School’s out for summer... so Alice Cooper told us back in the day.
And now that time of year has come around once again.
Summer holidays meant that we’d be able to stay up later and be able to play outside until our mums called us in
Youngsters across the Kingdom are most likely doing one of two things - either making their parents find something to entertain them each and every day, or alternatively if they are that bit older (read teenagers) they’ll be spending most of the day in bed and trying to avoid having to do things with the family.
It’s a time that all children (and teachers) look forward to, although I’m not entirely sure that all parents feel the same way, as it means six weeks of having the children at home all day, something that can be particularly tricky especially if the weather is rubbish.
And at the moment it looks as if there may be some of these days ahead, given the mix that we’ve been having of late.
But a recent conversation in the office about outdoor games that we used to play during our childhood brought back memories of lengthy summer nights playing with the neighbours out in the garden or in the street.
Summer holidays meant that we’d be able to stay up later and be able to play outside until our mums called us in usually around 10.00 p.m. as it was getting too dark.
The kind of games we would play were endless, whether it was hide and seek, curbie, football, tennis across the garden fence (particularly during Wimbledon weeks), Red Rover, What’s the Time Mr Wolf, Red Letters and Polo.
Life back then was simple, and so too were the playground games.
It was straight forward harmless fun that would enable us to entertain ourselves for hours at a time.
Although I was growing up at the time that computer games consoles were beginning to really take off – we had the likes of a ZX Spectrum, Sega Megadrive, Gameboy and GameGear in the house – my siblings, friends and I were not constantly glued to them.
Yes, we played them and didn’t let them just sit and gather dust, but at the same time we continued to go and play outside or to let our imaginations run wild, become creative and invent new games as children should.
However it seems these days that children and young people are glued to screens, whether it be television, consoles like X-box, tablets or mobile phones. They would rather spend their days staring at a screen than actually going out and doing something, whether that’s playing or a day trip somewhere.
I’m not saying they shouldn’t enjoy a bit of ‘screen time’, however I just don’t think it should be all that they do if the weather is good or bad, it’s just not healthy.
What’s wrong with the good old traditional games that we used to play outside in the fresh air when the weather was fine?
Or even those that we used to play when the weather was not so good – board games. We could make a game of Monopoly last for days!
So this summer, I set everyone a challenge - let’s get back to those traditional games - both indoor and outdoor.