Childhood Games

Childhood Games

Nowadays, it is almost impossible to tear our kids away from the TV and video games. It wasn't always that way. Back in the day, before TV, when all we had was the radio and our imagination, we played games with each other. No expensive equipment was needed. Let me tell you about some of them. If your children haven't heard of them, why not introduce these age old games to a new generation?

You need a sidewalk or a patch of hard grass-less dirt for the game of jump-rope. It can be played alone or with a group. Alone, you grasped the handles of the jump-rope and swung the rope forward or backwards jumping over the rope as it passed under you. You could go as fast as you were able. There were various variations of doing that, but you get the idea. If there were three of you, then the fun really began. Two of the girls (yes, this is a girl game) would turn the rope and one or more others would run into the turning rope and try not to trip on the rope. The faster the rope was turned added to the fun. That was called “double Dutch.” I was never good at it. No TV needed.

Another game played on a smooth surface like the table or the floor was jacks. I think you can still buy a set of jacks and the small red ball that goes with it. Ten jacks is a good number to start with. First, you throw out all the jacks onto the table. Then, if two of you are playing it, one goes first and throws the ball up in the air. As it bounces once you are to pick up a jack before it bounces again. The second time you bounce the ball you are to pick up two jacks, and so on. If you miss picking up the correct number of jacks, you lose your turn. This game was one of my favorites growing up. Yup, another girl game. No TV needed.

What about hop-scotch? You need a sidewalk and a flat stone for this one. First the field is laid out with chalk. You need ten squares arranged like in the picture above. Label them 1 through 10. First, stand on square number one, then hop to squares 2 and 3 with a foot on each square, land on square 4 with one foot, then repeat actions you did on squares 2 and 3 on squares 5 and 6. Continue to the end in like manner. Turn around and come back the same way, picking up the stone on the way back. Then move the stone to the next square as you successfully complete a round. There were variations of this game as well. Girl game? Yes, indeed. No TV needed.

“Red Rover! Red Rover!” was fun. Both boys and girls played this one. First of of all, you needed a roof, preferable not too high and not on a building with windows in the line of flight. Kids stood on either side of the building. The object was to yell “Red Rover! Red Rover! I'm coming on over!” Then you tossed a rubber ball, about 12 inches in diameter, over the roof to those on the other side. Their task was to catch the ball before it hit the ground. It sounds easy, but it wasn't. Like the game of tennis, you needed to be in the right spot to catch the ball. We didn't play this one very much. It seemed a window was often in the way. Broken glass took the fun out of it. This was the way we played it. The way most kids played it was to have two teams facing each other with no roof involved. But again, no TV needed.

I learned to play these games at school during recess. All of them are older than the hills. They go way back. As I have said before, no TV needed.

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