Monday, 6 June 2011

Games from my Childhood

I'm taking part in Alex J. Cavanaugh’s Fun and Games Blogfest

‘Blog about your three favourite games,’ said Alex.

‘Easy,’ I thought...

...but there are so many games to choose from that it’s almost impossible to select three.
  • Can Wii games be judged in the same category as board games?
  • Can a game of Spider Solitaire compete with a game of Pooh Sticks with the grandkids?

When I was a girl, games really were games. You could lose yourself for hours and hours without using a single battery or charger pack and so, in reverse order, my top 3 games are as follows:

In 3rd place is Snobs 
(in other areas of the UK it was also known as Stones, Fives or Jacks)

I had five small cube shaped stones. They were made of china clay and each one was a different (and very pretty) pastel shade. The idea of the game was to throw them on the floor and throw one up in the air while picking them up one at a time, then two at a time, then three and one. 

Finally we threw the handful up and tried to catch them all on the back of our hand. [I can’t quite remember why but I remember loving it.] 

In 2nd place is Skipping

I had a small rope of my own (no fancy handles, just a piece of rope) and I’d skip for hours in the back yard but the best Skipping took place in the playground. There was always someone who had a very long rope and this very long rope was always being turned by two kids. The rest of us would stand in line, run under the rope skip and run out again.

I can only remember one skipping song: 

‘Two fat sausages
Sizzling in the pan,
One went pop
And the other went bang.’ 

On the word bang we had to stop skipping and jump astride the rope. 

You see what I mean. Life doesn't get any more exciting than that! Today's kids don't know what they're missing!

And now for the winning game 

In 1st place and a clear winner is *roll of drums*

Double Ball 

With two rubber balls and one brick wall I could spend a whole morning – a whole day – playing Double Ball.  I’d chant endless rhymes (but I can’t remember a single one!) and I’d throw the balls under arm, over arm, bounce on the ground, clap my hands between catches, one ball up in the air and then back onto the wall. The combinations were endless and I’d pride myself on never dropping them. I could even have kept going right through dinner (except Mum didn’t let me).

[These days my favourite game is far less active. I’m totally addicted to Bridge. It’s the best thing I learned to do since Double Ball.]

Can anyone think of those songs we used to sing while we threw two balls up against a wall? I'm going crazy trying to remember them!


  1. My my I'm back to being a girl, playing ball against the neighbour's wall, skipping in the playground and playing Jacks....thank you for the memory, those certainly were the days....! x

  2. I loved jumping rope when I was little. Last time I tried, I could barely get one rotation in! I think the rope wasn't long enough... at least that's my excuse.

  3. Hi Pauline, glad to meet another ball against the wall player. Our neighbours must have been very patient people.

  4. Hi Patricia I know what you mean. The last time I tried to skip my feet got in the way. I think that gravity has become more powerful these days! That's what it is!!

  5. I used to love skipping! I'd skip for hours... seriously. I was kinda scary that way.

  6. ooh i've never heard of snobs! Sounds like it would be a fun game to play. I used to skip rope when I was a kid, too:)Thanks for sharing!

  7. Skipping rope is a fun game and a great way to get exercise, too!

  8. The UK games are new to me!
    Thanks for participating in the blogfest.

  9. Those are great ones. Well, I've never heard of the first one before. But I was the same kind of kid. I could spend the whole day just throwing a ball against the wall or skipping rope.

  10. I love your choices. I would love to try snobs. It was hard to choose. I love most games.

  11. I wasn't as skilled as you to play double ball. I remember another jump rope song, though: "Miss Mary Mack, Mack, Mack..."
    Fun post.

  12. Skipping rope sounds too much like exercise for me! Double ball sounds like a form of juggling.

    Tossing It Out

  13. Hi Ros .. didn't know jacks was called those other games - interesting; now skipping I was hopeless! and Double ball sounds loads of fun - wouldn't have minded having a go at that ..

    Bridge my parents taught one of my brothers and I .. and we sat up for hours playing into the night - alright for us - we could sleep all morning .. not sure what Mum and Dad did .. have bags like me I guess!

    Cheers - love the games though .. Hilary

  14. For me it was French skipping with all those loops of elastic at your ankles cats cradle style. Quite aggressive one potato, two potato fist games,all kinds of tag including never touching the ground, grandmothers footsteps and statues [much more subtle]..leap frog..I could go on..! I sound so old don't I but this is only the 60's in Surrey, UK.

  15. Oooh, ooh, I remember Miss Mary Mack, Mack, Mack too - thanks for bringing that back, Robyn! I skipped for hours too - up and down the path, or in one spot. I could swing for hours on end as well. I never really did Jacks, but my husband played Snobs (he's a Leicestershire boy).

    Thanks for the flashback, Rosalind

  16. My mom, who grew up in Scotland, taught us a couple of ball against the wall games. I'd forgotten all about them! I did play one a lot - it started with one something and counted up to 10 something. I can hear the rhythm in my head, but I can't remember the words!!! Gotta call my mom!

  17. I wonder if kids still play those games anymore?

    Even though I grew up with video games in the 80's, we still went outside all the time, making up all kinds of games with the stuff we had. I remember playing hopscotch a lot, using chalk to draw the court on the driveway. I love hearing about the games people played when they were little kids - it takes me back to a simpler time. :)

  18. How fun!
    I loved skipping and still do it once in a while!
    Oh, those days of our childhood, I have some wonderful memories skipping the days with with my sisters.

    Margie :)

  19. Ros, you'll be delighted to know that my grandchildren play snobs / jacks but over here it's known as " chamesh avanim" , Hebrew for five stones ( logical really)
    All my daughters and granddaughters love skipping in fact at weddings it's a custom for the bride to hitch up her long dress and join in with a long specially prettily designed wedding rope - we have some great pictures of these antics.

    I'm not going to bore you with all the double ball rhymes I remember but here's one
    1 2 3 O'Leary
    4 5 6 O' Leary
    7 8 9 O'Leary
    10 O' Leary ...... drop the ball

    And another one begins
    P K penny a packet ( that's the PK chewing gum)... see if you can remember the rest

    Gotta stop now and go and make some cheesecake
    Chag Sameach

  20. I've skipped rope, but you had me at those other games! We played four-square, hop-scotch, double dutch, down-down-baby, chinese jacks, ball!

  21. I used to jump rope all the time!

  22. I LOVE this post!! It brought back a flood of childhood memories. And I see above all the memories of other bloggers.

    I loved skipping rope, outdoors in spring, summer, fall with the neighborhood friends. I loved playing games with them: Monopoly, Run Sheep Run, No Bears are Out Tonight. You know them all, I'm certain, too. Chinese checkers, jacks, hopscotch...the list goes on and on.

  23. I hadn't heard of snobs, but I can see it's one of those games you can play for hours!

    I never liked skipping much; I was more of a hula-hoop person. :-)

    Bridge isn't played much over here, but we have a few local equivalents that are quite fun to play. We used to play them at family gatherings, in a kind of friendly competition.

  24. the only one I know is skipping, but I've never used that rhyme before

  25. This was fun reading about these!

    I gotta admit I was never good at skipping rope. (Picture a giraffe and a long wet noodle)

    This blogfest has been a blast! Was interesting, learning about double ball and snobs.

    Thanks for sharing!

  26. Hi Talli, Me too. Must be why I've got wear and tear of joints, huh?

    Hi Nutshell, snobs is a local to Leicester name I think.

    Hi Jeffrey, we didn't worry about getting exercise in those days though. It was just a game!

    Hi Alex, glad to have educated you on our UK games and thanks for organizing it.

    Hi L.G. you've got to feel sorry for our neighbours with all that ball play, haven't you!

    Hi M yes it was hard to choose which is why I went for the nostalgia.

    Hi Robyn I don't remember that one.

    Hi Arlee, no way as hard as juggling. Don't know how you manage it!

    Hi Hilary, what! You never tried double ball? Someone get some balls for Hilary, quickly!

  27. Hi Susan, I never quite got the hang of that elastic version of skipping. It was hard!

    Hi Beth, I'd forgotten about swinging. We had a swing in our back yard. I used to swing and watch the sky for hours.

    Hi Jemi, did you mom remember it? Think I might make a collection of them so let me know if she came up trumps.

    Hi Liz, I almost included hopscotch. It was another favourite of mine but Alex would only allow 3 so...

    Hi Margie did you even double skip with your sister? Memories!!

    Hi Ann well done for remembering.

    Hi Samantha, I remember dodge ball. It was too scary for a skinny wimp like I used to be.

    Hi Nicole, and do you still do it?

    Hi Ann, you can't beat a bit of nostalgia, can you. I don't remember No Bears are out Tonight though.

    Hi K.C. I forgot about hula hoop... another favourite!

    Hi Baygirl did you skip to rhymes or was it paddy (very fast) skipping?

    Hi Bryce I love that mental picture of the giraffe and long wet noodle. Thanks for making me laugh.

  28. Hi, Rosalind.

    I just read the comment you wrote on my interview at 1st Author Interviews. Thanks for stopping by. You said: "That's so powerful and it's such a brave subject to tackle. How did you ever survive the drafts and redrafts? It must have been like reliving it over and over again."

    This is my response: The first part was especially difficult, probably because of how intense that all was when it happened, and the way I still felt about it all. The last part in a way wasn't so difficult to write because I had recently written many of those scenes and they didn't require a lot of revision. And I did find through all of it that my perspective had changed; that I'm calmer now, more peaceful, and so when I got to the end it just felt good.

  29. I don't know, perhaps it outdates me! But I do remember that sausage song. I sing it to my daughter :)

    Duncan In Kuantan

  30. We played an easier version with one ball, called Heads Up. I remember clapping and saying rhymes, but 2 balls would've done me in. I even jumped rope in my kitchen to encourage my kids to try. Years ago my mom joined in too, and they couldn't stand having their grandma out jump them! Julie

  31. I loved skipping as a child. Still do. It's a great exercise. But I can never find a rope that's long enough...


  32. Hi Ann and thanks for getting back to me here. I'm so glad that life is calmer and more peaceful for you now and I wish you all the best.

  33. Hi Julie, you've made me laugh with the image of you and your mom skipping while the kids hide with embarrassment. lol.

    Hi Misha, that's no excuse for not exercising. I bet the washing line is long enough!!!

  34. What you call Snobs, we called Dabs. Jacks were those little metal cross-things. I can still remember lots of skipping rhymes. Also, did you do bumps? Where the rope whizzes past twice for each jump? What you call Double Ball, we called Two-Ball. Great for those days on your own, playing against the wall. I'm also old enough to remember hula hoops from the first time round. Happy days!