Category Archives: Robins Alive game

Robin’s Alive –  Game & Story from Ages Past

Robin’s Alive – Game & Story from Ages Past

Game and a Story to Share

Children’s Games Played in Streets, School Yards and Camps for Centuries, often were related to events and stories of our history and peoples.
Here is  an adaptation to Robin’s Alive to be played by a group of children or youth. There is also a story to correspond with the game. This would be particularly well suited at a horse camp, or a storytelling with a  activity to accompany it.

( free clip art image from artwork in the Public Domain )

Originally the game can be found in “Games and Songs of American Children” by William Wells Newell, second edition 1903 and reprinted by Dover Publications 1963.

Evening Campfire time is a special gathering at any camp. Here is the perfect game for fun and laughter at  your next camp fire. This could be done in schools and libraries as well.

The Game:
In it’s original form  the players all sit in a circle. A stick from the campfire is withdrawn with the end burning. It is passed from player to player each reciting the verse;

“The bird is alive, and alive like to be, If it dies in my hand you may back- saddle me.”

The game may go back to the history of torch bearers from Athens who lit a torch at the alter of Prometheus and passed the torch along runner to runner. There is an English version with riders going to Whitehall. One version had the loser ( whoever held the stick when  the light went out to have the furniture stacked upon them.

    Here are my two adaptations:
1.) The firestick is passed around the campfire with each person reciting the line above. When the flame goes out the person holding the stick chooses another player and has to give them a “piggy-back” ride around the campfire area.


2.) version 2 for small children and indoor games. A baton or other item is passed around the circle if a player drops the baton that player needs to get up and “gallop” around the circle and make neigh sounds. Once back in place the game resumes.

The Story to go along with the Game is:

How The Robin’s Breast Became Red; I like the version in  the Baldwin Project collection, collected from Cook’s “Nature Myths”  you can read it from the link below: