Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Hop, Skip, Jump...

I asked my daughter what they’d been up to in PE these days, and I was surprised to hear they were practicing tinikling. I remember learning this dancing game in high school. Half the class sits facing each other in long rows, with each pair holding a pair of bamboo poles. They beat the poles in rhythm two times against the floor, and then once together. The rest of the class hops in a line between the moving poles. If you miss a beat, the poles snap shut around your ankles.

Maybe to avoid the punishment of bruised shins, now they use elastic bands. That reminds me of another elastic-around-the-ankles game we played when I was little - Chinese jump rope. I haven’t seen anyone playing that since I was a kid. I tried to teach it to my own kids when they were little, but I don’t think they were impressed. It looks like a giant game of cat’s cradle with a lot of skipping. As I recall, it was pretty easy to get all tangled up and land face first. Or maybe that was just me. I’m a klutz.

Now that I think of it, I hardly ever see kids playing regular old jump rope anymore. Once in a while I’ll hear of jump ropes being dragged out for a charity jump-a-thon, but that’s about it. Some years ago I got appalled by the lack of playground equipment at my kids’ school. I went to Home Depot and purchased a bunch of rope and made a whole bag of jump ropes. I made short ones for individual jumping, and long ones for group jumping. I tied the ends into loops and tightened them with zip ties. They were very cool.

They were a big hit, too. But it was short lived. I don’t know what happened to them the following year, but they disappeared. Maybe they were lost, or maybe they were taken away when the kids started whacking each other with them. Who knows?

I know kids still play hide-and-seek. And red rover. How about red light, green light? Or Mother, may I? What were your favorite playground games when you were little? What do kids play on the playground where you live?

If you want to see a fun tinikling demonstration, click here.


Angela said...

I found you from Bish's amazing blog.

The kids around here play tag, freeze tag, keep-a-way (and many versions of it with monsters).

In spring / summer kids jump rope and I see Chinese jump rope too. I loved that game and when my friends tired of playing it with me I used chairs to hold the rope and jumped with them. (A trick a showed my youngest last summer).

They have jump rope contests at the schools here too.

Suzie said...

WE live in the city so its all indoors I guess. My ones are too little for most of those games yet so who knows

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

Tag and football. But the girls still jump rope here, according to my son. Every year the local schools participate in Jump Rope for Heart, so they're still skipping in Wisconsin!

Bish Denham said...

In the islands we played a number of circle/singing games that were decidedly West Indian in flavor. Jump rope, jacks and marbles were also popular as were Freeze Tag, Hide and Seek, Mother Nay I, and Simon Says. There was also a game called Steal the Bacon, which I've never seen played anywhere else.

Rena said...

Oh, I LOVED Chinese jumprope! I played it all the time. I'd put the rope around the legs of 2 chairs and play it by myself. I had a blast with that, along with regular jumprope.

I don't even know what to think about today. The playgrounds have to be padded and practically rubber. Kids are banned from playing tag. It's just all weird now. I think I remember doing what your daughter did with the bamboo sticks. Our school also did a May pole dance for May Day.

Kelly said...

I remember doing that bamboo stick thingie! And I spent hours and hours playing chinese jump rope. My son's fourth grade teacher taught them how to do that this year, so he did that a bit. Mostly at recess the boys play basketball or football. My first grade girl says she runs at recess. At home they play on the playset, swing, do down the slide, play pirates...

adrienne said...

Angela - I did that chair trick, too! Less arguing about whose turn it is, too :)
Thanks for visiting!

Suzie - That would be tough. When my kids were teeny it drove me bonkers when we couldn't get outside to play.

Green Girl - Here it's tag (til that got banned) and soccer. I asked my son, and he says the jump ropes only come out for the jump-a-thon.

Bish - My kids played steal the bacon at school! I never quite got the rules, but they seemed to like it :)

Rena - I remember the May Pole! We always messed it up.

Kelly - Wow, a kid that runs for fun? My kids always considered that to be torture! But some of their teachers made them run many laps before school...

PJ Hoover said...


Loved the Chinese Jumprope. I was THE MASTER!

Kim Kasch said...

My PE teachers must have been ex-military men 'cause we did calisthenics - no fun dances for us.

ICQB said...

hop scotch, jungle jim (had to wear shorts under dress for this - plan ahead!), kick ball

Carrie Harris said...

Put me in the Chinest jump rope club too! We used to play every day during recess.

Dodge ball was the big thing around here last summer. That and hide and seek.