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Friday, 1 September 2017

Motherhood Rants: Childhood Games Children Don't Play Anymore

Dearest hearts,

#DidYouKnow that a research done in 2016 showed that 3/4 of children in the UK spend less time outdoor than prison inmates?! 
4 Generations
I remember reading an article a year ago about how childhood changed only just recently. The Guardian noted down that children nowdays spend outside only half of the time that their parents did. This is mainly due to the usage of tablets, PCs and the Internet with all its addictive wonders. Children nowdays just don't "work" the way we used to, every generation is different - not necessary better or wiser, even if the information is just out there and all you have to do is stretch out your hand. Children don't play anymore the games previous generations played - not even in the term of computer games like Mario Bros. Take this even further, to someone who was born and raised in the fifties and you'll start seeing huge differences. Back in the 50s, for example in good old Great Britain (and not only!), there were streets dedicated for children to play - there were no playgrounds back then, kids could play in front of the block if they wished so. The traffic was not as insane as nowdays and the dedicated streets were used only by the locals living on it. Now it's a common thing to have enclosed playgrounds, for the sake of the children's safety. I sometimes think they act more like cages and we are being introduced to these cages at a ripe age, so we can get used to it and not feel restricted later on when you have a cubicle at work.

I remember my childhood and the games we used to play. I played a lot with my sister and my cousins yet I must admit that I never quite interacted with kids my age from the same block of flats when I started 5th grade and further on. I remember warmly the early days of kindergarden and primary school - a wide smile and peacefulness comes over me:
1) Make believe - it's something children nowdays don't seem to develop. We had colour tv and we had foreign stations but we had limited time in front of the TV and it was always a pleasure and something we would hardly wait for. In the free time kids would run, sing, play and read. Reading develops your brain in wonderful ways. We first would read and then imagine what we have read. If you did not understand a word you would take the dictionary in your hand and manually search for the meaning of the word (or ask mum or granny). You would again start the process of imagination. We were not force fed the image. Having read The Lord of The Rings or Harry Potter before seeing the movies was a thing of wonder - to see what I imagined come to life. Make believe is when you take straws and break them with your hands and put them on a big leaf, imagining you are making salad and serving it to your friends. Make believe is closing your eyes and letting your imagination run wild, never in a negative way.
2) The ducks and the hunters - we just loved to.play this one with our door to door neighbours. You usually do this in two pairs of 2 people but you can extend the team adding as many as you like. The idea is to have a team of hunters, split in two, and a group of ducks in the middle - between them. The hunters have a large ball (football, basketball) and they throw it at their prey - whoever gets hit must get out and not play anymore until all the ducks are caught. Of course the ducks can sway left or right so the ball does not touch them. The hunter must stay at least 2 meters away from the line of ducks. It's always great fun! 
3) Frog - this was not a ladies thing to play but the girls played it nonetheless! It was a fast game to show of who's better at jumping. Someone would crouch, assuming the position of a frog. The others would line up a few meters away, start running and then as he would get to the "frog" the kid would use it as a jumping spot and jump over the "frog". The bigger the jump, the better ;) and more applause and ovations from the line waiting for their turn. 
4) Hopscotch - I do see this game being played but not very often and not in the multitude of options that I have seen played in my childhood. All you needed was a piece of chalk of a piece of stone that could "write" on the pavement. It's a game that can be played alone, in pairs or in a group. It involves hopping and jumping from one square to another, with various other rules added to it - according to the person who plays it ;)
5) The telephone without cord (RO: telefonul fara fir) - my generation saw a boom in electronics and the FFW type of development of mobile phones. When I was small everyone had a home phone number, there was no such thing as mobile phones, the phones had a cord and some models even had the circle with numbers that you had to turn - if you screwed a number up you had to hang the phone up and do it again. This game was played with everyone, and as the games above, needed not many things to start off. The children would form a line and the beginning of the line person would say a word or a phrase, whispering it to the next one, making sure no-one else hears it. That person wpuld have to pass it along in the same way until it reached the end of the queue. The last one had to say it out loud and see if it was the same as the first person said it. The more kids the bigger the distortion and the fun ;)

Yours very much truly,
The Twisted Red Ladybug That Had A Wonderful and Wonderous Childhood without Internet