Even though we were secluded as a family in the early days on the homestead, as kids do anywhere, we played a lot. There were some of the standard indoor games such as checkers and Parcheesi and various card games. Outdoor games included tag and hide and go seek, Mother May I, and a game whose title I don’t remember only we used to have to say, “Red rover, red rover, send so and so over”.
But we also invented a lot of our own games, just made them up, as I imagine kids around the world do also. We made up a lot of them on the spur of the moment. It might’ve been seeing who could run down the log the farthest without falling off. It might’ve been putting a smaller log across a larger log and trying to balance or teeter totter on it. There were ropes hanging from trees over many gullies and canyons that served as swings. We would toss any object we could make or find into any container, or see who could hit a target on a tree.
Winter only increased our great outdoor playground and the many new games it offered.
One of my biggest thrills to this day is to take young children out into the middle of nowhere and observe them. After a brief uncomfortable period, during which there seems to be nothing to do, they begin, you guessed it, playing. Playing in nature’s playground, with mud or sticks or water or ice or snow or trees or branches or driftwood.
It’s also wonderful to observe young kids figure out a way to turn work into play, we had to do that a lot on the homestead. Here my little friend Riley, thought chopping a hole in the ice to get water was just another game. So we just kept that game going. Made bowling balls out of chunks of ice and tried to knock down the hammer. I think that’s how curling might have been invented!
It was a good day on the river ice –yes siree!
For my little friend Riley and me
So much to explore, so much to see
How happy could one little nature boy be.
Oh yes, did I also mention that as kids out in the middle of the woods we also made up poems and stories and songs. Not a bad way to grow up. We were never too bored. If we weren’t playing at work or busy inventing and playing a new game, we were singing or making up a story about it.