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Debbie Ridpath Ohi reads, writes and illustrates for young people. Every few weeks, she shares new art, writing and resources; subscribe below. Browse the archives here.

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childhood games

So over on blatherchat, the hot topic is conkers. Did any of you used to play this? I vaguely remember this game back in grade prepare horse chestnuts by boring a hole through it and threading it with a string. Then you and another player take turns hitting the other person's conker and trying to crack it open. Here's a Web explanation of conkers.

What are other childhood games you loved/hated? I hated "Red Rover", where two teams of children with interlinked arms faced each other, challenging members of the other team to run over and break through their human wall. If you couldn't break through, then you became part of the wall.

A game I hated more (sorry, can't remember the name) involved everyone pummelling one poor soul with soccer balls. The child had to dodge the balls; if hit, they lost their turn. Hm...this was probably called "Dodge Ball", though it would just as aptly be "Sadism Ball" since it seemed to be the ideal opportunity for children to release any pent-up hostility they may have accumulated thus far in their lives without fear of retribution.

Now that I think of it, I tended to dislike any childhood game that involved teamwork and violence, which included the majority of childhood games.


Double dutch: skipping rope game, with two ropes.

Jumpsies: involved a long rope consisting of rubber bands that had been tied together. One girl would hold each end at varying heights (gradually increasing), pulling the rope taut so it was parallel to the ground. A third girl would jump over the rope as it was gradually raised until she flubbed it.

Wall-bounce ball game (sorry, don't know a proper name for this): required a small rubber ball and a wall. Each girl would take turns chanting a number of verses which involved bouncing the ball against the wall in various ways of increasing complexity (under the leg, claps between, etc.). Her turn ends when she flubs it.

Hopscotch: we used stones as markers or to keep points.

I was also very much into role-playing type of games, not the D&D type (that came later on in life :-)), but pretending we were princesses or explorers or characters from a favourite story. I remember on very snowy days, Ruth and I used to pretend we were Kay and Gerda, lost in the blizzard-torn wilderness, calling to each other. We'd argue about which one of us got to be Gerda each time (the little girl rather than her brother).

Today's blatherpic:
Allison, Jodi and I all wearing our Teddy socks last time we got together.

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