Few data exist on gender‐typed and gender‐segregated play in hunter‐gatherer societies, despite their unique demographic and cultural features which may influence children’s gendered play. Using naturalistic observations of Hadza (N = 46, 41% female) and BaYaka (N = 65, 48% female) hunter‐gatherer 3‐ to 18‐year‐olds from Tanzania and the Republic of Congo, we showed that access to playmates was negatively associated with playing in mixed‐gender groups. Young boys did not engage in more rough‐and‐tumble play than girls, but adolescent boys participated in this type of play more than adolescent girls. Children were also more likely to participate in work‐themed play which conformed to gender norms within their society. Findings are discussed within the context of gendered division of labor, child autonomy, and demography.