Conn Iggulden [author of "The Dangerous Book for Boys"] said in an e-mail message that he routinely received correspondence from parents who yearn for a “return to simple pleasures,” which seems to stem from “potent forces, like the realisation that keeping your kids locked up in the house on PlayStations isn’t actually that good for them; or the appalled reaction of many parents to a health-and-safety culture that prevents half the activities they took for granted as kids — and that they know were important to their growth and confidence.”...Oh, that completely gave me a flashback to throwing a ball against the wall to the sequence: plainsies, clapsies, overhand, backsies, high, low, and under we go. It had advancing levels that would necessarily ultimately defeat you. I also remember spending a whole summer where we were obsessed with trying to walk across a ledge that got narrower and narrower at one end. No one could ever do it. I had fantasies -- and I knew they were absurd -- of becoming famous doing these things.
For many parents and educators, the burgeoning interest in old-fashioned games is an outgrowth of a broader campaign... to restore unstructured play in children’s lives....
Dr. Geoffrey Godbey, a professor of recreation at Penn State University, said the idea that parents can revive old-fashioned play is contrary to the spirit of play. He blamed “boomers who want to do it themselves again because they never grew up.”
His advice? “Let the kids go.”
But Sara Boettrich doesn’t want to. The Rochester, N.Y., mother has tried to exhume the old playground games of her own childhood, like seven up — which involves bouncing a red rubber ball against a wall. “I used to love that game!” Ms. Boettrich said. “My friends and I would play that for weeks.”
I agree with the people who say that the kids need to have their own motivation. But parents can at least insist that the kids go outside the way parents did years ago. And don't think we didn't complain about it. We all said "There's nothing to do outside." But the idea that we were supposed to go outside had some effect. Nowadays, I think parents accept indoor activities better for some reason. Maybe they like knowing where the kids and that nothing will physically hurt them... nothing sudden, at least... probably.
Here are some of the thing we found to do outside (none of it taught by an adult): octopus, swinging statues, tag, freeze tag, two-square, four-square, "Mother may I," red-light-green-light, Chinese school, monkey in the middle, leap frog, jump rope, Chinese jump rope, hopscotch, hide and seek, crack the whip. We also invented our games that we played at recess. I remember one called "jail." There was one called "Horsemasters," based on the Disney show. And I somehow got a lot of people to play a game I came up with based on a book I liked called "The Little Witch."
And you don't have to tell me that I should be outside... Why aren't you outside?
AND: I just noticed I'd written "swinging statutes" instead of "swinging statues." You might think both seem ridiculous....