The topic I set myself (and my family) for this month was Games I Remember playing.
Games I remember playing
I can think of so many games we used to play – mainly outdoors and mainly at school. I guess the one thing we can be sure of is that computer games will not be part of my memories!
I can remember lots of games we used to play at primary school. And there used to be fads of certain games – everyone would play something for a few weeks, then it would be something else… and these few games used to then reappear about once or twice a year.
A popular thing was what we called “elastics”. Our Mums sewing drawers used to get raided for the quarter inch elastic and you used to make a circle of elastic that would stretch to about 2 yards. It was a hopping or skipping game that got harder and higher as you progressed. It started with two kids about 2 yards apart with the elastic around their ankles. The ‘hopper’ used to have to jump inside the elastics and then do various skills with the elastics like jumping onto them, turning around and landing on them again etc. If you managed that the elastic went up to the knee level, then hip level and finally the waist level. I was pretty hopeless at it as I am pretty unco so I used to end up holding the elastic a lot while other more athletic kids played the game. Still – you were involved – so that was good.
And of course then there were all the skipping and hopping games. There was the individual skipping games where you held the rope as well as skipped but there was also the group skipping games. The school used to have long pieces of rope that we could use for the group skipping games. And there was a couple of songs you sung while you skipped. I can remember two:
Teddy Bear,Teddy Bear, turn around,
Teddy Bear,Teddy Bear, touch the ground,
Teddy Bear,Teddy Bear, tie your shoe,
Teddy Bear,Teddy Bear, read the news,
Teddy Bear,Teddy Bear, climb upstairs,
Teddy Bear,Teddy Bear, say your prayers,
Teddy Bear,Teddy Bear, turn out the light,
Teddy Bear,Teddy Bear, say goodnight!
Dickie Birds (four players—one at each end of the rope, two jumping)
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 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. (both players exit the rope)
There was prestige attached to being a good skipper but it was also important to have two good people turning the ropes at an even pace. I went to school at a country Junior high and I can remember massive skipping games with the older boys turning long ropes with about 30 people hopping at the same time. And if you stopped the rope you were out of the game!! Needless to say I often stopped the rope and was out of those big games quite early. I doubt that the high school kids would turn a rope for the younger kids in this day and age….
Another hopping game was hopscotch. The games would be drawn in the sand around the school – and sometimes with chalk on the quadrangle or tennis courts. It was always important to have a really good throwing stone and you often had a favourite stone that you kept just for the hopscotch!
I can remember playing knucklebones with all my friends. I feel as though we didn’t buy the knucklebones (they were sheep knucklebones) so not sure if Dad got them for us around the farm or if we did buy them. That was another skill game where you threw the knucklebone in the air while picking up or moving the knucklebones left on the ground. The perfect knucklebone was just the right weight and size and you all had your “favourite” bone you used for tricks! There was pick up twos and threes, clicks and no clicks and horse in the stable tricks.
And of course there was “doogs” or marbles. They were huge crazes as the boys used to play as well – in fact I can remember it being bought up at assemblies as parents sometimes complained because the boys would lose all their marbles to the other boys and Mums would be getting asked to buy more all the time!! It was real sheep station stuff!! You used to have your little (or big) bag of marbles and people used to have their favourite ones.. The big ones were Tom-bowlers or ‘Toms” and there were ‘cats eyes’, ‘taws’, ‘ducks’ and there were lots of different games and strategies that you could play.
I remember games of Dodge on the tennis courts. We used to use the painted lines on the tennis courts as the boundaries. That was another game that would start off with most of the school participating.
Then of course there was always ‘Hidey’ and ‘Chasey’ that you played with your friends around the school and school buildings. And I remember there was a couple of areas of bush that we used to build cubby houses and have great imaginary games in them.
I don’t remember playing many games at home. I think by the time we got home from school there didn’t seem to be much time. My brother and I used to play draughts and games like Monopoly and Squatter but not very often. They were more holiday games I think. Dad taught me how to play Chess and I used to play him occasionally but I was never very good.
Certainly the games we used to play then are probably very different than they play these days. They were games that cost very little to do and could involve different ages and altho I am sure there were older kids at the school that didn’t join in, it seemed to me as a primary school kid that a lot of the older kids were around.