Holiday games down memory lane
So what did kids do to keep themselves amused in the days before PlayStation, W-ii, computers, iPods and 24 hour TV?
Introducing your children to the games you played as a youngster – or even the ones your parents remember – is a great way to be a kid again. Best of all, many socalled ‘‘old-fashioned’’ games are cheap because they often require little or no equipment, they test the imagination, they help improve physical co-ordination, perceptual skills, memory and social skills, and they get kids outside.
Remember playing tag with the kids in your neighbourhood or school? There’s no reason why you can’t kick the kids off the couch and get them running around the garden or neighbourhood playing tag today.
Duck, duck, goose is a version of tag popular with kids at the moment – and it can be played in a smaller area including the lounge if it’s raining outside.
Players sit in a circle facing inward, while one person walks around tapping gently on participants’ heads and calling each a duck. Then they name one ‘‘goose’’.
The ‘‘goose’’ gets up and tries to tag the picker who has to run round the circle to return and sit where the ‘‘goose’’ was sitting. If the ‘‘goose’’ tags the picker, he or she can sit down again and the picker has to start the game again.
If you’ve got a piece of chalk and a flat concrete path or patio, deck or safe patch of footpath, then you’ve got everything you need for hopscotch.
First, a hopscotch course is drawn on the ground – and there are some pretty fancy ideas for hopscotch courses to be found in books and on the internet – with each square numbered in the sequence they are to be jumped.
The first player tosses a marker, such as a stone, coin or bean bag, into the first square. The marker must land completely within that square without touching a line.
The player then hops through the course but jumps over the square where the marker is.
Single squares are hopped on one foot; side by side squares are straddled with both feet. When the player completes the course, he or she has to turn around and return back down the course, scooping up the marker as they go.
The game continues with players taking turns and throwing the marker onto the rest of the squares in the sequence.
Players begin their turns where they last left off. The winner is the first to complete one course for every numbered square.
Then there’s Elastics, the favourite playground game of an entire generation. You can play Elastics with three people or on your own with two chairs.
If you’re playing with three, two people stand about one metre apart with the ‘‘elastics’’ – which can be made from old tights or fabric elastic – around their ankles. The player then has to jump, often in a sequence, into the middle of the elastics and back out again.
The elastic is then raised to the knees, under the bottom, hips, waist and under-arms.
Knucklebones is an ancient game, played with five small objects, originally the actual knucklebones of sheep. There are usually five in a packet and the aim is to complete a series of throws using the knucklebones. The types of throws get progressively trickier as the game continues, with the winner the first person to successfully complete the series of throws.
Simple throws involve tossing up one stone, the jack, and picking up one or more from the table while it is in the air until all five stones have been scooped up. Another involves throwing up the first one stone, then two, then three and so on and catching them on the back of the hand.
HIDE AND SEEK: An old time classic game that is still fun today.