This weeks Listography (my first) from the lovely Kate Takes 5 is your top 5 Childhood Games. As I started to think about this I realised I have forgotten most of them and it all seems like a very dim and distant memory. Although kids these days definitely have loads more toys and stuff than we did I'm pretty sure they still play these sort of things in the playground (except where Elf and Safety decrees they can't of course).
1 - French Skipping
I clearly remember playing this a lot in primary school. You had to have a large loop of elastic stretched between two people- they put it around their ankles and stood about 4 feet apart. A third person then had to jump in and out to rhymes - jumping in a certain pattern - getting progressively more complicated - if you went wrong you were out. If you got it right the elastic got higher and higher - ending up about thigh level before it got impossible. This is probably banned by the Elf and Safety police now.
2 - Cat's Cradle
Similar in some respects to French Skipping but less active - a bit more of a wet playtime one this one.You had a loop of string or wool which you wound around each hand and then had to do more and more complex loops and unloops on and off your partners hands without muddling the string up.
3- British Bulldog
The first two were pretty much girls games but this was played with the boys as well. I can't remember exactly how you play it but it involved splitting into two teams at opposite sides of the playground and then having to get to the other side without being caught. I seem to remember it was quite rough and loud and was often banned by the teachers - but it was also one of the most popular games (probably because the teachers didn't like it!)
4 - Stuck in the Mud
This was a version of tag and when you got caught you had to stand still with your arms out (stuck in the mud) until someone who was free went under your arm or everybody was caught. I think we played this one quite a lot as it was more fun than just plain 'it'.
5 -Card games
These were more when we were in secondary school (we called it Senior School!). I can't remember the exact games we played but do remember there was at least one year where we all brought in a pack of cards nearly every day. Mostly I remember playing a game in pairs that went on for a long time (one game could take more than one lunch break) but other than having piles of cards in the middle I cannot recall what it was or how we played it (never have been any good at remembering card games!). I also recall that it got banned in case we were gambling and packs of cards got confiscated (we weren't gambling - hadn't even occurred to us, but the school was a bit anal about stuff like that!)
Despite all this I also remember playing with electronic games in the playground too - yes even then! I remember several friends having Donkey Kong which was on a hand held console that looked a bit like a Nintendo DS but just had the one game on it and was pretty limited on colour - I think it was called a Game and Watch. I coveted one desperately and was mightily disappointed when my parents bought me some cheap rip off with a really rubbish game on it! Well maybe life wasn't so different for kids then as we remember!