Monday, March 8, 2010

Childhood Games

What games did you play as a child that required use of imagination? What did you play on a rainy Saturday afternoon? What household items did you use as props to aid you in your drama?

I am the oldest of 12 children. There are four girls and eight boys in my family. We grew up in a house without a television. We NEVER had a television, ever. That meant there was lots of "down time" for us to play and invent games using our imaginations.

I remember playing this game called "Sue and Joe." Myself and my brother, Timothy, who is 17 months younger than I, would pretend to be these two people called Sue and Joe. My sister, Katie, who is four years younger than I, would always be the dog. She was always a collie and her name was always Shep. I don't quite remember what Sue and Joe did, but we probably just played house or some game that mimicked what we saw adults doing.

There are pictures of Timothy and I, dressed in dress-up clothes, sitting on the arm of the couch. Piled on the couch behind us are all of our toys, covered in blankets. We were "going on vacation." The ever present baby doll was on my lap.

When there were more siblings and it was time to clean up our toys, we would play "Noah's Ark." We'd spread out a big blanket on the floor, pile all the toys in the middle of the blanket (even the ones that were already in their proper places), and then put them all away. It would take hours.

I'm sure there were more, but I'd have to ask my siblings what else we did. What prompted this memory was Saturday afternoon. I was upstairs painting on Saturday and heard my girls playing downstairs. As I listened, I realized they were pretending to be "poor Russian Jewish immigrants on a boat on their way to America." I peeked over the bannister to get a glimpse of their costumes which had come from the overflowing dress-up box. They each had on a long skirt and a scarf tied around their head. The living room floor had been transferred into a ship room with beds (made from the couch cushions) and a small table (the piano bench) with a single candle, cups of water and dry crackers for their food. I heard Belle (who I think was the mom) tell the children that if they didn't go to sleep, she was going to call the Prime Minister.

I was going to listen to a CD or the radio while I was painting, but after listening to their conversation, I decided that their little drama was much more entertaining. Three of their friends came over for an hour and joined right in the game. When it was time for their friends to go home, I called the dad and told him the "poor Russian Jewish immigrants" had disembarked and were on the way to their new home. His response was classic. "Then I'll go and lift my lamp beside the golden door." :-)

I absolutely LOVE to listen to my girls when they use their imaginations to play. We have a television, but I'm so glad that they're capable and willing to leave it turned off and play creatively with each other and their friends. During the summer they play pioneers, Indians, and we've even had a hobo jungle. I think if I and other parents all over the country could secretly capture children "playing and pretending," it would make a most entertaining and quality TV show. It'd certainly be better than most of wha's out there.

So, what "pretend" games did you play as a child?

1 comment:

  1. We did school a lot. We also had a ton of dolls and Barbies that we were always making stuff for - either by sewing with my mom or in my dad's workshop. We didn't have a TV either so it was play, create or read. : )

    It's been so much fun seeing my Bekah's imagination unfold. I can't wait until they are a little older and start playing together!

    have a great day!