Saturday, August 9, 2008


Yesterday, I had a reunion with a classmate from elementary school whom I hadn't seen in 40 years. We talked about our school experience, classmates and a plan for a class reunion. Hope you're working on that, Red! Winky Conversation turned to differences between the games we played and our children play. We mostly played outside, all day long during the summer. Sure, we did things like read a book or draw, but those activities were reserved for days when you were sick, the weather was lousy, or no one was around to play with.

So waxing nostalgic, this week's Seven: seven outdoor games I played as a kid.

1. Kick the can. This was THE most popular game we played especially after supper until the streetlights came on around 8:15p or 8:30p. If you've never played, this game is a variation of hide and seek and capture the flag. A large can such as a coffee can or juice can is placed in the middle of the play area. "IT" stands near the can, back to the rest of the participants. One of the participants takes a running start, kicks the can, and everyone scatters to hiding places. "IT" retrieves the can, and then goes on a hunt to look for everyone. If "IT" finds someone, "IT" runs back to the can to tag it shouting out the name of the kid found. This kid has to come out of hiding and sit out near the can area hoping someone will come and kick the can setting him free.

2. Cigarettes. Everyone took the name of a brand of cigarettes, Marlboro, Salem,Winston, Lucky Strike. Hey! Nearly every adult smoked, and we didn't know better back them. "IT" had a ball. Everyone lined up in a row behind "IT". "IT" tossed the ball high in the air and called out the name of a cigarette brand. If your brand was called, you had to chase the ball while everyone else scattered. When "IT" caught the ball, "IT" yelled "freeze". Everyone had to stand still. "IT" would then try to lob the ball at someone. If the ball hit them they became the new "IT"

3. Baseball. We played on an empty lot next to Himself's house. Himself's dad would umpire our games at night. He always gave the little kids a couple two or three extra swings at bat.

4. Combat. A make-believe game based on the popular television show starring Vic Morrow and Rick Jason. We spent hours chasing the enemy through bushes, mud, and fields. Because I was the oldest (and bossiest) I was Lt. Hanley to Himself's Sgt. Saunders.

5. Jump rope, alone or with a group. If there were two players and one rope, the rope was tied to a railing so one swung the rope and the other skipped.

6. Kickball, a variation of baseball played with a large ball the size of a basketball or soccer ball.

7. Bike riding. Yup, that's 7 year old me in my hand-me down shirt and riding my hand-me down blue bike.

What outdoor games did you play as a kid?


  1. We played HotBox...a form of base stealing practice. We had to play 'school' a lot because my older sister said we had to. We had a pool in the backyard for awhile...we swam there a lot.

  2. Ghosts in the Graveyard!!! and kickball! Those were the biggies in our neighborhood... Course, we were also known to spend the time catching lightening bugs...

  3. Apart from riding our bikes and swimming, jump rope, hopscotch, and backyard cricket were favourites

    Great blog!

    - Lee