Growing up we played a lot of games. Some were your typical kids’ games, some were completely made up. I remember a girlfriend and I had a marathon game of Monopoly one summer. We would play every morning until we got tired and then leave it for the next day, when we’d pick up where we left off. I can’t remember who won, but it kept us busy for several weeks that summer.
When we visited our cousins who had a pool, Marco Polo was a given. Water dodge-ball was also lots of fun.
Hide ‘n’ seek was popular on the block where we lived. Everyone knew everyone, so the entire block was fair game and we’d hop fences from one end to the other. I remember a few sprained ankles from jumping fences and from hiding on sheds. When we visited our New Jersey cousins, we played flashlight tag at night. It was similar to hide ‘n’ seek, but when you found someone you tagged them by shining the flashlight on them.
One of the made up games we played was “Tornado.” This pretty much consisted of stretching your arms out from your sides and twirling around in circles until you got dizzy and fell down. It was just something silly my sisters and I did. There were no winners or losers, but we laughed a lot.
Every so often we’d play kick the can in the street. We were the last street in the neighborhood so there wasn’t much traffic. It was just people who lived on the block. We also played baseball in the street. I wasn’t very good when I was young. One day a boy from down the street told me to be the catcher so he could show me how to bat. He swung back and caught me in the nose. After that, I wasn’t so keen to be the catcher.
Hopscotch was always good, even if no one else was out to play. And I could spend hours playing solitaire. Other card games I played with my sisters were War and Go Fish. When I was in high school someone came up with the tortuous game of Knuckles. The loser got their knuckles smashed with the deck of cards by the winner. That one falls in the “What were we thinking?” category.
We put on a lot of shows in the neighborhood too. There was singing and dancing, and acrobatics on the swing set. Somehow I always landed the clown parts in the show. I wiped out my mom’s collection of tiny Avon sample lipsticks with one show.
We played jump rope too, but I never did master Double-Dutch. What about you? Share your memories of childhood games with us, but more importantly, share them with your family.
About Juliana Smith
Juliana Szucs Smith has been working for Ancestry.com for more than 16 years. She began her family history journey trolling through microfilms with her mother at the age of 11. She has written many articles for online and print genealogical publications and wrote the "Computers and Technology" chapter of The Source: A Guidebook of American Genealogy. Juliana holds a certificate from Boston University's Online Genealogical Research Program, and is currently on the clock working towards certification from the Board for Certification of Genealogists.