Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Children to be Taught How to Play

News:Lite (UK) reported yesterday that some British children will be getting lessons in playing.

As millions of children go back to school, councils are been given a list of 10 traditional playground games for teachers to suggest they play at breaks and lunchtime.

It is hoped the list, which includes Hopscotch, British Bulldog and Tag, will help combat child obesity and remind teachers and parents the importance of children being physically active.

[Councillor] Les Lawrence from the [Local Government Association] said: "Playground habits are bound to change with time, but it would be a shame if more active games were to die out to be replaced by children playing on computers or huddled together in front of a screen."
He added that parents and teachers should stop worrying about getting sued and defy the compensation culture by encouraging children play.

"Children benefit from physical activity and even some rough and tumble.

"It's time to take a stand against many aspects of the compensation culture and accept there are going to be a few scratches and grazed knees because that’s part of growing up.

It took me a while to figure out the translation for "the compensation culture." It means the UK is just as lawsuit-happy as the US. But now that I know what they're talking about, I have to agree that running and playing is more important than protecting schools from lawsuits.

They have a list of recommended games:

British Bulldog
Stuck in the Mud
Oranges and Lemons
What’s the Time, Mr Wolf?
French elastic
Hide and Seek

Marbles is exercise? Maybe the kids get a workout from beating each other up over cheating.

I don't recognize some of those games. Is French Elastic the same game as Chinese Jumprope? And what on earth is Stuck in the Mud? Or Oranges and Lemons? Or What's the Time, Mr Wolf?

Anybody? Any Brits out there who can help? I may need to know what these games are so that someday, when I have grandchildren, I can teach them about Mr Wolf.


Jacob said...

I'm not British, but we are a British colony, so it's sort of the same thing.

Stuck in the Mud is like tag. Whoever gets tagged has to stand still with their legs apart, and can only be freed when another player crawls under their legs. It was a kindergarten playground staple back in my day.

What's the Time Mr Wolf?: one person is it (the wolf) and has their back turned to the rest. The ones who aren't it have to ask the question 'what's the time Mr Wolf', and the wolf says whatever time he wants. For five o'clock, the others take five steps toward the wolf, etc. When the wolf is satisfied that the others are in reach of him/her, he shouts 'dinner time!' and tries to catch one of them. It's pretty lame, but a classic.

Maybe I should send these on to Sarah Palin, so she can teach her two new grandchildren these games...

Bekah said...

I didn't know some of those games either...but of course there's good ole hopscotch. :) My memory of that goes back to kindergarten when I neglected to tell my mother that the following day would be "games day" for the school. (They had that at the end of every school year.) That particular day I went to school in my Sunday best complete with frilly socks and buckled shoes...and I played hopscotch. It's hard to hop in a fru-fru dress!!

SkyePuppy said...


Thanks! I was hoping you could help out.

Sarah Palin... Is Bristol having twins?

SkyePuppy said...


You mean they only let you play hopscotch once a year???

Tsofah said...

I loved playing "Red Rover" and "Red Light, Green Light", "Blind Man's Bluff" and "Musical Chairs"....and yes, good ol' tag!

The joyful feeling of running to tag someone, or away to keep from being tagged and have others cheer you on cannot be replicated by a computer, admittedly.

The intersocial skills which are developed are priceless in a time period when autism cases appear to be increasing yearly.

Play is far too underestimated.