Now that my twins are in kindergarten I get to hear about all kinds of games they cram into just 30 minutes of recess. Mostly these consist of games with teams: the girls vs. boys teams, the good vs. bad teams, and jump rope.
One day last week they came home with a piece of yarn leftover from a measuring project and asked me to tie the ends together. Then M wrapped the ends around her two hands and waited for L to do something...except that L had no idea what to do and so the two of them sat there staring at the yard around M's hands.
I have no idea how long this would have gone on without my finally saying, "Are you trying to play Cat's Cradle?"
And that's when I realized that my little babies are soon going to be playing the games I used to LOVE to play with my friends outside at recess. These games are different than your classic board games like Chutes and Ladders and card games like Old Maid and Go Fish, which we often played with our parents.
There are 3 classic "kids-only" games we played simply because most adults at that time could not follow them. It also seems that every child of the 80s grew up learning at least one of these, if not all. And apparently, they are still around. I can't wait to share them with my girls...for as long as they'll let me.
Miss Mary MackThe earliest of these games in pat-a-cake. But recently I came across a Miss Mary Mack book that had more verses than I had ever heard. Plus, there were intricate hand movements that went like this:
Cross arms, slap thighs, clap together, clap right hands, clap left hands, clap right hands.
And here's how the song (if you call it that) went:
Miss Mary Mack Mack Mack
All dressed in black, black, black
With silver buttons, buttons, buttons
All down her back, back, back.
She asked her mother, mother, mother
For 50 cents, cents, cents
To see the elephants, elephants, elephants
Jump over the fence, fence, fence.
They jumped so high, high, high
They reached the sky, sky, sky
And they didn't come back, back, back
'Til the 4th of July, ly, ly!
I remember playing by myself on those long car rides to Vermont. I also remember making my older brother play with me when I wanted to do the 2-person version...which later lead to me being forced to play the football 'hand-held' game that was actually more the size of a laptop but that's another post.
The only ones I can remember are Cat's Cradle, Witches Broom and Jacob's Ladder but if you gave me a string I'd be hard pressed to know how to do any of them. And that's where I give a BIG Twofer Thumbs Up to, what else? YouTube! YouTube will keep all of these games alive for generations to come.
We used to spend the entire recess taking turns jumping and judging, and I have the distinct honor of being the one to have Dr. Scholl'sbanned from school after my sandals went flying off my feet nearly clocking a teacher on the head. The jump rope started out low around the ankles and moved up higher as long as you didn't miss.
(Babysitter version was to put the jump rope around your neck and see who could 'jump' it without a) breaking an arm or b) taking out one of the rope holders.)
Do you remember these and can you add to my memory of them? I know I'm missing some of those Cat's Cradle moves especially.