I recently saw a book titled Games Poor Kids Play by Andrew Revels. I didn’t read it, but it got me to thinking about games that I played as a kid. You should keep in mind that I wasn’t living a shack by the river, playing with stones in the dust (although we did sometimes play archaeologist…), but I also wasn’t chilling in an air-conditioned house playing my x-box. Somewhere in between is where I fall on the “poor kid” scale. Anyway, I don’t want to say that the following games are “poor kid” games per se, because anyone could have fun doing them, but they definitely don’t require a lot of money. Here goes.
#1 The Floor is Lava!
There are many ways to play this game. The way my siblings and I played was to wait until the floor was mopped, and then avoid stepping on it (and subsequently getting yelled at for getting the floor dirty) by using chairs next to the kitchen table. Now, this was usually a game of necessity rather than something we actually wanted to do. Still, it was kind of fun to see who could get across fastest or most creatively.
#2 Silicone Spray on the Kitchen Floor!
This one was just a happy accident, and rather a one-time thing, I’m afraid. My Dad accidentally got some silicone spray on the kitchen floor, so we had sliding contests judged by distance, style, etc. Don’t get me wrong, we sometimes slid on the floor when it was silicone-spray-less, but it was much less of an en masse thing.
My parents put up with a lot. I see that now. In any case, our (my siblings and I) parades would consist of one of us pulling a wagon or something, one of us riding a bike, one of us driving a go-kart, one of us dragging along a pet goat… You get the idea. We would go up and down our rather long driveway, occasionally throwing out a few pieces of candy when we were near the “crowd”. It was pretty exciting for everyone involved, really.
#4 Play School!
Yeah, we were those kids. We would get bored in the summer and pretend that we were in school – quizzes, books, the whole nine yards. My older sister would take the role of teacher and plan out lessons according to grade level. She’s an elementary education major now. Go figure.
#5 Make Your Own Town!
Again, we were those kids. We created our own town using monopoly money. The details are a bit hazy in my mind, but we definitely had stores, checking accounts, and our own mail system. It was pretty legit. After we “grew out of it”, we all thought it was pretty lame and were sort of embarrassed by it. Looking back now, I kind of miss it. Maybe I’ll start it up again if we all end up home this summer.
Feel free to share your own childhood games in the comments!