a swimming pool, but it can be played anywhere.

  • The player who is “it” closes his eyes and shouts out the name “Marco.”
  • The other players respond with “Polo,” giving “it” an indication of their position.
  • The player who is “it” must attempt to follow the direction of the voices and tag a player, who becomes “it” in the next round.

Tag

Tag is another fun game that teaches position in space. It is also sometimes called “catchers.”

Kids need to run around and dodge others as they attempt not to get tagged.

Hide and Seek

A traditional favourite, children hide while the player who is “it” counts to 10 and then must find the other players.

Here are some fun Hide and Seek games for kids.

I Spy

I Spy with My Little Eye also uses the concept of discovering where hidden things are, but can be played with visual or auditory clues:

  • I spy with my little eye something blue and shiny
  • I spy with my little eye something that starts with a “sss” sound

These are just a few game ideas. Here are more auditory games and listening activities to practise this skill.

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