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Playing in the Yard or How Did We Play in the Past

How to Improve the Mental Health of your Child
Credit: GettyImages

As we get older, we tend to look to our childhood as a perfect time in our lives. The expression “we were poor, but we were happy” is often heard. There were no computers or mobile phones, and not every home had a TV. Children had to make their entertainment, and many of the games they played have been forgotten. Playing games like jackpot bells in the yard when young can easily slots into these conversations.

Hide and Seek

If the yard is big enough and there are places to hide, this is a fun game. There would always be someone who found a place where no one could find them. One person has to close their eyes while others are hiding. The last one found is the winner of that round. For safety reasons, it may be best that younger children do not play this unsupervised – modern-day health and safety that would not have been considered during childhood. 

Blind Man’s Bluff

This is another game that may well fall foul of health and safety. The seeker is fitted with a blindfold and spun around while the others are playing the game run away. Once the games start, the others cannot move away again but only bend to avoid being tagged. The seeker moves around the yard, trying to find the children. This is also an ideal way to keep children quiet when parents want a little peace.

Simon Says

Simon says it is ideal when the yard is only small. One child is chosen to be Simon, and they give the instructions. Anything that starts, “Simon says,” is followed so, “Simon says hop on your left leg” is an order to be followed, whereas “hop on your left leg” should be ignored. Any child who carries out the latter order is out of the game.

Jump Rope

Two children take each end of the rope and begin to turn it. One child jumps into the middle and starts to skip. Sometimes it would be simply seeing how many times they could jump over the rope while for others, there were songs. In some cases, others would join in and all jump rope at the same time. Cinderella dress in Yella (yellow) was a popular song sung. The children sing a song about Cinderella and, at the end of it, start to count. A child jumps in and, on the number, jumps the rope. The one reaching the highest number wins.

Duck Duck Goose

All the children sit in a circle, and one is chosen to start. They walk around the outside of the circle and tap each child on the head as they pass and say, “duck.” They then pick one child and say “goose” as they tap them. That child then has to stand up and chase the first child around the circle and catch them before they reach the gap where they had been sitting. The one who does not make it is then the new chaser.

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