We read in the newspapers and see on the television about children being abducted and worse, so it's no surprise that there is a lack of children playing out on the street as we (we of a certain age anyway) used to do.
I walked down the street earlier and saw four kiddies playing Dobby. For those of the games console era, dobbie is a little like hide and seek, but rather than just seeking out the hiders, both hider and seeker have to race back to the "control point" (for want of a better phrase), usually a lampost or gatepost and "dobby" the hider. It really was exciting stuff!
It got me thinking though. Ok, so kids these days have iPods, games consoles (I'm not even gonna pretend I know the name of the latest console or the must have game!) and mobile phones (for heavens sake), but do they really know what they are missing out on?
Aside from hide and seek/dobbie, we had British Bulldog. British Bulldog wasn't great fun for me. I was quite a chubby child, so a game where you had to run from one side to the other without getting tagged wasn't my favourite.
Kerby was probably one of the most dangerous games played. It involved one person stood at one side of the road, one at the other, trying to throw at ball at the opposite kerb. This really had to be played on a quiet road, otherwise the ball (at best) would end up under oncoming vehicles.
Paper Chase was a particular favourite, but up until a certain age, I was only allowed to play this if my older brother or sister were playing too as it involved leaving our street. A trail of paper based clues left in various locations in the village, leading to an eventual hiding place of the person who had left said clues.
These games, and variations on them, weren't all that went on. Oh no. The girls were often having handstand contests (again, something I was never very good at) or the skipping ropes were out and the boys would be off playing army, or something just as destructive, resulting in brusies, grazes and blood! But this was in the days when if you got a cut on your elbow/knee/head, your mum put a plaster on it and you back playing within five minutes!
Games were played into the evening, even when it started to get dark, until you were called in for dinner/bathtime.
Snow days were fun. We lived at the top of a cul de sac, and one year the snow plow came up (to this day I still no idea how the driver got it up and turned it round on such a narrow street), leaving us kids at the top of the street with a ready made barricade, whilst the kids at the bottom end of the street had to make their own. Obvisously, it was nowhere near as good as ours!
As we got older, the top of the cul de sac became a football pitch, a tennis court and even a cricket strip.
I really don't think children these days know what they are missing out on. These games were so simple but actually got us out in the fresh air come rain or shine, rather than sat in front of a screen all day.
Bring back the old days I say!