Saturday, May 05, 2012

Games We Play When We Were Kids

I'm staring at the young girl sitting across me. She was perhaps 5 years old, bespectacled and deep in thought. In her hand was an iPad, and she was intensely playing Angry Bird, trying to get past a particularly difficult level.

Her older brother was next to her, equally obsessed with his PSP and oblivious to his surroundings. Their parents were chatting casually over tea and kuih, perhaps cherising some peace and quite from their children.

How times have changed.

During my time as a kid, we don't have Internet, iPad, PSP or even Wii to begin with. Most of the time we played 'real' games involving simple everyday objects, or some which requires more physical energy (running around, jumping).

Here are some games which I recall playing as a child during recess time, and enjoyed them very much too.


I can't recall what is the local term for this game, but I knew it as hopscotch. The game involves hopping across a course comprises a series of squares (usually drawn on sand or using a chalk) in a particular sequence. I only started playing this game when I was in standard 4 or 5. The first player tosses a marker (usually a stone or bean bag) into the first square. The market has to land completely within the designated square without touching the line or bouncing out. The player then hops with one foot around the course, skipping the square with the marker. Players are allowed to use both feet on side-by-side squares. Then they need to make one full turn and retrieve their marker and continue the course as stated without touching a line or stepping into a square with another player's marker.
Upon successfully completing the sequence, the player continues the turn by tossing the marker into square number two, and repeating the pattern.
If while hopping through the court in either direction the player steps on a line, misses a square, or loses balance, the turn ends. Players begin their turns where they last left off. The first player to complete one course for every numbered square on the court wins the game.
Source : Wikipedia

5 Stones Game

5 Stones game is played by 2 or more players using 5 small triangular cloth bags filled with rice or saga seeds. The objective of the game is to complete a set of eight steps of throwing and picking up the bags simultaneously.

The player starts by throwing a stone. Then pick up one stone and catch the stone in the air before it falls to the ground. Do this for each of the stones on the ground. For Steps 2 to 4, repeat step 1 but pick up two stones at a time. This is followed by picking up three stones and four stones subsequently.

Step 5 - Whilst throwing one stone, place the four on the ground. Throw one stone up again and catch it whilst picking all four stones on the ground.

Step 6: Throw all five stones on the ground. Pick two stones. Throw one in the air and exchange the other with one on the ground. Do the same with the remaining stones on the ground.

Step 7: Throw the two stones held at the end of Step 6. Pick up one stone and then catch the two falling stones separately in each hand. Do this until there is three stones in one hand and two in the other. Throw the two stones and catch it separately. Throw the remaining stone and catch it with the hand that has all the stones.

Step 8: Throw all five stones on the ground. The opponent selects a stone to be thrown in the air. The player has to pick this stone without moving any others. The player throws the stone in the air and picks the remaining on the ground in one clean sweep.

I never owned those 5 stone bags before but I always enjoyed playing this with my classmates and cousins. The challenge always lie with the last step because you need to be quick and also have big palms to be able to pick all the stones before the one the air falls!

Source : Infopedia

Pick Up Sticks

Pick up sticks is a simple yet challenging game usually played between two to five players. A bundle of colourful sticks are held in a loose bunch and released on to a flat surface in a random disarray. The objective is to remove a stick from the pile without disturbing the remaining ones.

The players must not move any other sticks while attempting to remove the chosen stick; if any other stick moves, his or her turn ends immediately. Players who successfully pick up a stick can then have another turn; the player keeps removing sticks until he or she causes a secondary stick to move. The game is over when the last stick is removed. The winner is the player with the highest number of sticks picked up.

This was a perennial favourite game that we played during primary school. There will be different groups playing this during recess, and even between classes because it is considered one of the games "approved" by our teachers. If I remember correctly, our version is a little more challenging because the black or white sticks has more points that the other colours so everyone would be aiming to pick up those colours first.

Pencil/Eraser/Ice Cream Stick Game

This game is popular among the boys in my class, we just like to watch them play :)

The boys will first accumulate pencils, erasers and ice cream sticks. Then they will line up their wares horizontally against each other on both ends of a desk. From there they will use their might, or come up with some strategy to blow their own pencil so that it will go over the opponent's pencil. Winner will get to keep the stick or pencil.

As for erasers, instead of blowing, they will use their finger and press on the edge of the eraser so that it will hop like a frog. Whoever that is successful to overtake the opponents eraser will be the winner and gets to keep the opponent's eraser. Some of the boys will bring additional pencil boxes to show off their collection of erasers.

Looking back, now I know why our little stationery shop in the school always runs out of erasers :)

Rubber Band Jump Rope

Photo credit - HCMH Today
While the boys are obsessed with their eraser and ice cream stick games, the girls have their own challenging game - jump rope rubber bands.The entire jump rope is made of layers of rubber bands, to give flexibility as well as being more resilient. Two person will hold each side of the rope against the same part of their bodies so it is even. The player will attempt to jump over the rope according to each level. They start off with ankle level, followed by knee, upper thigh, waist to shoulder level. Can't recall if anyone managed to jump with the level above the head.

In the beginning, it is very easy as everyone can jump over. As the level keeps getting higher, the player must now try to leap over, pulling the rope down so they can cross. Some even attempted cartwheels to cross the rope. This is usually played during recess time. The girls will all wear shorts underneath their pinafores to avoid any "opps I just flashed my knickers" case, so you don't normally see boys watching the girls play this game, haha.

I enjoyed watching my classmates play this game, but I don't play it myself because I was scared of falling down. I'm a coward in that sense :(

These were the games we played during the eighties, I had so much fun then, even though I'm not playing all of these games. I wonder if DC will be playing any of these games by the time she is primary school?


Lilium said...

Hopscoth is called Teng Teng. Lompat getah was my all time favourite. Did you play Galah Panjang?

n i l e e y said...

I played galah panjang during primary 1 and 2

n i l e e y said...

Now you mention it, I wanted to include galah panjang but seems that I have forgotten! LOL