Friday, 5 August 2011

Old Fashioned Kids Games - do you remember these??

If you don't tweet with Paul who owns When I was a Kid the online traditional toy shop, then you really need to - he is a lovely guy and always up for a bit of banter on twitter.  This week we have been talking about old fashioned wigwams (my boys are desperate for one and I refuse to spend that much money on a whim) and he was trying to tell me to make them one (have you seen my sewing skills?!) we are VERY good at putting a sheet over the line but the boys are wanting something a bit more "secret den" than that.  If anyone wants to make me one, then please do get in touch!

Anyway, I digress, we got talking about the games we used to play as kids and I couldn't believe that neither Paul or his wife knew how to play 40/40......A classic game if ever there was one!  So it got me wondering, are these games regional?  What did you play as a child?

Super Amazing Toddler with my Super Amazing Brother my partner in crime (grime)

Here are a selection of the games we used to play:

1) 40/40

It's a cross between hide and seek and IT and we played it daily on our cul-de-sac. One person counts  to 40 at the "Homie" whilst the others all hide.  Once the person gets to 40, they go and search for the others - if they see someone hiding, they run back and say "40/40 I see Susie, hiding behind the car".  Susie then comes out.  The object is for someone to get back to base and say "40/40 I save all" and everyone is saved.  If nobody "saves all" then the first person to be spotted becomes the counter.

2) Drain Marbles

I actually think this is very regional (London) as nobody ever knows what I am talking about when I tell them about this.  You basically find a drain on the floor (rectangular one) that has a smaller rectangle in the middle which becomes HOME.  The aim of the game is to get your marble into the middle rectangle.  If you do, then you can take your opponents go and if you get their marble into the rectangle then you win. 

3) Red Rover

"Red Rover, Red Rover, we want Pixie over"

What happened to this?! I expect it went out of fashion when "'elf and safety" got their grubby mitts on it (along with tree climbing and British Bulldog which incidentally we still play at Rugby) but it is a great, energetic and fun game!  You basically spilt into 2 teams (works best in neighbourhoods) of about 8-10 per side.  You stand about 50 yards apart opposite each other and all hold hands. You then say "red rover, red rover we want X over" and that person has to then break through the chain that the other team, if they break through they return to their team, if they don't then they join that team.  The winner is the last person left standing!!

4) Sardines

A variation of hide and seek and we loved playing this as well - one person runs and hides whilst the others all count to 100,  you all go in different directions and as you find the hider you then stay with them.  The last person to find the other kids then becomes the 1st sardine.  In my day we had the freedom to go into each others houses/gardens/sheds/garages so it used to take a very long time.  I hope my kids get to play this in the way that i did.

5) Knock down Ginger!

My favourite game EVER and I will be initiating my kids into this at some stage.  You basically egg each  other on to go up the path of someone (angry neighbour, sour old lady, grumpy mum) knock on the door and then run and hide and watch them open the door to find nobody there.  If you were really brave you would do the same person time after time!  Naughty but oh so nice!

We also loved French Skipping, Queenie, Queenie, Kiss Chase, Leap Frog and Hopscotch and a very elaborate game of Cowboys and Indians that lasted the whole of the summer.  I recently played hopscotch with my kids for over and hour and we all loved it!

I say that kids today need more "scream time" and less "screen time" and this is why mine don't have xboxes, DS's or TVs in their bedrooms and why most days we can be found outside running and playing after school to let of some steam.

So, what are your top 5 games from when you were a kid?  Do you play them with your kids today? 

Peace and Love

S.A.M xxx


  1. The only one of those I have heard of is Sardines and we called it Kippers :-).

    Did you play Elastics? where you have a huge circle of elastic, around two people and then one jumps over it in a pattern. You started at ankle level and then kneesies, waisties, and underarmsies?


  2. We played a version of 40/40 called 'Kick the can'. Our road was a dead end and every other house had children so we had great fun out on the street from dawn till dusk! No TV in our house either! Oh, those were the days! x

  3. HA HA Brings back many fond memories - these days its all xbox and computers - those were the good old days x

  4. Ah wow! This bring it back. Feel bad now for my kids that they won't get some of these experiences! I Only remember Red rover, but a few of the others seem like we may have variations. As I kid I spend hours playing kerbsie (bouncing ball off kirb scoring points), as a group on our estate we used to play a game (can't remember name) where you had to try to knock down a tower of cans without getting tigged. We also used to love when the council came & cut the grass coz we'd use all the cuttings to make our own outline houses and play families. Sad now, wish I felt I could let my boys out to explore like I did!

  5. Our 40/40 was called 'Ackey 1,2,3' No idea where the Ackey came from. We used the same tree as the base year after year. I've just been trying to teach my eldest daughter the hand clap chants we used to do in the playground. We used to have so many different ones, but I can hardly remember one. Wish I could though.

  6. You just brought back a warm fuzzy memory of playing sardines in the summer when I was about 6 and giggling whilst hiding with my best friend. Giggling was always my downfall!

    We were also slightly obsessed with off-ground tig which we mostly played in the local park.


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