May 3, 2008

Childhood Memories

Meet My Grandsons

Pictured to the left is my grandson Sean, age 3 years. He is posing as the"Statue of Liberty" he tells me! to the right is Jeremy, age 9. He loves playing most the games I talk about in this ariticle.
My sister Karen, from Ohio, has been prompting me to recall some childhood memories we shared . I am not so sure they are all that remarkable to most, but to us, they are genuinely unforgettable as we had such a happy childhood. As long as I can remember, Karen was always "the runt " of the family...ha ha ha..How is that for a start sister? ROTFLMBO!!!!!! Here are the rules...since you aren't contributing by writing our memories, I guess i can recall them the way I wish to, right??? Being short, always had it's advantages though. Karen was able to do back flips, cart wheels and tumble around like a Jack Be Nimble! Myself, I was all legs, and " larger framed" to put it mildly. I was about the most awkward klutz you ever saw! ....and she still could get the best of me in a fight, pinning me down every time! A real wonder woman she was!
That said, I did have very many happy memories, growing up with two sisters and two brothers. My brothers were much older though, so I don't remember them being at home when in school .

Karen and I enjoyed the outdoors quite a bit and summer time was always was out and that meant no homework! Our favorite past time was yard games with the neighbor kids, usually in our own front yard. We would play croquet, Evy Ivy Over( I broke the bedroom window not throwing the ball high enough to get it over the house once) , Mother may I, Freeze, Hide and seek, Simon Says, Hopscotch, "You're IT", Red Rover, Marbles, Jacks, and the Lemonade game. We both learned to shoot a gun with a pellet gun and would practice on tin cans in the back field. we had aspired being in the local gun club, which a popular thing back then . Unlike today, where guns are a frightening reality of crime, learning to shoot back then was for sportsmanship and training . I don't think mom liked that her little girls were learning to shoot like her sons did though, and soon she talked us into taking dancing lessons and began music, like piano and band . Karen was a natural at dancing , gracefully tapping away and leaping on stage for out recitals.. You can imagine how I did though! I am the one, that as a costumed ghost, knocked over the tombstones prop on stage . I tried my best at piano, and God bless my father for taking us every week for piano lessons and enduring the practices of piano and coronet/French horn playing. I was finally delegated to the garage to practice the French horn. Our dog, Pal, howled and howled every time I would practice. Needless to say, after a couple years time, the folks showed no objections to stopping my musical aspirations and favored instead, my 50's records of Annette Funicello, Paul Anka ,Ricky Nelson, etc.... and also American Bandstand.

There is more to tell which i will do in other posts, but for now will stop and give you some pointers for yard games that your children may enjoy. (To Be continued, Karen! Take the kiddies out into that nice big back yard and teach them these games..they will love it!..Just let them win one once in a while though..ha ha ha )

Red Rover Red Rover Send (Karen) right over!
your will need several kids to play this one
Divide your group into two teams.
Each team stands in a row holding hands on opposite sides of the yard.
The first team says "Red Rover, Red Rover Send (name a child on the other team) Right Over".
That person then must run across the yard and break through the hand chain.
If they break through the chain they can bring one person back to their team.
If they do not break through the hand chain they must stay on that team.
The team that ends up with all but one person wins.

Tag Ball
You need a soft kickball, or beach ball. (This was also played without a ball by just counting then say FREEZE!)
The person who is it throws the ball in the air and calls another player's name.
The person whose name is called runs to catch the ball. When they get the ball they yell STOP!
All players must stop and freeze where they are.
The player who has the ball can take three giant steps towards any player.
The player with the ball tries to hit the person with the ball (below the neck).
It the player with the ball hits the person that person is IT, unless the person catches the ball. If they catch the ball than the person who was it, is it again.
If you hit above the next you lose and are still it.
Mother May I
One person is IT
The person who is it stands on one side of the yard
The others stand on the other side of the yard in a line .
The person who is it says to the first person in line. " Johnny, you may take five (any number) giant steps".
Johnny must say "Mother May I"
The person who is it says " Yes you may or No you may not". If the say yes, Johnny takes 5 giant steps closer to the person who is it.
Then the person who is it goes to the next person....etc.
If a person forgets to say "Mother May I, they must go back to the start.
Other possible directions from the person who is IT.
giant steps
normal steps
baby steps (one foot in front of the other and no longer)
tip toe l
leaping jumps
scissor steps
jumping jacks
or just make some up that sound fun to do!

Hide and Seek
One person is IT.
The person that is it counts to 20, 30, (you decide)
The others to and hide.
The person that is IT says: Ready or not here I come! Then tries to find the others
The person who is found, it the next person who is it.
for very young toddlers..give them a hiding partner for safety reasons.

Simon Says:
- Choose one child to be "Simon"
- Throughout the game, "Simon" directs the other children in doing things in place(such as
"touch your nose" or "spin around"), sometimes using the phrase, "Simon Says"
- When the phrase "Simon Says" is used, the other children must do the directed action
- If a child does the wrong action, or does the right one but "Simon" did NOT say "Simon
Says," then that child is "out" and can sit down for the rest of the game
- The last child standing is the winner and the next "Simon"(if there is more than one child left,
they are all declared winners and can use Rock-Paper-Scissors to find the new "Simon")
**Hint: When directing, "Simon" may use actions and movements to either help or mislead
the other children


My sisters and I played this game for many summers at home in our childhood days. Soon, other town kids would be at our house joining in. This a good outside activity and heard on the news the other day , it is predicted hopscotch would become a popular game with kids in 2008 ! I think that is great , as it offer good exercise and coordination, plus is a lot of fun to play! a garden hose or good rain washes the chalk off the sidewalk afterwards. I taught this to my grandson and neighborhood kids last summer .We used chalk, but some park districts are starting to add this a a permanent marked out area for play, much like shuffleboard is done. I can also see the possibility of play inside, using masking tape to make the court and a bean bag ( no rocks inside..ha ha)Draw the layout with the chalk and label them 1 through ten, Sun and Moon...3 single squares,(18" to 24") per square 1 double square, 2 single squares, 1 double square, 1 single square. You can number the squares if you want. A crescent shaped sun and a moon on the top of the court is drawn. The two basic rules of hop scotch are 1) one foot in each square only, 2) Hop over the square with the rock in it.The first player tosses her marker( we used a stone) into the first square. The marker must land completely within the designated square and without touching a line or bouncing out. If the marker lands in the wrong square, the player forfeits her turn. If the marker is successful, the player hops through the court beginning on square one.Land with two feet on the double squares. Those marked "Moon" "Sun " at the top are neutral squares, and may be hopped through in any manner without penalty. We used both feet on these. When a player reaches the end of the court, she turns around and hops back through the court, moving through the squares in reverse order and stopping to pick up her marker on the way back, as she is on one foot yet( except for double squares) .On the second turn, throw the rock into the second square, and so forth. The tricky part is staying on one foot when the rock is in one of the side-by-side squares.Upon successfully completing the sequence, the player continues his turn by tossing his marker into square number two, and repeating the pattern.


This was one of my favorites
Choose a person to start out at "it" she thinks of an action imitating an action like "digging a hole" or "sewing" or "putting up a tent"..(perhaps you can help me out here has been like 55 years!) anyway, you write down on a piece of paper what your thing you are doing is..we didn't even write it down) and then proceed to say.
You say..."Here i come"
They say" what's your trade?"
You say "lemonade"
They say "show us some if your not afraid"
and you try to act out the trade, or action for them to guess...a lot like charades..but a lot more fun outside in the yard with a bunch of kids!
You will need ten jacks , a small rubber ball and a hard surface to play on between two players. we played this out on the sidewalk with three of us playing.
The players decide who goes first, usually through "flipping" (when the set of jacks is placed in cupped hands, flipped to the back of the hands, and then back to cupped hands again; the player who keeps the most from falling in his/her turn, goes first) Then the jacks are thrown loosely into the play area. ( about a two foot circumference area) The ball is thrown upward off the ground and you then catch the ball before it bounces for a second time , the players must pick up as many jacks as possible in each turn. Perhaps more commonly, the number of jacks to be picked up is preordained and sequential: at first you must pick up one ("onesies"), next two ("twosies"), and so on If the player chooses to pick up the leftover jacks first, one variation is to announce this by saying "horse before carriage" or "queens before kings."
In most versions of the game, only one hand may be used.
Winning the winning player is the one to pick up the largest number of jacks. he person who gets to the highest game wins. Game 1 is usually single bounce (onesies through tensies); game 2 is chosen by whoever "graduates" to game 2 first, and so on. Some game variations are "double bounces," "pigs in the pen," "over the fence," "eggs in the basket" (or "cherries in the basket,") "flying Dutchman," "around the world," etc variations
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