Kids these days are so awesomely advanced. They have their PSPs, Xboxes, iPods and can operate both a PC or a Mac without much fuss. They are exposed to gadgets at a very early age that when you ask them for their hobbies, all they can answer is playing on their insert-name-of- device-here. Whatever happened to children games? Of course we’re not talking about games for children online. We’re referring to traditional games. The ones that we played when we were kids (ehem, don’t ask how old the writer is) and we don’t have all those nifty iPhones around.
Games of children, the ones that we grew up playing, are never complicated. They’re fun and take a lot of mental and physical endurance. When we started going to school, the excitement only levels up as we learn about games around the world. It was so amazing to know that children of all ages, regardless of race, enjoy the same set of games. The rules may vary a bit per region but it’s the same wholesome fun.
If we were have to our way, we want our children to experience the same childhood that we had. And that means playing some or all of these games with our neighbors, friends and classmates.
Possibly one of the most popular international games. This is best played with a huge group so everyone gets to run around a lot, chasing other kids. The rule is simple. Someone is assigned as an It, and he chases his playmates. Once he catches one, he tags him and that player becomes the new It. Can you imagine running around in a vast field, with the sun shining and everyone is all sweaty yet nobody wants to stop because it’s just too much fun? All the running around kids do these days is when their mother wants them to take a bath. So much for strengthening the legs and the heart.
I think all those spy and thriller movies that involve hunting down criminals and the like are derived from this old, old children’s game. If you need us to explain the mechanics of this game, then maybe you should go back and have a second childhood. Honestly, hide-and-seek is probably one of the easiest yet cool games for kids and not unless you’re a constant It, should be a lot of fun. The It should cover his eyes, stay in a designated station and count from 1-100 probably, depends on how big the playing area is, then when done, he has to look for the other kids. His playmates don’t only have to hide well, they also have to outrun him to the station and shout “saved.” If all the other kids have come back to the station and the It didn’t catch anyone, then he is still the It. The thrill of this game is whether you’ll be caught or not, and if you’re caught, would you be able to redeem yourself. This is live action, kiddos!
Ah, one of the best board games ever. This beats firing at zombies alone as this needs at least two players. This is best played with the family, holding a contest as to who has the widest vocabulary — Mom, Dad, sister or you! Each player gets seven tiles every round and they take turns forming words on the board. Each tile has a corresponding value and the value of the word formed is counted every turn. When all tiles are used up, the scores are totaled and whoever has the highest automatically wins the game. The best thing about Scrabble is that not only does it enhance one’s vocabulary, it also allows the family to bond, whether on a winter night when the streets are snowed in or during a warm summer evening while hanging out at the porch.
What better way to develop balance and leg strength than this game of hopping between squares? Hopscotch is best played on a flat area, where you can draw the pattern made up of eight blocks. Players would need a flat rock or a marker that you can throw inside a specific block. The 1st player would throw the marker on the first block and hop his way to the topmost square then come back and get the marker while still on the second block and skip the first block. The blocks vary as there are some that you can only place one foot on it while there are some that require you to place both feet inside the squares. The trick is to make sure that your feet or marker don’t step on and out of the pattern or the lines forming the blocks. If this happens, you lose your turn and another player will start. Whoever manages to finish hopping on all blocks first is declared the winner. If the instructions confuse you, the actual games is trickier and more difficult to master. More enjoyable than the Hangman, we swear.
5. Crack the Whip
Ever played Snake on one of those old Nokia phones? Crack the whip basically has the same principle, only that you don’t “pick up” members along the way, you try to lose them. A leader should head the line then everyone must hold hands. The leader decides on the route, veering left or right, going faster and faster until those who cannot keep up anymore loses their grip and detaches from the “body.” The players left standing, er, running strong with the leader after a looong time are the big champions. This is great for those little kids who never seem to get exhausted.
Boggle is one of those family games that proves that the saying, “the more, the merrier,” is completely true. A boggle is a square toy with letter cubes. Each cube has letters on all side. All players must look for at least three-letter words diagonally, horizontally or vertically among neighboring cubes. All words found are written down a piece of paper under the corresponding “finder’s” name to make sure they are not repeated. As soon as time is up, an hourglass is included in the set which functions as the timer, whoever has the most number of words found is the winner. Again, playing boggle with the family is a great way to spend family time. You can even challenge the legality of the word formed by your Mom. It is only during playing with your parents that you get to question them and their decisions so why pass up on the chance?
Kids of today’s generation shouldn’t declare their childhood over until they can play these games. They should set aside their high-tech gadgets and go out and mingle with kids their age, whether in the neighborhood or in school. These traditional children’s games are guaranteed to give them a good time, because of course, what do kids want to do most? Running around and getting sweaty and spent, right? Parents are also encouraged to play board games with their children to enhance not only their relationship, but also the children’s command of the language. So yes, please keep those PSPs and other wired devices in the cabinets until these kids give up playing tag out at the backyard.