By Regina Wright

I may be confessing my age, but let’s let our imaginations wander. Think about the time in your life when you were a child. What made your free time fun time? When I imagine, I think about long summer days and how I spent endless hours jumping rope. I had so much fun. Just one simple object, and of course friends, made my summers the best summers ever.

When I think about the things we played with I often think about how we made the most of some of the simplest items. Some of the things that come to mind are jump ropes, hula hoops, slinkies, chalk, playing cards, yo-yos, jacks, frisbees, and balls.

With a rope we didn’t just jump rope; we played tug of war. We used a stick and played limbo. With just a simple piece of chalk we played hopscotch, hangman, and tic tac toe, and we drew pictures and wrote stories. With a ball we played dodgeball, catch, kickball, and let’s not forget the old favorite, four square. Adventure seekers would use a scarf or a handkerchief along with a ball to play flag football.

With our friends we played tag, relay racing, hide and seek, Simon says, ring around the Rosie, red rover, red-light green light, and duck, duck goose. We also played hand games like patty cake and rock paper scissors. Having access to a few old chairs supported our efforts when we played musical chairs. Of course, we also had to have music.

Just some marbles, jacks, and a small ball meant countless hours of floor play. Who didn’t play with marbles or jacks? Have you ever tried a hula hoop marathon? We would see who could stay in the hoop the longest, shaking their hips from right to left without allowing the hoop to fall to the floor.

On nature walks or long car rides we played I spy, had scavenger hunts, made up our own songs to familiar tunes, and practiced tongue twisters. We also took turns using words to have contests with rhyming, opposites, and synonyms. We read stories and made up our own stories. In addition to making up stories on walks and trips, my friends and I also made up our own stories just for fun. As a group we each would take turns sharing the beginning, middle, and end. What a fun time!

Storytime is also fun time. The library is free and is a useful resource. Children can get their own library card; that way they are responsible for the books they choose to read.

The reason I wrote this article is because some of the programs I work with are not able to splurge on expensive games, materials, and/or playground equipment. If these items are not in your budget, then think about some of the play materials and games suggested in this article and introduce children to some that are developmentally appropriate. They just might enjoy them, and they may become more popular than you think!

Tags : GamesLibrarylow-costmaterialsoutdoor playplayground

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