The researchers are interested in how games may be changing
Clapping and skipping games popular in the school playground are to be made into Wii-style computer games for the Nintendo generation.
Primary school children in London and Sheffield will be studied for two years to discover how the way they play is influenced by the media.
London University's Institute of Education and the British Library will then design games to replicate this.
Nintendo will advise them, but has no commercial involvement in the project.
The Institute of Education (IoE) says the project aims to preserve the games and make them accessible in a new format, and to understand better how the way children play in the playground is influenced by television, film and other media.
The console games are not intended to replace the physical games, the IoE says, but capture their movements and make entertaining computer games.
The researchers are expecting the game to be compatible with the Wii console which has a motion sensor detecting users' movements, allowing interaction with the game.
Dr Andrew Burn from the institute said: "We are already seeing a migration of school playground games and songs into new media such as YouTube.
"The oral games of the playground are a form of folklore... and it must adapt itself to new conditions if it is to survive."
He said playground games are not all as "family friendly" as parents might hope.
One game the researchers had observed in primary schools begins: "I'm sexy, I'm cute, I'm popular to boot ...".
"Playground culture does have a subversive aspect and sometimes the rhymes are a little more streetwise than some adults might expect," said Dr Burn.
The researchers will also draw on the playground games archive sound collection belonging to the British Library.
This collection will be digitised and made available on the Library's website.