Monday, August 30, 2010


I was just working my crossword puzzle and one of the clues was” a game kids used to play.” It turned out to be Kick the Can and it got me to thinking about all the wonderful fun we had when we were kids and why don’t the kids play like that anymore?

Remember the simple Hide and Seek and the variations and more complicated Follow the Arrow, Run Sheep Run. But Kick the Can seems to be the one everyone played. Every night after supper we would play until our parents whistled us home when it grew dark.

When we moved to Denver I taught some of the neighborhood kids to play a few of the games and they loved it. I also remember once when I was on an elevator in the Mayo Clinic, I believe, and three giggling girls got on and faced the wall in the back. I looked at them for a minute and then without thinking said “I will draw the frying pan and who will put the wiener in?” All on the elevator joined in the laughter and remembered the old game. Cancer and procedures were forgotten for a moment.

Our children used to run loose more than they can nowadays I guess and that is one reason, but if a parent were nearby {probably need a grandparent to remember the rules) it seems to me that more kids could get the fun and exercise before they went to bed.. We are in a campaign to make our kids less obese and this is a fun way to get exercise. Seems they all go to structured soccer or baseball programs for their exercise nowadays. Ends up today’s children do not know how to play spontaneously. I understand playing these games is on a comeback. And they have been expanded to phrases George Herbert Bush made famous like kick ass. Which has nothing at all to do with my post here . :)

Where are the sandlot baseball games of yesteryear? And the pick-up basketball games? Do any of your children engage in these fun things? And how about hopscotch and marbles and jacks? Why is everything tied to building up your abs? Makes it more like work than fun.


Rusty said...

sadly they seem to have been gone for quite a while. We used to head out to a vacant lot and shape our own baseball diamond. Kids did not wait for others to organize and schedule things like they do today. Oddly enough it's actually illegal for them to do that now in many communities. Such initiatve is discouraged.

Reno said...

I'm 18 and I still play hide and seek outside with my friends :) I feel lucky that we had the opportunity to experience 'spontaneous play' when we were little, even if it was only while we were camping...

Von said...

Around here kids still play lots of the old games, ride their bikes and build cubby houses etc.That's because we live in a time warp!

Pat said...

I never heard of the frying pan and the wiener game. We played "Mother May I?" and "statue maker", "button, button", "red light/green light" to name a few. We played outside till the street lights came on. Things sure are different nowadays! I am just about 55 years of age!

Loren said...

Oh how I loved "Flashlight tag" "Red Light Green Light"
"Red Rover" and HOUSE out side for HOURS!! It truly is sad that kids have soo much structured activity these days isn't it!

Happy to hear from you today!!

Love and Hugs!

Fragrant Liar said...

You are so right! My grandkids play outside on occasion, but more so they play video games. We lived in the desert while I was growing up, and we were always outside, even in the 110-degree heat. Not for long and we found shade! But we were always told to go play outside, and we did. It's no wonder the kids of today are so overweight. They don't do anything!

Barb said...

My Grandchildren still play some of the old games that I loved as a child, and they all love the out-of-doors. Thank Goodness!

Wanda..... said...

My grandkids played hide and seek,
football games in the field, bad minton, whip, follow the leader around the property, pulled each other in wagons, climbed trees, slid down hillsides to the creek, and had nature scavenger hunts. Subdivisions with closely built houses and hardly any yard to play in add to the problem...that and video games!

yaya said...

Statue maker was a fav when I was growing up. We played outdoors from morning till dinner, then back until dark! Only 3 stations on TV anyway! My kiddos loved "capture the flag" and "ghosts in the graveyard". Pick up b-ball games are still hot here at the city park.

Midlife Jobhunter said...

With my own kids, I always followed my mother's teachings -- I sent them outside and told them not to come back until dinnertime. Had no clue where they went.

No, my mother wasn't quite that bad. My kids did have organized time, but most of the time, the neighborhood played at my house - field hockey in the street, basketball, and baseball. The baselines were etched in our front yard, much to my husband's chagrin. But they didn't have the freedom I had as they didn't have the benefit of a small town. Made a difference.

Donna said...

Gee, you took me right back to yesteryear, when we played "Red Rover", "duck-Duck-Goose", and all the ones that Pat named. Mom would say, "go outside to play and don't come back in till it's getting dark. Yes, we ran, walked and were much more active than most today. President Kennedy had a lot to do with physical education when I was in school and I think a lot of that is gone now too.
Good post!!

Ladybird World Mother said...

Hello, Bernie... ages since I came by... summer holidays have been full on! You will be pleased to find out that my kids play endless games just like Kick the can... the favourite one being 44 It. Which I am not sure about in terms of rules but seems to entail loads of running about and laughing madly!! Spontaneous play is so so so important. Better than all that organised stuff any day, although there is a place for that too. Lovely post. See you soon!! xxxx

Deb Shucka said...

Many games that we played as kids (like Red Rover) can't be played at school any more because of the possibility of injury. Isn't that sad?

As children living in the country, my brothers and I spent hours climbing the mountain behind our house. The freedom of those days is with me still.

So nice to find you here today. Hope you're doing well. How's Dodger?

Anita said...

I can relate to everything you've said.

I love it when my daughters (10, 12, and 14), run and play with the neighborhood kids. I look out the window and see them with chalk, or hiding behind bushes.

Sometimes, they'll ride bikes or walk to the pool.

None of it gets enough time though. The summers now include reading "selected" books for school, not ones of their own choosing. And sports start a month before school starts.

So, I treasure what little I do see of plain ol' childhood.


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