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Games We Used to Play.

What were some of the games we used to play, growing up as a kid in the 50s, 60s, and 70s?

Long before the ‘age of entitlement’, children had far less toys to play with, so we made do with what we had. Today it seems almost every kid is given more toys at Christmas and for their birthday in one single year than I collected over my entire childhood.

But if necessity is indeed the mother of invention then at least we learned to be inventive and came up with games that kept us amused for hours.

Photo from Google Images. A length of thin rope attached to the same cans would turn them into a pair of stilts.

Photo from Google Images. A length of thin rope attached to the same cans would turn them into a pair of stilts.

A couple of tin cans and a piece of string could be turned into a telephone. There was no shortage of tin cans, just had to be sure they didn’t have any jagged edges and there followed hours of fun inventing games that included talking on the ‘telephone.’

After that, a length of thin rope attached to the same cans would turn them into a pair of stilts and more hours of fun having races around the neighbourhood, risking a sprained ankle as we tried to run on the tin can stilts.

A suitable length of rope would provide a skipping rope with all sorts of variations of the game and rhymes to chant.

Mum might collect some of the knuckle bones from the Sunday lunch lamb or hogget roast, and you needed just five of those for an entertaining and very competitive game of knucklebones.

A piece of chalk and a strip of asphalt or cemented footpath was all that was necessary for hopscotch, more popular with the girls in our neighbourhood.

And the girls were more into elastics too. If you could just get your hands on a decent length of elastic (from mum’s sewing basket), two people held the elastic while one person jumped and there were songs to go with the leg actions.

Photo from Google Images. The girls were more into elastics too. If you could just get your hands on a decent length of elastic from mum’s sewing basket,

Photo from Google Images. The girls were more into elastics too.

Boys were more into marbles and these were either bought with hard earned pocket money or won by playing ‘keeps’. There were cats eyes, milkies, clearies, steelies, ‘bloodstones’ and the big ones I think were ‘tombolas’. There were lots of different games to play and it could be a fiercely competitive game.

An outside wall could be used for any number of games. We played ball up against the walls with two balls, and three balls if you were clever. We also used the wall for handstands, and the girls with dresses tucked them into their knickers and we’d spend much of our time upside down!

‘Brandy’ was another ball game that was popular. Only one ball required amongst the whole neighbourhood of kids and the kid who was ‘it’ had to throw the ball and hit one of the other kids.

And don’t forget street cricket. One bat and a ball with an old 44 gallon drum as the wicket. Could develop into a pretty serious game at times.

There was street footy too (if you were lucky enough to own a footy) and don’t forget ‘red rover all over, caught 1-2-3’

No wonder we were all so skinny and scrawny back then, I don’t think we ever stopped!

 

3 Responses to Games We Used to Play.

  1. Phillip Squire November 2, 2014 at 7:28 pm #

    We use to go down Semaphore road collecting palm fronds we would make them into Chinese junks sailing in the ponds after heavy rain.

    Also, we would make a canoe out of a sheet of galvanized iron hammered flat, a piece of 3×2 in the bow and a flat piece of wood at the back, any holes would be sealed with bitumen and rope.

    Rubber band guns were great, made from some scrap wood.

    Balser wood gliders were another thing that was made.

    Then there were forts made out of galvanized sheets.

    And then we got real technical making a toy boat powered by a candle heating a copper tube.

    I’m sure being a boy back in the 50s early 60s was much more adventurous that now.

  2. Tina April 21, 2015 at 9:31 pm #

    Ahh the memories of elastics, hopscotch, double dutch, brandy and all the other great games that I am now showing my grandkids! they love double dutch, and one of them is trying to learn two balls against the wall.

    They were great times and we had so much fun as kids. Time to get those games back and get today’s kids out in the garden using their imaginations 🙂

  3. Mike Micanopy May 24, 2018 at 4:05 pm #

    As kids in the 60s and we were encouraged to supplement our toys by finding things to do in our yard (it was very big) and in nearby Tusmore Park & Hazelwood Park. I guess we were lucky to have those two wonderful parks within walking distance. Back then it was a lot safer to get around unescorted as kids, of course! We would build dams in First Creek (which ran through both parks) and just explore every inch of the parks looking for interesting things like ant nests and caterpillars and other little critters. The father of my little friend from across the road made us butterfly nets and we would chase the local Monarchs and citrus butterflies all over the local streets. Our catch would then be pinned to our little cardboard display boards, still alive and without anaesthesia …..

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