whatever happened to…children’s games

22 01 2012

photo credit Sommer Poquette

Without wanting to sound ancient, today’s children seem unable to entertain themselves without some sort of screen. Or perhaps that is just the children I know, and I am falling victim to hopeless stereotyping. But it seems that the only place that you actually see children running around playing the sorts of games we played when we were young (yes, I know, I sound ancient) is in advertisements for life insurance and mortgages. Both of which are about death.

So here are a few of the games I remember from my childhood which I rarely see played now.

hopscotch – great for balance and coordination

cat’s cradle – a coordination game involving a loop of wool laced around the fingers of both hands to creat patterns

What’s the time, Mr Wolf – participants would sneak up behind the back of Mr Wolf according to the number called out, until Mr Wolf screamed “dinner time” and tried to catch someone before they got back to “home”

All over, Red Rover – another chasing game where participants tried to cross a certain space (for instance a tennis court) without getting caught and being ‘out’

foursquare – very popular at school lunchtime, involved a square court divided into four smaller squares, one child in each square bouncing the ball between each other trying not to get out

skipping – self-explanatory, but do the skipping songs still exist? Tinker, tailor, soldier, sailor, richman, poorman, beggarman, thief….pepper!

marbles – a craze from year 6 – marbles. Each lunchtime entrepreneurial children would set up marbles for other children to try to knock off and “win”. Unsuccessful marbles were forfeited to the “storekeeper”.

yoyo – I vaguely remember World Yoyo champions travelling from school to school demonstrating various tricks – walk the dog, round the world, and who knows what else. I wonder what happened to them – did their careers take off from there? Is there a transferable skill there?

knucklebones – these were plastic replicas of sheep vertebrae (thought I don’t think we actually knew that at the time) which were flicked and caught from the front to the back of the hand and back again. Favoured those with large flat hands who could flick a large number of knucklebones and hence win.

I Spy – Time honoured classic for dementing parents on long car-trips.

Hide and Seek – another self-explanatory one, and a great way to lose a child for an hour or so and gain some peace and quiet….

piggy in the middle – a three person game where the two on either side toss a ball between them trying to keep it away from the “piggy”. If the piggy manages to get the ball, then the person who threw it exchanges places with them.

What other games did you play as a child?




3 responses

23 01 2012
Sheeple Liberator

What about tiggy (aka ‘tag’)? The best part was the songs you sang when determining who was “it”. They ranged from the sweet and innocent to the extremely crude. Some were even mildly racist, but fortunately those ones magically became a bit more politically correct when I was a primary schooler during the 1980s (I wonder how that happens?).

23 01 2012

I don;t recall it being called Tiggy – but I do recall tag (and kiss-chasey!) Things were not very politically correct in the 1970s….and while I can remember there were some racist rhymes, I can’t actually remember what they were!

5 02 2012
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