I remember when life was nothing more than finishing school in time to play outside before it got dark. The days between the first snowfall and the first fifty degree day of the spring, were hard ones for me and my siblings and, because we lived to play outside. Every year there were new games to play outside, mostly ones that involved stories of some sort and make-believe. Today, I want to share some of those games, because I miss them.
1. “House” version 1
First of all, I did not call it house. I called this game “home” or “family.” Why? Because I was scared of the TV show House. When I was little it always came on just after either American Idol or Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (Gosh, I loved that show!!). Anyways, at the beginning of every episode there was a little message that said, “Viewer discretion advised.” For some reason that little message always freaked me out! So, whenever we played “house,” I would call it “home.”
Anyways, the first version of this game was very simple. My siblings and I (four of us in all) would gather all of the fold up tables, outside-furniture cushions, and toy cooking stuff that we could find and put it all in a big pile. One-by-one, we would all pick out the pieces that we wanted, except for my brother. He was always the wanderer (i.e Indian, soldier, police officer etc. who for some reason never had a proper home). After sorting all the stuff, my sisters and I would pick a place for our houses to be. I always picked my favorite spot under the trees at the top of the hill. My sisters always fought over the front porch and the loser had to make-do with our tiny back porch. Most of the actual game was spent visiting each other and getting speeding tickets from my brother when we went too fast down the sidewalk on our scooters and bikes.
My “home” under the willow and pine trees.
In my neighborhood we can’t put up a small baby pool. You know, the kind that are like two feet high! So we used our tiny sandbox for a pool and played in the sprinkler that was mostly used to water the grass.
There were many games that could be played with the sprinkler, but the best game was the mermaid game. I learned this game from a friend… who actually had a pool. Basically, we were all mermaids (me and my sisters) and we all lived beside the sprinkler. That was the game. So much fun. XD
3. Indians and Settlers
This game was the most fun once we built our deck, before the deck we had a tiny back porch. After the deck was built we used it as a boat for the settlers to come over the “ocean” in. My two sisters and my brother always wanted to be Indians. I always wanted to be a settler because then I could dress up. 🙂 I would pack some dress-up clothes, dishes, and a few books into a box and leave for the “New World” where the Indians lived.
After my arrival in the “New World” I would set up camp and explore, inevitably finding the Indians. War would ensue and or we would become friends. War was much more exciting.
4. Grass Soup
Besides playing make-believe “house” games, we would always play cooking games. I learned this game from another friend, or maybe she learned it from us… I can’t remember now. Anyways, it was a great game. We would take all the five-gallon buckets we could find and fill them with water and the cut grass that came out of the mower (I’m not sure if there’s a technical name for that or not). Next, we would add whatever was growing in the yard; dandelions, grass seed, violets, leaves, petals off of random flowers, and of course the secret ingredient. 😉 This could be anything from a blade of grass to our own breath.
We would also play other cooking games. We would collect the broccoli and grape tomatoes that we grew in the garden, add water and voila, we had soup.
5. The best game
One year, before the deck was built, we bought a camper and parked it beside our house to clean it up. It stayed there for a while (even though it was violating the neighborhood rules) and we loved to play in it. Behind the camper we had our baby pool (before that too had to be taken down) and every day I would wade through it on my way to the covered wagon, I mean camper. 🙂
It was the best game because we had a pool and a permanent house. I can’t remember why it was so great, but I have fond memories of playing everything from pioneers to camping. It was a great time.
Those are a few of the outdoor games that I played when I was younger. I made so many good memories playing these games and I still remember them fondly. 🙂