Sunday, May 18, 2014

10 Old-School ways to enjoy your summer with kids (gasp) free.

If there is one thing that is certain, there's a generation gap. There always has been one; but I think the gap between myself (a child of the eighties), and the kids today might as well be as cavernous as the Grand Canyon is wide.   

This is such a phenomenon that there have been studies on the subject; one of my favorite discussions about it appears in the Madeline Levine book, The Price of Privilege, in which the PhD physician examines the idea that children from more affluent families are more likely to be stressed, unhappy children and adults. 

I don't know if I agree completely with its premise, as I'm sure there are some happy children with affluent parents. I think the difference between we old foagies and them is that we didn't need all the STUFF that kids today think they need.  In short, we had this wonderful thing on our side that is commonly forgotten nowadays. It's called imagination.  Lol.

Here are a few ways we had fun during our summers, and guess what?  It didn't cost a thing except spending time together. That should be the point, right?

Musical Chairs

In this game, chairs are lined up, one for each person, save one. The music is turned on, and then shut off intermittently. When the music goes off, you must try to grab a seat. Whomever is the last man standing without a chair is out. Repeat until there is one chair, and two people. When the music goes off for the last time, whomever is siting wins!

Ring Around the Rosy

This is more of a nursery rhyme than anything;  the children form a circle, hands linked. Walk in a circle  singing the song,

       Ring around the rosies, pocket full off posies, 
       Ashes, ashes, we all fall down. 

All children fall down. Get up and repeat. 
Pay no attention to its origin, your kiddos won't. And besides, we wouldn't love great literary works from the Grimm brothers or Edgar Allen Poe if we over concern ourselves with being PC.  

Mother, May I?

This game, an excellent manners-teaching tool as well as fun, begins with at least three players or more. One player must play the role of 'mother,' and with his/her back turned, separate themselves from the other players by an ample distance.  The other children make requests such as, "Mother May I take three steps forward?". The person playing the role of mother has the option to say yes, to say no, or to say no and give them another option such as, "No, you may not, but you may take three steps backward instead."   Whomever reaches the mother first wins the game, and consequently becomes the role of mother. 

Duck duck Goose 

In duck, duck, goose, the children sit in a circle and one child walks around that circle, lightly tapping each child on the head, calling them either a "duck" or "goose."  There can be only one goose. When the child picks and names one of the children "goose," that chosen child must get up and chase the other child. If that child catches the first child, that first child remains the "goose."  However, if the first child is able to outrun the second, and take his/her seat, the second child then becomes the "goose."

Hide and seek

Photo Credit Encyclopedia Britannica 

This is pretty simple; we all know this one. One person who is "it" buries his or her face in their palms and counts to 20 as the other children hide. That person must find all the hiding children. To ensure that all the children are well-hidden, this is the song we chant in our home. 
     "Apples, peaches, pumpkin pie. Whoever's not ready, holler I."   If one of the children is not hidden properly, this gives them the option to holler I, to allow for more time to hide. 

Simon Says

This is a game in which children must pay careful attention to what is said. One child plays the role of Simon and gives commands such as "Simon says touch your nose," etc.  The children must then follow the directions. The person playing Simon also gives commands without saying "Simon says." Whomever obeys that command when Simon does not say, "Simon says" is out. Continue until there is one child left.  That child wins, and becomes Simon.  

Fake roller coaster

All the children in the family; cousins, sisters, brothers, would line up chairs in a row, sit in them, and make-believe we were on a horribly treacherous roller coaster. Ok, ok. That one is a stretch, lol. But like I said, we had vivid imaginations on our side. Seeing my two girls doing this exact thing the other day (I'd never told them about it) I have to say warmed my heart. I snapped some pics and contacted my sis immediately.  It also inspired me to write this post. 

London Bridge

I'm sure there are variations to this nursery rhyme, however this is how we sung it

      London Bridge is falling down, falling down, falling down. London Bridge is falling down, my fair
      Lady. Take the key and lock her up, lock her up, lock her up.  Take the key and lock her up; my fair

Two children form an arch by joining their hands. They then lift their hands up. The other children run around under the arch as seen in the illustration. The song is sang while doing so. When the part of the song "my fair lady" is sung the first time, the two children with raised arms lower them down in hopes to trap a child inside.  They sway their arms back and forth with the trapped child inside, singing, "Take the key and lock her up, lock her up, her lock her up; take the key and lock her up." When the phrase "my fair lady" is sung the second time the same children release the other child. That child must then become part of the London Bridge.  

Fake camp

Every child wants a special place they feel is just for them.  Their own private world. When my grandmother allowed us to make the shed in her backyard our clubhouse I was elated. I loved painting it and decorating it (not much has changed, winks). We made it our own. However, beforehand, we used to simply drape blankets over two parallel beds or chairs, climb under, and let our imagination run wild. I have just as many fond memories of both. 


In this game one player acts out a word or phrase, and the other players try to guess. This must be done without speaking on the part of the person doing the acting. 

I hope this post brings up as many great memories for you as it does for me. 

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