Top 10 City Kids Street Games
Written by: Catalogs.com Editorial Staff
April 26, 2011
Filed Under Games and Toys
Contributed by Cara Hartley, Catalogs.com Top 10 Guru
When pressed to recall their youth, most adults will reminisce about endless childhood summers spent running around the neighborhood with their chums.
As child labor was outlawed in the last century, most kids were pretty much broke, and had to find cheap methods of entertainment. In today’s world of Facebook, video games, and countless television channels, it is easy to forget the street games that generations of city kids have relied on for recreation.
Here are the top ten city kids street games:
10. Hide and Go Seek
This original game of predator vs. prey teaches youngsters skills that they might have needed thousands of years ago when our place at the top of the food chain was not quite as stable as it is today. Hide and Seek requires a seeker, also known as “it”, and at least one hider. It is a versatile game that can be played anywhere, anytime, by almost anyone.
A group of children playing tag resembles chaos more than it does any kind of organized game, as it entails chasing and running and that’s about it. Just as a flock of birds somehow seamlessly takes flight, hordes of screaming children somehow know who is it, who has been tagged, and who is still free.
The game of jacks originated over 2,000 years ago, when our ancestors played with whatever items they could forage from the land around their homes. Kids would collect small stones and animal bones to play jacks; the bones were eventually replaced by rubber balls, and small metal pieces were created to resemble animal knucklebones.
Jump ropes were constructed of bamboo and vines before the modern version came to be. Jump rope games like “Double Dutch” were extremely popular in the 1940′s and 50′s. Today jumping rope is considered one of the best forms of exercise around, and remains an entertaining game for kids of all ages.
The first hopscotch courts were used for military exercises, and were over 100 feet long. All that is necessary for a good game of hopscotch is a piece of chalk and a marker (a bean bag, penny or stone) for each player. Players throw their marker into the squares and take turns hopping to the end of the court.
Skully was a popular street game that originated in New York. Using bottlecaps or poker chips, players take turns trying to knock the other pieces off of the chalk-drawn board. A semi-combination of hopscotch, skee ball, and dodge-ball, skully is the epitome of the innovation that bored children are capable of.
Basketball courts are available in almost every town, some nicer than others, but as long as the court offers the requisite hoop, b-ball can be played. Variants of Horse and Pig are popular on single hoop courts, while kids from different backgrounds who might hate each other during the school year have been known to put their differences aside in order to obtain enough players for a full-court game.
3. Street Hockey
Ice hockey gear can be expensive, and during the summer months when the rink is closed, impossible to play. All that is needed to play street hockey is a ball or a puck and hockey sticks. Hockey sticks can be improvised and self-created, and the arena is any good chunk of asphalt. Be it a tennis court, parking lot or road, as long as there is a lookout for cars it’s game on.
2. Kick the Can
Kick the Can is a street version of Capture the Flag. One player or a team of players is nominated as “it” and they take a painted can and hide it in designated area. “It” then covers their eyes while the other team hides. Any player that “it” finds is sent to a holding area, while their fellow team mates try to kick the can without getting caught.
The name says it all. Stickball is the poor man’s version of baseball; all that is needed to play is, appropriately enough, a stick and a ball. The “field” is any open space; an area with a fence or a wall to use as a backstop is good for fast pitch games. Bases are created with whatever is available, manhole covers, empty milk crates, trash. Due to its simplicity and endurance, stickball is the essence of city kid street games.