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Children’s Games 2013/02/10

Posted by Daddy Dave in Family, Kids, Musings, real life.

I had a really nice chat with Oli about what games she played in the playground at school.  It was interesting to compare the games of today with what Mummy Ruth and I remembered of our playtime pursuits.

The playground for boys in my day, I suppose,  could be  broadly split into two (a) free games and (b) games that needed things.

Free games were pure play, we pretended to be swashbuckling pirates, spies, cowboys and Indians, tanks, ‘planes,  robots, superheroes, and spacemen/ astronauts. We walked tightropes that were pavement kerbs or lines on the football pitch, we did “climbies”, which was all about getting from A to B without touching the ground; we’d edge along wall faces, using window ledges and jump onto verges and drains When that got too easy, we just made it harder by making up rule son the spot. There was also rolling down the grassy hill, dares, double-dares, tig or het, and “British Bulldog”.

Games that needed things included, headers (inside the rain shelter), football, and catch, which involved a ball, often a tennis ball. “Dodgys” was simply about throwing a ball and hitting someone. There was “3-and-in”, “conkers”, “yo-yos”, “marbles”, “swapsies” – football cards, comics, collections, five sticks, dice, cards, paper airplane races, chalk treasure hunts, and throwing things at targets (coke cans). Younger lads played with Corgi or Dinky toy cars.

I remember the girls played a lot of skipping rope games, and were pretty good bouncing balls at a wall, playing patty-cake with their hands, and swapping scraps. they seemed always to be singing or chanting. They also did weird things like talk in code — some kind of weird language that sounded like eggo-deggo…?

Mummy Ruth added that for her era, there was kiss, cuddle or torture, hide’n’seek, races, making daisy-chains, hopscotch, chinkies (a game using rubber bands), crocodile,football, handstands, hanging things on bushes, stickers and cabbage-patch cards!

Oli said most of this was alien to her. She had no singing, dancing about, or football. She said to us that the children like to chat and snack, but otherwise she played games called “Ice Cube” and “Hot Chocolate”, and a game called “Spying” which seems to be about following someone until discovered! The boys chase the girls a lot, and sometimes the girls would do skipping, but no ball games. They get to play with toys, games and things like a Nintendo DS on Fridays in class during what-is-known-as- “Golden Time”. She likes Golden Time, and plays “around the world”, “beat the teacher” and “hangman”. After a while she remembered that they still play tig (or tag) in the playground, but mostly it’s all about laughing and being silly!

It was fun talking and remembering the inventiveness of children, and how simple games would become boring unless extra rules and levels of difficulty were invented, until a very elaborate and complex game resulted. Ah, those were the days! I have to say that Mummy Ruth and I think that the children are not as free-range as we were, and the scope of games seems to have diminished somewhat. It will be interesting to see what DP says in a few years’ time.


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