As children head back to school this fall, their days will be filled with lessons and social opportunities. One of those opportunities may be playground games. These types of games usually take place in the classroom, outdoors, or at physical education, and involve a group of children. Some are played for fun, and some for a purpose.
Older school games might even have a history. For instance, a popular game called "Simon Says" is rumored to be a tribute to a statesman named Marcus Tullius Cicero. It was called "Cicero Says". In Latin, the phrase was "Cicero dicit fac hoc," meaning "Cicero says do this." Cicero was a well respected orator of ancient times, and very influential. If Cicero said to do something, the population did it. Later on, it became "Simon Says", perhaps because the name was more familiar to the general population.
Most old school games are easy to play. They require little or no equipment. Here are some games played during the Victorian era for social interaction that required a handkerchief, or something similar. You can find these and more in the book Games Without Music written by Lois Bates in 1897 at Project Gutenburg.
DROP, DROP, DROP
"The children stand eighteen inches apart in a ring, not joining hands. One child walks round the ring, holding a handkerchief in their hand, and repeating the words "One, two, three. Come follow me. Drop, drop, drop. Where shall I stop?"
At the word 'stop,' they drop the handkerchief near one of the children, and run; the child picks it up and follows them as they thread their way in and out of the ring, until they are caught. Then the 'chaser' goes round the ring with the handkerchief, repeating the rhyme, and the child who was caught stands in the other one's place."
"The children stand in rows facing each other, each child holding the handkerchief of its opposite partner, and so helping to make a long tunnel. The first two children are “a” and “b”. The last two children are “c” and “d”. As they stand thus the verse is repeated:
Ducking under is the game,
Are you ready, children, all?
Hold your handkerchiefs quite fast,
Then run under when I call,
One, two, three.
At 'three,' 'a' and 'b' run under, and stand at 'c' and 'd' respectively, extending handkerchiefs as quickly as possible, so that the next couple may be able to pass under. The couple who stood next 'a' and 'b' at the beginning follow, then the next couple, and so on until the 'tunnel' has moved round the playground."