Sit back and think about the types of things you did when you were a child? How did you keep yourself entertained? What activities did you enjoy with family? Friends? Back in the day, when Atari was the game system, did you sit around all day playing those games? Or did you go outside and find something to do, especially during summer vacation?
Many will remember the good ol' days, when televisions weren't turned on and left on all day. When laptops weren't even thought of. And no one had a cell phone. When the streetlights came on, you knew it was time to head home. You had free reign in the neighborhood, and everyone knew everyone. There was a real sense of community that seems to be lacking in a lot of areas today.
Why not bring the good ol' days back for your children? Check out the list below for some reminders, then think about what was important to you during childhood. Can you add anything to the list?
- Take your children outside and show them how to play Hide-and-Seek, Red Rover, Red Light Green Light, Mother May I, and Simon Says. These games are especially fun as it is starting to get dark. Pair older children with littler ones to form teams.
- Saturday morning cartoons were a must. Look for DVD's of old cartoons (not newer versions), and play them on Saturday mornings. Let the children sit on the living room floor, eating cereal and enjoying the shows.
- Camp in the back yard. Pitch a tent. Sleep out there with your children until they are old enough to do so on their own. Tell stories by campfire, let them find sticks in the woods for roasting marshmallows and cooking hot dogs.
- Take the family fishing. Get each person their own fishing pole, and a small tackle box. Dig for night crawlers some night after a rain, and put them in cups of dirt in a cooler to use when fishing. Children 16 and under fish for free in Maine.
- Have the kids in the neighborhood get together for a friendly game of baseball. Serve them fresh lemonade or sun tea, poured into glasses filled with ice cubes.
- Let children make homemade lemonade and iced tea to sell at their own lemonade stand, and help them make cookies or brownies to sell as well. They might also enjoy painting rocks to sell. (Be sure to check your cities zoning laws before allowing them to sell anything. It is sad that they might not be able to do this for free.)
- Lay outside with your children on a somewhat cloudy day. Ask them what they see in the clouds, and point out what you see.
- Teach your children how to play hopscotch, and how to make mud pies. (Yes! It is okay for them to get dirty.)
- Marbles and Jacks were also great things way back when. And Bubbles! Let's not forget playing with bubbles.
- Board games are fun played inside, or outside under a tree. Chutes and Ladders, as well as Candy Land, were popular back then, and are still readily available.
- There was also a dice game, Bones, and card games such as Rummy, Crazy Eight's, Old Maid, Go Fish, and War. Many children were also taught to play Cribbage. Played at camp, these games are fondly remembered by many adults today.
- Little girls used to play house, and have tea parties, with their dolls. And sometimes let their brothers play Barbies with them. These types of play are still popular.
- And, little boys (and often their sisters!) used to play cowboys and Indians. These boys would also let their sisters play trucks and cars, and even G.I. Joe, with them out in the dirt driveway.
- You can still take your children to a drive-in, so they can have the experience of watching a movie outside. Maine still has a few.
- Do you remember catching fireflies in canning jars? Be sure to poke holes in the cover, and explain why it is important to set them free after a few minutes.
- Jump rope games were always fun, and many are still played today. Teddy Bear, Cinderella, and K-I-S-S-I-N-G were a few such games, though their were plenty more.
- Slip 'N Slides were fun. And running through sprinklers, as well as running through the stream of water when they opened a fire hydrant at your school or along your street.
- Swimming in lakes, ponds, and streams was also popular.
- Tree houses made great club houses.
- Spending time in the woods was fun and educational. Making your own paths. Learning about plants. Finding a frog pond.
- Comic books were popular back then. Archie, Conan the Barbarian, Tarzan, and X-Men were but a few.
What fun things do you remember from your childhood? Please share your memories with us in the comments below.
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