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You May Take One Giant Step
Ages 5 to 8
Enjoy some old-fashioned fun.

What You Need
Jump Rope and Marbles

  • An indoor or outdoor space conducive to game-playing
  • Items for playing games, such as jump ropes, Hula-Hoops, marbles, sidewalk chalk, and ball and jacks
  • Books or Web sites devoted to traditional children's games

What to Do

Children have been playing games since the beginning of civilization. Often these games are handed down from one generation of children to the next within family or peer-group settings. Besides teaching basic values and social roles, traditional games often emphasize both physical and mental agility. Many games, like hopscotch and hide-and-seek, are played all around the world.

  1. Sit down with your children and share with them the kinds of games you played as a child. You can also have your children ask their grandparents or other older adults about their favorite childhood pastimes. If necessary, consult books or online resources for game ideas.
  2. Obtain in advance any necessary items such as kickballs, marbles, or chalk.
  3. Set aside part of an afternoon or evening to play some of the games you've come up with.
  4. If the weather is nice, go outside and play some old childhood favorites like dodge ball, hide-and-seek, or steal the flag. Have a sidewalk or driveway that's handy? If so, then a game of hopscotch might be just the thing. Don't forget ring games like "Ring Around the Rosie" or jumping rope to rhymes.
  5. For extra fun, have each member of your family be responsible for learning and teaching at least one traditional game.

What Else You Can Do

  • If the weather isn't cooperating, stay indoors and play "old-fashioned" board games like checkers and Parcheesi with your children.
  • Bake a batch of homemade brownies, or share some snacks from your childhood with the entire family.

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