Red Rover, Red Rover let Daring Boys come over!
Remember all those games you used to play on the playground during recess. Most of them are deemed “too dangerous” for our kids today. We thought our Daring Boys were up to the challenge.
We met at the park for our Wednesday meeting. I purposely picked games with little to no equipment, so the boys could repeat them easily in their summer play. After a snack, (which seems to be getting bigger and bigger for these growing boys) we got right into game playing.
We started with a quick game of telephone, which surprisingly was not familiar to a few of the boys. We threw in two siblings, both 4 years old, to make the game even more fun. My first phrase was, “You’ve got to learn the rules, if you want to play the game.” I can’t remember exactly how badly it got jumbled, but I believe the end result was something about a cheesecake. The second phrase was “Play fair so everyone has fun” which turned into something like, “Play with air and have some fun.”
Telephone: This game is one in which most people end up laughing quite a bit, so if you’re in the mood for silliness, give it a go. Players sit in a circle. One person thinks up a sentence or phrase and whispers it to the next person. That person repeats it to the person on their other side. This continues around the circle. When it finally reaches the last person, that person says the sentence out loud. Hilarity ensues. The ending sentence is usually quite changed from the beginning sentence, since errors tend to compound as they go around the circle.
Number of Players: A small group.
We moved right into Red Rover. I have distinct memories of playing this as a kid. Hardly any of the boys knew this one. I divided the team by counting off the boys, “One, Two, One, Two…” The teams quickly turned lopsided as boys learned the strategy of the game, and chose the smaller boys (including our 4 year old siblings). Gretchen, Michael and I helped out but we still lost.
Red Rover: Divide everyone into two teams, each forming a long line, holding hands, facing the other team. The two teams should be around 20 or so feet apart. The teams take turn calling out, “Red Rover, Red Rover, let <insert child’s name> come over!” That child leaves their team’s line, runs as fast as they can toward the other line and tries to break through the held hands. If they break through, they get to take someone back to their team. If they don’t, they join the new team. When a team only has one person left, that person tries to break through the other team. If they do not, then their team loses. If they do, they gain a player and play continues.
Number of Players: Any decent size group.
Next was a classic that most everyone knew how to play – Capture the Flag. We divided up the teams and split the park across the middle. I insisted they keep the flags visible, but I did allow what the boys called “Puppy Guarding” of the flag and jail. I also allowed free walks back across the dividing line if you tagged someone out of jail. The first round was over pretty quickly, but we had to call the second round so we could have time for our last game.
Capture the Flag: This game is most fun when played with a large group. Split the group into two teams, each team having a flag or other marker at the team’s base. The object of the game is to run into the other team’s territory, capture their flag and make it safely back to your own territory. You can tag “enemy” players in your territory, sending them to your jail. They can be sprung from jail by a member of their own team running into your territory, tagging them and running back, with one freed person allowed per jail break. It is sometimes played that all the people in jail could hold hands and make a chain back toward their own territory, making it easier for members of their team to tag them. We also played a similar game called Steal the Sticks. It had almost the same rules, but several sticks were used instead of one flag.
Number of Players: A large group.
Equipment: Two flags or other markers.
Our final game was one I played all the time as a kid, but no one I know seems to know about it. We called it “Sardines”. It is the opposite of Hide and Seek. The “it” person hides and everyone else seeks. Once you find “it” you hide with them until the last person finds everyone squeezed together like sardines in a can. The boys enjoyed this one a lot. We had eight boys squeezed under a park bench at one point. This one was quick and needed no equipment, so we’ll likely repeat it during other meetings.
Sardines: Sardines is a variations on Hide & Seek. One person is “it,” that person hides. Everybody else counts to twenty then seeks “it”. Once you find the person who is “it” you squeeze yourself into their hiding place with them, like a can of sardines. The last person to find “it” will be “it” in the next round of play.
Number of Players: Ideally at least three.
This is my favorite photo from the day. It seem to describe how awesome it was to let loose and have fun with your friends, even if you get hurt a little. Plus, he’s wearing his Daring Boys shirt that he silk screened at a previous meeting!