At The Risk Of Sounding Old

I might feel ageless most of the time, but there are days when I feel older than dirt, one step away from waving my cane in the air. Just last week I caught myself shaking my head and muttering, These kids today… If that’s not a sign of old age, I don’t know what is.

The most recent event happened last week when I was sitting on McD’s patio enjoying a nice, refreshing iced tea. Mama and two kids–boy and girl, ages approximately 9 and 6, respectively–came out to the patio so that Mama could enjoy a nice, loud phone conversation and leave the kids to entertain themselves. Unfortunately, these kids had no idea what to do with themselves on this nice big patio.

Mama, Mama, can we go to the other one, the one with the playground?

Mama, can I get my game out of the car?

Mama, Mama, when are we gonna leave?

Mama, we don’t got nothing to do.

Pity I didn’t have my Strunk & White handy for a little lesson in grammar. (Does S&W have a junior edition? If not, they should.)

Anyway, the whole episode struck me as a sad indicator of the apparent passing of my favorite childhood games. No matter where we were, my sister and I, along with any friends who happened to be around, could entertain ourselves playing Freeze Tag, Leap Frog, Follow the Leader, Hide and Seek, or Mother, May I? All very active games, which we were encouraged to play (when appropriate), not because of the health benefit but because it would possibly make us go to bed earlier. :)

The little boy eventually got up from the table and began walking along the top of a low brick wall. His younger sister promptly followed. When he jumped off the wall (which he did at random intervals and with accompanying acrobatic maneuvers), his little sister attempted to emulate. Ah, an impromptu game of Follow the Leader, I thought, but then the little boy pushed his little sister off the wall and told her to quit following him. She started bawling (loudly), and as I was gathering my things to leave, Mama was yelling at both of them, “Sit down and be still!”

Kids playing red roverThis little scene has stuck with me. Given the current weight problems many of our kids are experiencing, are we doing enough to promote exercise, and not only team sports, but everyday movement–the kind that’s just for fun? Are we too far gone for “old-timey” games like Red Light, Green Light, Simon Says and Red Rover?

Do your children, grandchildren, nieces & nephews play actively? Are they waiting for you to show them some cool games to play? :) And what were your favorite games when you were a kid?

Image credit: Wikipedia

21 thoughts on “At The Risk Of Sounding Old

  1. I have some very fond memories of all of the games you mentioned. It is true, kids don’t know how to entertain themselves these days.

  2. First — pretty sure you aren’t remotely old!!!
    Second, that’s kind of a sad story about the kids – and when they finally figured out how to entertain themselves just to be told to sit down?!
    I try to encourage my boys to be active but good idea to teach them some of the old games we used to play – I think a neighborhood game of Red Rover could be fun!!

    • We lived behind a school playground and kids from all around would meet on the football field to play red rover until dark, when porch lights would start flickering on and off, the universal signal that it was time to come home. :)

  3. I can assure you that when I was a child we never turned to the adults to keep us busy. We found endless entertainment in very active games like you mentioned. We also read, sat and played jacks and even made interesting designs like “cup and saucer” with just a long piece of string tied together. Sad that kids don’t know what to do with themselves, but it is no longer safe to let them go outside and play by themselves as we did.

    • I know times have changed, but instead of keeping the kids inside, I wish more parents would get out and play with them. Or at least be a presence.

  4. My nieces are not really all that active. They are busy, but not active and would rather watch TV than do other things. Sometimes I feel like doing that, too 😀

    • LOL I used to be able to do that, but nowadays I’m going-going-going until bedtime. I miss stretching out and reading for an afternoon. :)

  5. ooh…I totally hear you on this one. Actually I was not an active child, but I WAS an avid reader. I would have a book and read all. the. time. when I was home. We grew up without a television or video games and I used to love to play teacher with my dolls; when I wasn’t reading. :)

    My kids play more video games now, and they also like to read. (We do not have a t.v. either, except as a monitor for the random movie or video games) Interestingly enough, they always find something active to do when they are told they’ve had enough video games. Amazing. *wink*

    Our kids are active in sports in school and they always played outside for hours when they were younger and we hadn’t bought our gaming systems yet. I thanked my husband’s active genes for that at the time.

    I am proud to say that today my 12-year-old wanted to play the Wii and I suggested he do his 30-minute workout “game” first on the kinect while I did my Jillian Michaels workout downstairs. He readily agreed.

    Sorry…kind of a long comment, but I guess I’m old too, because you really hit a common thread with me on this one. :)

  6. I read recently where petitions have been started and games from our youth have been banned from playing games like Red Rover and Hide and Seek because of the possibility of injury! Um yeah, because the possibility of childhood type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and cardiac problems before the age of 18 are better than a skinned knee. It’s sad.

  7. I played all those games & growing up back east, we were outside all the time although I still ate too much & got fat as active as I was then. :)

    All studies point to social media & video games & that stuff for some of the issues with obese kids.. they don’t do enough activity. Luckily my stepdaughters keep her kids active! The video game stuff is there but also activity. :)

  8. Favorite–Hopscotch!
    My son volunteered to supervise outdoor activities at his church’s evening bible school. They played Red Light, Green Light, Mother May I, and Red Rover. He also got some other Dads to do Daddy Gym on Saturday mornings. My 4 grandchildren do not watch tv or play video games–they play!

  9. We did play those games as kids and were so good at entertaining ourselves! I taught my own children all kinds of games that we could play some active for the back yard and park and some word games for the car and other places where we couldn’t run and play. They played school and had a pretend detective agency in a small area under the stairs where they would invent stories for hours on end! For quiet times they also always had books to read! Oh, the good ole days!

  10. Hide and seek and tag! And we were lucky that we lived close to a pool and spent a lot of time there every summer.

    actually thats my now fave as the FREEZE gives me a little break to recover my breath :-) before I rejoin the little peoples.

  12. My fave was red rover, red rover (the one you have pictured) and kick ball (we didn’t know it was soccer or that it had rules). The kids in my family don’t play outdoors. Really sad. When I was young, my nephew and I went outside and stayed there until Mama called us in to eat.

  13. Gee, we played all those that you mentioned, and jacks, hopscotch, jumprope (which i wasn’t great at, being kinda uncoordinated), bike riding, marbles, making cat’s cradles’ with string. We had one TV, and the adults usually chose the channel especially if we got to arguing over what to watch. The kids I work with these days whine over a cool half-mile walk. They all know how to work the electronics, though!

  14. It is a shame that kids don’t play outside anymore. Like JC my sister and I used to be out all day and only went home when we were hungry. We were given so much freedom and nobody seemed to be that worried about where we spent our days.

  15. I too think kids nowadays are missing out on the pleasure of neighborhood games that are spontaneous. We have 9 grandchildren, and they are active, but 90% of their activity comes from organized sports. Sometimes they don’t seem to know how to build forts and create their own play activities that come from an unplanned meeting in the neighborhood. I tend to think that we (and I’m older than you are) had a lot more fun and in the process learned a good deal about a lot of things.

    Old fogey here just putting in my two cents worth….

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