Monday, March 17, 2014

Hopscotch, Jacks, and Marbles -- Flashback!

by Kate Collins

I happened to spot an article on Yahoo the other day about the origins of childhood games. Ever curious, I checked out the article and learned the history (or theory) of 15 common games played by kids all over the world. Most I knew, but a few, like Mumblypegs, Capture the Flag, and Four Square, were new to me.

My favorites on the list were hopscotch, jacks, and marbles, in that order. Half the fun of hopscotch for me was drawing the hopscotch board on the sidewalk. Who needed chalk? A big soft stone worked in a pinch. I usually started out with two large boxes at the top, and by the time I'd worked my way down to the last three in a line at the bottom, the boxes had not only shrunk, but also had gone off kilter. But who cared? Then the hunt was on to find the best throwing stone. Had to be flat for the best aim.

And then there was Jacks. I can't begin to imagine how many hours I spent tossing and grabbing and chasing the little bouncing ball. I introduced them to my own kids, and they were like "Eh." Their loss.

What wasn't on the list was dodge ball. Every kid in our neighborhood would turn out for a game on a summer's eve, using a driveway or, on a quiet night, the street. We'd play for hours, until it was dark and we couldn't see the ball.

 Tree climbing was another of my favorite sports. I spent hours up in our crabapple tree pretending I was Nancy Drew or Trixie Belden spying on evildoers. Imagine that.

I hope today's children are learning these wonderful games.but I fear they'll be lost amid the computer/iPad activities. If you're interested in the article I mentioned, here's the link.

What were your favorite childhood games?