Hol­i­day games down mem­ory lane

South Waikato News - - NEWS -

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.

Fair­fax Me­dia

PHOTO: NI­COLE GOUR­LEY

HIDE AND SEEK: An old time clas­sic game that is still fun to­day.

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