Tag Archives: playing outside

Preserving Traditional Playground Games

wp_20160324_009Four years ago, all of our worldly goods were packed onto a container to make the journey to our new home in the US.  We wouldn’t see them again for 10 weeks.

The children packed a small case each with colouring pencils, paper, a few books and a cuddly toy. They were without any other toys for the whole of the summer.

This was an amazing opportunity to be creative with things around the house.  We decorated pistachio nut shells, made pictures with coffee filters, built a mud kitchen and hosted our own Children’s Olympics. In some ways I wished it could be like this all of the time and once the toys arrived I was selective about what I unpacked.

The most popular activity however, was learning playground games from my childhood. I explained how  I didn’t have equipment or toys in my school playground, when I was a child. We played our own games, which we would also play in the street at home.  I am very conscious that if we don’t pass games down to our children they may be lost forever and I’m glad that our lack of toys gave me an opportunity to resurrect them.

wp_20150723_001

 

There has been concern for some time that children no longer play outside. The good old Seattle or British weather doesn’t help. Couple this with the constant lure of TV and electronic media and it can be hard to get kids outdoors. Teaching them  a new game was a great way to get my children outdoors and they often ask me to teach them more. I really must make a point of doing that now that they are a little older.

One of my  play sessions for pre-schoolers involved teaching them simple games, like What’s the time Mr Wolf?, Please Mr Crocodile and the Bean Game.  I was surprised at how many were new to local families. After seeing how much my children enjoyed traditional games I was intrigued to see if any other parents remembered games from their childhood, most didn’t.

We played some of the more popular games; hopscotch on the driveway, skipping rhymes, What’s the time Mr Wolf but also some less well known games.

 

wp_20130716_001-2
Polo

Polo

This was my kids’ favourite.

  • One child is it and stands at one end of the garden (as kids we used to play it in the road and run to the other side of the street).
  • They call out a category to the other players on the other side of the garden such as animals or colours.
  • Each player quietly chooses something from that category and a nominated player calls them out – let’s say dog, pig and cow.
  • The player who is  it chooses one, e.g. ’dog’ and the player who is‘ dog ‘races them  across to the other side and back.
  • The first player back to their place shouts ‘polo’ and is it the next time.

 

Red Letter

  • One child is it and the other children stand at the opposite side of the playground.
  • The person who is it chooses a red letter and tells the players what it is.
  • She then calls out a letter – the players take one step for each time that letter occurs in their name.
  • The first player to get to the caller is  it the next time.
  • If the caller calls the red letter, she chases all the players back to the start, if one is caught then they are it.

 

Ice-cream

  • The person who is it stands with their back to the other players.
  • The other players stand on the opposite side of the garden and edge closer to the person who is it.
  • The person who is it turns around at intervals.
  • The players freeze when she turns around. If they are caught moving they go back to the start.
  • If anyone reaches the other side, they touch the person who is it, on the back and shout ice-cream, she then chases the players and if anyone is caught they are it.

 

Please Mr Crocodile

  • One player is the crocodile. The other players stand on the opposite side and recite

Please Mr Crocodile May we cross the water, to see the queen’s daughter, who fell in the water, 100 years ago. Which colour must we wear?

  • The crocodile chooses a colour and any children wearing that colour have to run to the other side without being caught by the crocodile.
  • If they are caught, they become the crocodile.

I’m sure that there are many other playground games that I have forgotten over time. Many of them will be unique to British childhood so perhaps I should write them in a book to preserve a piece of British heritage for my children.

 

pooh sticks
Pooh Sticks

If we can’t remember the rules to our childhood games then they are in danger of being lost forever. I’d love you to share any games you can remember and if there are any lunch supervisors out there perhaps you could make it a mission to bring traditional games back to the playground.

I have a list of games I’m going to teach to my kids this spring particularly mob, and elastics (we got the elastic from Ikea recently) now that they are old enough to play.

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Outdoor Play – Icy Discoveries on a Cold and Frosty Morning

children exploring frost and iceI used to love frosty days when I was a kid because we could pretend to ice skate to school or breathe like a dragon.  The same sense of wonder came over my girls when they looked out on a clear frosty morning. They dressed quickly and went outside to see what it was like . They found ice on top of the water table and in containers that we have on the deck.

They soon learned that ice is very cold!


Later in the morning the girls put on their gloves to go out on an ice hunt.

ice
Look there is water and a leaf is floating. The ice has edges, I think there is water underneath.

I removed the lid from the water table. The girls were very excited to find ice inside there too. We added the penguins play set and a few whales.

When we got to the front of the house we found a small patch of frost.

Why is it frosty here and not anywhere else?

Because the sun made it melt.

So, why didn’t this bit melt?

It was in the shade.

frost

We decided to leave the lid off the water table to see if we could get even more ice the next day.  When they woke up the next day the girls were desperate to get out before any of the ice had melted.

First they checked the water table.

ice
The ice was thick and some of the penguins were buried underneath.

Let’s see what else we can find.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We went back to the water table where the girls found 2 scoops filled with ice.

We can’t get it out.

Shall I run it under the hot tap like I do with the ice lollies?

Yes please

Next the girls turned their attentions to the animals stuck in the water tray.

Please can we get them out? Can we put hot water on them too?

Yes. I’ll get some.

We poured water onto the ice to free the animals, they could feel the hot water making holes and as we poured more on they were able to free them.

The other side of the water tray made a perfect ice rink for the penguins.
ice rink

I’m so glad we are home pre-schooling on days like this. Our next project is to make ice decorations for the tree at the front of the house and using  pirate treasure maps they made earlier in the week, hunt for coins buried in the ice. My pirate obsessed girls will be armed with special pirate tools and a bit of magic sea salt.  Arrrr.

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Learning for Life

Ideas for Playing Outside in the Rain.

rain

 

Oh no, it’s raining, that means we can’t do all our fun things like playing on the trampoline and in the sandpit!

There are fun things you can do in the rain too.

Like what?

You can splash in puddles, play with mud or catch raindrops.

Can we make potions in the rain?

Rainy days are perfect for making potions.

I know we could use the rain water because there isn’t any water in the paddling pool.

Yes and you could use mud or mush up wet petals.

Later that day we went for an appointment and when we came out the girls found a fast drip coming from the gutter.

Why is this bit of rain faster?

Where is it coming from?

The roof

Yes, it usually means the gutter is blocked so the water doesn’t go down the drain pipe it falls off the end instead.

catching the rain
I’m trying to catch a raindrop but it keeps bouncing

Why can’t we catch it mummy?

The rain is coming down very fast. What happens when you throw a ball hard?

It bounces high

Yes and the rain is coming down very hard and fast so it bounces off your hand.

getting wet
I’m trying to catch a raindrop but it keeps bouncing

Shall we go home now and get dry, you could snuggle up in a blanket.

The girls removed their wet shoes. When we arrived home there was a big puddle outside our gate. I asked my 2-year-old if she would like to be carried or splash in the puddle barefooted. She wasn’t sure at first but then declared – splash!

barefoot in puddles
I’m trying to catch a raindrop but it keeps bouncing

After getting dry and snuggling under blankets for a while we decided to venture out for a while.  I took the dinosaurs to the sandpit and encouraged the girls to make a swamp.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

When the rain had stopped a disappointed 4-year-old complained

Oh, the rain has stopped we can’t play in the swamp anymore

It’s alright, it will stay wet for a while.

I think I may have succeeded in persuading them that playing in the rain is fun.

Other Rainy Day Ideas

  • Take umbrellas outside walk under drips or as my 4-year-old suggested – we could play Mary Poppins.
  • Make patterns with powder paint on the wet ground or on a wet sheet of paper.
  • Put different containers outside, cover them with different materials eg. plastic bag, tin foil, kitchen roll, fabric, netting. Find out which are waterproof.
  • Collect rainwater in containers.
  • Make boats to float in puddles or take out rubber ducks.
  • Make potions, give the children dry goods like flour, sugar or salt. What happens when they get wet?
  • Watch the patterns the rain makes in puddles or as it runs down the window. Have a race – which raindrop will get to the bottom first?
  • Play a dry land race, you are only allowed on dry land and have to avoid all puddles.
  • Build a shelter with bricks for small world people or animals.

picture_saved