Games played by my parents

Continuity and change
An activity that can link the generations is a discussion of games played by parents when young or clothes worn or school practice in the childís and in the parentsí or teacherís childhood.

One activity that is easy enough to organise is a comparison of the way the same street games were played in the different generations. The children will be interested to know that the game of donkey was played by the teacher or their parents when they were children, that many of the skipping games of previous generations are still played with the same rhymes, that many marble games are similar and so on.

The children could be encouraged to discuss favourite skipping games or ball games or chasing games or marble games with their parents. The following day they could report on what they have learned from their parents about the games they played. A short list of the most popular games could be drawn up. The rules could then be written up. There is most likely going to be some differences even in the  way different groups in same class play the games.

On that evening children might discuss rules of the games played by their parents.
A discussion might take the following lines.
Did you play pickey (piggy) beds? Yes
How did you play it? What markings and numbers did you have on the ground? Did you have a rest bed? What one was the rest bed? What did you use as the pickey? What did you sing or chant? How did you win the game? What got you put out of the game?

The following day in class the discussion continues to check for variations. In this way the children are recognising continuity and change in the way the games are played in different generations.

With older children by extension they can be invited to speculate on games that they play that were most likely to have been played through all generations back through history. It would seem likely that chasing games were played in many generations. The children could be invited to give the reasons for their opinions. Considering the popularity of certain types of games in summer time which do not appear to be popular in cooler times of the year might lead to the conclusion that climate influences the types of games played.

They might be led to compile a list of factors that would make certain types of game possible and not others at different times in our history.

A useful book for this activity is All in! All in! by Eilis Brady published by Comhairle Béaloideas Éireann, an Colåiste Ollscoile, Baile Átha Cliath 1984