Those whacky days before 'Smart Phones'          - 30/9/2014      <--Prev : Next-->

Watching a group of youngsters on their iPhones recently, sitting together, but all miles away from each other in reality, I began to reminisce, like a real old Doris, on how we used to spend our time as youngsters....without any smart phones!!

In the playground at school we would sit around in groups cross-legged and play hand-clapping games. Games like memory games - nominating a subject, where players would have to, while clapping in time, alphabetically provide an answer, if they messed up; they were out of the game.

Still in that same circle 'Chinese Whispers' was played much to the fun of one and all.

Then we would break up into pairs and play fabulous hand-clapping games all the while chanting and clapping in a set sequence.
Remember these oldies
'My mother said, we never should
Play with the gypsies in the wood'

Remember, 'A sailor went to sea, sea, sea. To see what he could see, see, see. But all that he could see, see, see. Was the bottom of the deep blue sea, sea, sea.'

Much giggling and hilarity would ensue as one really needed one's wits about one!!
I went to a Chinese restaurant, To buy a loaf of bread, bread, bread, I went up to the counter, And this is what he said, said, said.

Cat's cradle was another enthralling game and all one needed was a length of string and some nimble hands!! Cat's Cradle is a game played by two or more people and consisting of a variety of string figures. Cultures all over the world play variations of it
And all you would need to do would be to cut a length of string - about a metro and a half is standard. You would tie the ends of the string together and clip off the ends. It was a fabulous game for two friends and would absorb the entire afternoon! making 'hammocks, the manger, candles and diamonds'!!

For the more energetic there was the group game called 'red rover cross over' where many a knee was skinned in the process, and of course 'The Whip' where a group of girls would link arms and snake their way across the field causing a 'whipping' or wave-like effect.

Then of course there were skipping games- French Skipping - using a long rope held by two pals and the third would jump to a rhyme. Sometimes two players would jump - called 'Double Dutch' and songs would be sung like -
"Two little dickie birds sittin' on the wall" the two players jump in
"One named Peter, one named Paul" each player waves at their name
"Fly away, Peter, fly away, Paul" the player exits the rope as name is called
"Don't you come back 'till your birthday's called"
"January, February...December" the player returns when their month is called
"Now fly away, fly away, fly away all" players both exit the rope.

Now quite one of my favorite games was called 'sevens' played with a tennis ball against a wall. There was a set pattern of obligatory balls throws, each done seven times, and if you failed at one of them you handed the ball to the next person.

Of course 'hopscotch' was always a crowd favorite and chalk was purloined from the blackboard, to draw the regulatory squares and numbers on the school pavement or road.
Hopscotch is a children's game that can be played with several players or alone. It's popular playground game in which players toss a small object into numbered spaces of a pattern of rectangles outlined on the ground and then hop or jump through the spaces to retrieve the object.

Back to the more sedentary games and French Knitting was a favorite. Using an old-fashioned wooden cotton reel into which your dad had nailed four equidistant nails. Threads would then be woven around the nails and pulled through the central core of the cotton reel, and we would produce a rope-like length of cotton wool.

Making Friendship Bracelets were a great favorite using thin strips of brightly coloured plastic and fashioning bracelets for one's 'best friend'.

Hours would be spent making pompoms with wool and two pieces of round cardboard cutouts with a central hole.

Do you remember 'hick, lack, hock' or paper scissors and stone I wonder if our modern children would be as engrossed in this simple game as we used to be

One of my very favorite occupations was the good old fashioned 'hula hoop'! I wonder if it was good for the waistline or if it perhaps put the spine out of alignment

Many of us recall very clearly, however, playing 'Jacks' on the school veranda during break and noughts and crosses in the sand, or on a piece of paper. Hangman too was one of our favorite games using pen and pencil.

Another game we all played as kids was called 'Kick can Lurky' for which you only needed a used tin can and lots of energy!

Our school holidays were inevitably spent at the Borrow Street swimming pool where we would play endless games of Marco Polo!

Finally that all enthralling game of Marbles. We would absolutely cherish our 'marbs' collection and lust over those much coveted shiny goens!!

Ah... but those were the days before smart phones!!!