Here at Vintage Toys, we’re celebrating the fact that most of our best memories from childhood usually revolved around the School Summer Holidays. Was it the long sunny days where you could cram in a few games of Hide ‘n’ Seek, Handstands, Tag, Kerby and cycle round the block 10 times before dinner? Or was it spending time with family and friends?
So whilst the sun is shining we’ve added our Top 20 favourite fun Summer Holiday pastimes (in no particular order). Let us know your favourite childhood games too! Our favourite will win a £25 gift voucher for spending at Vintage Toys!
1. Hide ‘n’ Seek
Ready or not, here I come! Fun, scary, exciting and best of all, you can play it anywhere! In the original, one person is “it” and must seek out the rest of the players who are hiding. The first player to be found will be the Seeker in the next round and the last player to be found is crowned the winner. Another version is called Sardines and is the opposite of Hide ‘n’ Seek. One person hides and the rest of the players must find them. Whenever a player finds the hider, they too must hide with them. This carries on until there is only one person left and all other players are hiding together (like a tin of Sardines!)
Get ready to run for your life away from the person who’s “it”! If they catch you and shout “tag” then you’re “it” and you better start chasing!
3. Climbing Trees
Who needs a climbing frame when you’ve got a tree? Birch trees were in abundance close to our home so we promptly named one small patch as our Tree Base. We’d climb them, dangle from their branches for as long as we could, read our books and comics up there and we’d always be on the look out for pirates up there too (we never found any though luckily!)
Our gran lived in a quiet cul-de-sac and whenever we visited we would play Kerby outside her house. Two players would stand opposite each other on the street and the aim was to throw a football and get it to land on the opposite kerb, making it bounce back to you. If you caught it, even better! Not one for busy roads, but ace fun if you’re blessed with a gran in a cul-de-sac!
We’d sing rhymes, incorporate dances and we even taught ourselves double dutch skipping one year after finding an old 5m length of rope (which we promptly put to good use as a double length skipping rope). Rhymes like “Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, turn around, Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear, touch the ground” allowed you to incorporate actions whilst you skipped.
Who’d have thought you could have so much fun with a pavement and some chalk (We’re not all Mary Poppins after all!)… draw some numbered Hopscotch boxes on the pavement and throw a stone so that it lands in a box. All that’s left is to hop, skip and jump your way to collect it ensuring you land on every number as you go (except the one the stone landed on).
Playing the Handstand Game was a firm favourite with my chums and I. Everyone took it in turns being the instructor and the rest had to all follow their lead by following their handstand moves. We’d do The Ballerina, the Wiggly Worm, the Crab, the Ruler – looking at the world upside down was decidedly fun!
8. Leap Frog
You always felt like a superhero when you leap frogged over your friends (and wished you were taller when you missed!). The first player hunches down whilst the second player vaults them and then they too will hunch down. Player three will vault over them both and then hunch down and this carries on until there are no players left.
9. Running through sprinklers
Sunshine + pretty pattterns of water = hours of fun! Our friend’s parents had a sprinkler that if you timed it right, you could run through it as it turned and just get a light misting. Get it wrong and you ended up drenched. Either way, you were guaranteed to have a ball. Combine with Leap Frog through the sprinkler and you’re onto a wet winner on a sunny day!
10. Days out at the seaside
Such a fun way to spend the day – just add a bucket and spade, some pebbles for skimming, an ice cream cone at the end of the day and someone to cover in sand (dad was always best for this!) and you’re onto a winner! Add a bit of coastal wind and you’ve got the perfect conditions for flying a kite.
11. Skimming stones
I was never able to do this, but spent many an hour trying. My stones just keep on sinking. But no matter, I’d watch as friends took a small and shiny stone and made it dance across the water and thought that they must be magic!
12. What’s the time, Mr Wolf?
Fun and scary – what’s not to like when you’re little? A variation on tag but with added scares as one person is chosen to be Mr Wolf and the rest are the players. Players ask “What’s the time, Mr Wolf?” and will be told the time – they must move that number of steps closer to Mr Wolf. As players get closer and closer, when they ask the time Mr Wolf will shout “Dinner Time”, turn around and chase everyone – the person caught would be Mr Wolf in the next game.
13. Tug of war
When we weren’t using the rope we found for skipping, then it doubled up for a good ol’ game of Tug of War. It was always girls versus boys, but unfortunately for the boys there were always a few more girls which meant that the boys usually lost. Not sure that they ever recovered from this!
We loved Piggy Back, Wheelbarrow and Three Legged Races. Piggy back are never a smooth ride but therein lies the pleasure. Add in a race and you’ll just be jiggling and giggling in no time. Wheelbarrow races and three legged races were just excuses to fall over all the time but that was all part of the fun!
15. Board games
For the inevitable rainy day, nothing was more fun than building a domino rally, or playing Snakes & Ladders, Draughts or Guess Who?
Who can resist a game of footie in the park with chums? Obligatory goalposts were made using a pile of jumpers and jackets on the ground – some things never change!
17. Kiss Chase
Like Tag, but if you’re caught you were subjected to a kiss (yuck!)…. No one wanted to be caught in our class so this was the game where you learned to run really, really fast!
18. Riding your bike
Your first taste of independence as a kid, nothing could beat the feeling of the wind in your hair as you pedaled round the block. Spokey Dokeys, handlebar streamers and a cool bell were all must-haves and your cool rating went up if you could go “no handies”….
There’s nothing more satisfying than a good clapping game that’s taken you a while to master. Some of our favourites were “CeCe my Dolly, I cannot play with you”, “Up Bombay was a bonny wee lassie” and “3,6,9, the goose drank wine”…. we’ll be adding videos of our favourites up soon!
20. Camping in the back garden
Our first taste of the great outdoors was in a friend’s back garden – not exactly the wild but it was still magical sleeping outside as that is where all the fun happened when you’re a little un! Seeing the stars in their full glory is always a pleasure.
In the meantime, let us know your favourite pastimes by adding your comments below – our favourite will win a £25 gift voucher for Vintage Toys!
Photo licences: Thanks to reusableart.com, flickr@ thephotographymuse fRedi Evelyn Saenz ♭ Nocturne ♬ ♪ ♩, Thomas M. Hemy (1852-1937) (Scanné de FIFA 1904-2004) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons, Frank William Micklethwaite [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons