Tuesday, May 08, 2007


Remembering the game kids used to play.

Remembering the games kids used to play.

I found a couple of marbles when I was digging near my compost bin and it got me wondering if todays kids would have as much fun playing the games we played as a kid.
Remember all those pretty marbles, or alleys ( or was it spelled allies or ???) as they were often called. If you told kids today that you played alleys ( spelling is probably wrong) , they would probably think you meant you played in the Alleys between ot behind buildings. Seems like things are constantly changing, like when alleys became known as marbles. Those snake eyes, those larger marbles, the solid colored ones, the transparent colors that you could see thru, the multi-colored ones, the more kinds we had the better we liked it. That timy hole we made in the ground to roll the marbles into. One game reminded me a lot of Horseshoes. If you rolled your marble and it stopped close to the hole without falling in, then the next player might hit your marble and either knock it in or send it flying far from the hole. You would try to get your in while knocking theirs out further away. Like when someone had a leaner in horseshoes and the next to toss a horseshoe tried to knock the leaner off, but sometimes you ended up knocking down that leaner into a ringer.You might start out playing with just 3 or 4 marbles and end up winning a lot more and go home with a lot of marbles. Wonder what parents thought when their kids asked for more new marbles? Today they might accuse other peoples kids of stealing their kids marbles, or if their kid came home with a lot more than they left with, they might think their kids stole them. Back when I was small, parents never complained about their kids playing to win or lose. When I think about it, wasn`t that a form of gambling? Noone ever thought of it that way back then. It was just a fun game, noone got sore if they lost.

Then there was the Hopscotch games where we drew the game on the sidewalk with chalk, or on the ground with a stick. We used to draw them in the dirt driveway. Not as many dirt driveways around today, but chalk still works on the paved driveways. There were three squares in a row, at the end of those three was two drawn sideways next to each other and the center of these two was lined up with the center of the third square, then the fifth box was drawn on the opposite side of the last double boxes, then after this one was another set of two. You had to jump on one foor tor the first three, then you jumped landing with one foot in each of the next doublw boxes, then back on one foot for the next single box, then using both feet in the last two boxes, then you jumped up landimng with yout feet in the same two boxes onle heading in the opposite direction and repeated the same hops back to the very first single box. If you stepped on any line on theboxes, or landed in the wrong box, or let your other foot touch the ground while hopping on one foot, you were out and had to start all over again. Sounds so easy today, but I still remember seeing many kids losing their ballance and putting down the second foot to keep from falling. Oh yes, the game also required a small stone that you tossed into the squares and it had to land in the next square each time it was your turn, until it had landed in all the squares. If the stone missed landing in the right square, you lost your turn and had to try the same box on your next turn. The first one to finish was the winner.

Then there were the jacks and that tiny rubber ball. I see they can still be bought in some of the Dollar stores. Today they sometimes use jump ropes for training exercises. We used them just for fun. Noone ever told us we might lose weight from all that jumping. It took three to jump rope in our games. One held each side of the rope ( we just had an old piece of clothesline rope) and those two started spinning the rope while a third kid would jump into the spinning rope and start jumping up each time the rope neared their feet. If we didn`t have a third kid , then we tied one end of the rope to a post or whatever else was handy and one kid held the other end and did the spinning. Sometimes we would have two or three kids in the middle all jumping at the same time. If one of the jumpers missed, stepped on the rope or didn`t jump fast enough so the rope hit their feet, then that person was out and had to switch places with one of the kids doing the rope swinging.

Then there was the tick-tack-Toe game with three in a row where one player used an "X" and the other player used an "O" and you took turns making either an X, or O taking turns putting your X, or O into any one of the 9 squares on the board ( three rows with three boxes in each row). We didn`t have a board to play on when I was small. We just drew 2 lines down, and two lines crossing these down lines to make the 9 spaces. Outside we used a stick to draw it and also to draw our x or o letters in, while in the house we did it with a pencil on scrap paper.The first one to get three in a row in any direction ( across, down or diagonal from one corner to the opposite corner) was the winner, but many time it ended in a tie with noone winning. I received one of those games for Christmas a couple years ago from a couple of my great grandchildren who love playing it. So, I still play that game with the great grandkids today.

Then there was the "May I "game where one was the head one and any number of players were playing. If the head one said to take three steps forward and you took the three steps without asking "May I?" you were out. Then there was the game "Simon says" where the kids in charge would either say something like " Simon says hop on one foot" it was ok to do it. But if the kid said just "Hop on one foot" and you hopped you were out. You only did what was said if it started with "Simon Says".

What ever happened to games like tree tag, or wood tag? We had trees in our front yard and also way out in our back yard. Sure did a lot of running going from the front yard to the ones out back giving the one who was it a much better chance of touching you before you got that far. If you got touched while your hand wasn`t touching a tree, then you became it and the former it kid was in the running part again. Another game that kept us from gaining a lot of weight, but we never thought of it at the time. Seems like we were always jumping or running. Maybe thats why kids were usually thinner back then. All that exercise out in the fresh air. There were no computers or Tv games as there also wasn`t a TV for us to sit in front of. The first TV in my parents home was one my older brother won with 3 chances for $1.00. We were teenagers in High School by this time. There was just the radio to listen to and you didn`t need to sit down to do that. We did own a Victrola where you wound it up, placed the large old style 78 record on it, placed the needle arm over so you could lower the needle onto the record. I still have one of those wind up boxes in my attic. The first record player i owned was after i was married. THar one played both the 78`s and the 45`s. You could put on more than one record and when one record was done, it automatically dropped the next record and just kept playing. i still own a lot of those old 78`s and 45`s that I play on my old sterio. I wish the newer sterios could hold more than one record at a time so you didn`t have to stay near it to keep removing and adding more records. I also still have two 8 track players, the second one was for a car, but I never put it in the last car. I have the other 8 track player connected to the Aux on my newer sterio set.

We had a Carom board with losts of different game on it as we grew older. We had a cro-chey game with the wooden balls, mallets and wickets. That was always fun as the whole family would play together. We played a lot of checker games, both the chinese checkers using those small marbles, and the regular checkers with those red and black markers. I still remember I prefered the black color, but if someone else wanted the black, I played using the red. Color never realy did matter. we also played a lot of rummy card games and as we grew older, the rummy changed to more advanced card games such as Canasta, Samba and so on. When my mother was in her 80`s, she found "crazy 8`s" easier for her, so thats what we played each time we visited her. In fact, one New years Eve, Walt and i were visiting and along with one brother, the four of us played till 5AM in the morning. Every time we finished a game and mentioned we needed to go home, she would say to Walt "You can stay long enough for just one more game, can`t you". Walt and i felt like we were playing half asleep, while my almost 90 year old mother was still going strong. Boy, were we ever relieved when at 5AM in the mornimng my mother said this to us " Dot, Walt look so tired, why don`t the two of you go upstairs to your old bedroom and get some sleep". I bet that was the fastest we ever fell asleep- almost as soon as our heads hit the pillows. When we got up the next morning, my mother was cooking breakfast fior us.

We played so many games that cost little or nothing to play and I think we laughed a lot more than kids do today playing all their expensive games. I am sure if I took more time thinking I probably would recall a lot of other games we did for fun. One of my favorites as a teenager was playing 'around the word"- a game using the basketball. I received the basket ball set one Christmas and years later after I was married the basket remained up over my parents garage door and all the relatives used to enjoy using it when they visited my parents. Even my children played it when we were there. Funny when I think of it now, I never once thought of taking my hoop and basketball home for my kids to use. When my older kids were teenagers I bought them one to use here at home. After my kids were all grown up and had their own places, I taught a grandson to play Around the World and we had fun together.

I`m sure if I gave it more thought I would remember many more fun games we used to play.


I remember playing with marbles and loosing lots of them.
The big ones were worth five little ones to us then and the solid colored ones were worth two with the clear ones with something inside were one.
Then there was the crystal ones and the were smaller but worth ten.

We played with baseball, hockey cards everything.
It was our first intruduction to gambling and math was something you needed LOL.
The kids today would think your nuts.
Today its all computers or XBox.
No hide n seek, no cowboys and indians just Medal Of Honor on the computer.

Great post :)
I remember the games you are talking about and loved playing them. I also played Red Rover, Hula Hups, Pick Up Sticks, and oh so many more that you have of course mentioned---what fun those days were.

Thanks so much for the special memories you have brought back.

Kids today miss out on so much.
Dear Dot
I enjoyed reading this. As a return gift, I have the following info on marbles terminology for you (from the net, ofcourse!)

Either a marble made out of agate or a glass marble that looks like it's agate. A glass or imitation aggie is also called an immie.

A marble made of marble. Alley is short for alabaster.

Dropping your shooter on the target marble.

Lifting your knuckle from the ground while shooting.

Playing for keeps. You get to keep all the marbles you win.

Knuckle down
To put one knuckle of your shooting hand in contact with the ground. Most players put the knuckle of their index finger on the ground. You position your shooter in the crook of the index finger and flick it out with your thumb.

A way of choosing who shoots first. Players roll their marbles toward a line in the dirt (the lag line). Whoever gets closest without going over gets to shoot first.

The target marbles in a game. Another name is Kimmies.

Playing for fair
All marbles are returned to owner after the game.

Playing for keeps
The winner keeps all the marbles after the game ("winner keeps, loser weeps").

Hitting the targets on the fly.

Another name for a shooter. Shooters are often slightly larger than target marbles. In some games you shoot from behind a taw line.

Have a nice weekend
We had fun with those games didn't we? I loved Tag and Tetherball and Hide and Seek. I loved going to the Tank and swimming and having Mr. G come down and threaten to tan our hides. He was the first one to hit the lottery in our county after my husband worked for him out at the base. Only now he tells me I can take my kids out to his tank. LOL.

If our kids didn't have what they have today, they would play those games. Sad, huh? But then some of us would have never "met" online.

Happy Mother's Day tomorrow!
Hi Dot

I stopped by to wish you a Happy Mothers Day @-;--
Walker, Thanks for the Mother`s Day wishes. Those were the good old days when playing games didn`t usually end up in a tug of war (unless we were having fun with a rope)as most played just for fun. Ever watch the faces of some of the kids playing their expensive games on TV? No smiles unless they are winning. They are missing out on the best parts of friendship- just enjoying spending their time together.
Yes vickie, I did forget Red Rover, Red Rover, won`t you come on over and also pick-up sticks. But, I must admit that Hula Hoops weren`t invented till after I grew up, but my kids did love them. We would certainly have enjoyed them if we had them back then.
WOW, guess that tells how old I am - no Hula hoops, no TV till I was in high School. Maybe thats what kept us playing outdoors- no Tv to sit in front of. HaaHaa.
Yes Vickie, we sure did find a lot to do for fun. Today, you hear them saying "There`s nothing to do". we could always find lots of fun things to do. We also played an awful lot of baseball with loads of neighborhood friends coming to our field by the house. Looking back I wonder why our parents let us and all our friends play baseball so close to our house. They never once complained. Luckily, not a single window ever got broken.
Happy Mother`s Day.
Thanks Geets. I knew alley was short for something, but as hard as I tried, I couldn`t remember the word alabaster. Been so long since I have heard this word.
Thanks for the update on the Marble games. Both you and Walker have helped me remember the point system and the meanings of words.
So, I got an education myself this time. When I copy this post to save, I will be sure to add all this information for my grandkids and great grandkids to read. Would be nice if they decided to try out some of the old games and bring them back for their children to play. But, that`s probably just wishful thinking on my part.
Thanks, a very nice week-end to you too.
Yes Monica, we sure did have lots of fun. We did play a lot of Hide and Seek and tether-ball was one thing I bought for my youngest son when he was small. I think it is still upstairs in the attic. I had forgotten all about it.
One of the nicest things about writing this sort of blog is having others bring up many more fun games to remember from our past. So many wonderful memories.
Thanks for the Mother`s Day wish and a very happy Mother`s Day to you too.
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