Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Games People Play

Calmer, colder, drier weather on the way for the weekend - at last!

Now, there's a great BBC Magazine article on line called How Stranger Danger Changed the Way Children Play. This is a thought provoking and interesting insight into the reasons why our children play less in the streets, parks, "bomb sites" and other places, not least of which is the danger from strangers. Road traffic accidents are as much of a danger, but either way, there may be a generation of children who don't know what playing in the street is like.

We had a tenfoot at the back of our house that was a dead-end and it was very safe to play I suppose. My mates and I would play cricket in a summer and footy in the winter down it kicking the ball against Mr Kirknesses wooden garage door. We occasionally lost the ball among his chickens in his garden or it went in any one of the gardens along the tenfoot when we hit a six (and you were out automatically which taught us to hit the ball close to the ground.)

We played all the usual games, tig, hide and seek, we joined the girls when they tied their skipping rope to the lamppost and generally hung around doing no harm.

As I got into teenage years, games became more physical, and the street near my grandmother's house was a cul-de-sac so it was relatively safe to play British Bulldog, more sophisticated hide and seek, and a letters game where you all lined up at one side of the street and when random letters were called out and if that letter was in your name, you could progress across the street one step for each letter you had until the first person crossed the street and they won. Cricket against lampposts for wickets was normal and coats on the road for goalposts made a makeshift soccer pitch.

Chalked hopscotch pitches were easily drawn on the pavements and marble rinks were fun. We made our own home made go-karts out of scrap wood and old pram wheels and had races down the 'slope'; mind you, if you didn't stop in time, you hit the brick wall at the bottom! There weren't as many cars then of course and the street was always half empty, not like now where every inch of kerb is used for parking. But then I suspect people were more tolerant of kids then than they are now which doesn't help. Shame.

Ah fun indeed.

Psychic circle night tonight so have to crack on with tea early so no story, but have a great week.

Chat soon



  1. We all used to play in the road too as all cars were safely stowed in garages so we didn't risk damaging them. The road in question has a bus route on it now, so they couldn't do that any more, plus there are too many parked cars in the streets. Play stopped for a while when we had a known "bogeyman" in the area, but we didn't stay indoors for long.

    I now live at the end of a dead end (I call it the road to nowhere). We have what we call a "back in" at the back but none of the kids that plays there belonds to any of the houses that back on to it, so we do get a bit narked at times. I don't care if they play at the back of my house so long as they don't do any damage or let themselves in through my back gate and door, but I do draw the line at them playing out front and kicking a ball at my car. They're not allowed to kick balls at their own parents' cars so why can they do that to mine?

    We have a park, but the children aren't allowed to go there in case of strangers. So the park is deserted. We have a playing field too, but the people that live close to that keep chasing the kids off. Why? It's not their own personal playing field, it's council land.

    Sorry, went on a bit, but it's a bit of a soap box for me. Kids should be able to play out and they're welcome to play outside mine so long as they don't do any damage. I'd sooner they be there where we can see them, but I also think the parents, if they don't like them going to the park on their own, should maybe take time out to spend with their own kids and take them to the park. You never know, they may have some fun themselves.

  2. British Bulldog that was a great game.
    I also remember being left to 'get on with it' most of the time.
    Once I got bitten by a mad horse, another time I fell into the river and a kind lady took me home (I got into her car!)
    Then I fell into a field of stinging nettles....not sure if that was the worst or when I fell out of a treehouse and landed on a bee!

  3. Hi Diane and Val

    Your comments are very welcome indeed and Diane, you can go on as much as you like - I agree with you. Val, you must have been in a car that ran over a black cat - I can just imagine you and a mad horse!