What did children do before gaming devices?

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Back years ago, children didn’t have cell phones with games to play and televisions with games and other electronic devices with more games to keep them occupied. Children these days would probably laugh at you if you even tried to get them to play some of the games that were played back in the old days.

Thinking about this article brought back memories of old-fashioned games. One such game was tops. You would draw a circle in the dirt and throw down a top, and while it was spinning someone else would throw their top and try to knock yours out of the circle.

Now, I know I’ve got you thinking, so remember when every child had a yo-yo and always walked around with it in their pocket. The children would learn different tricks like “walking the dog,” “around the world” or “skinning the cat.” If you recognized these names, then you’ve definitely spent some time with a yo-yo.

The next thing that comes to mind is marbles. Everyone played marbles — the younger children and the older kids, too. In the game of marbles, you would draw a circle on the ground and then take turns shooting your marbles at the other kid’s marble trying to knock it out of the circle. Just this week, a friend from Reserve told me about a game they played when they were children. I had never heard of the game, but maybe you have, and this is how it was played. They would take a cigar box and cut a hole in the top of the box. You would then stand over the box and try to drop your marbles into the box through the small opening. The person getting the most marbles in the box would be the winner. You probably didn’t get anything but the title of winner, but that was good enough for a child back then.

Probably the most popular game for the little girls was hopscotch. Chalk was not used, but a stick in the dirt did the trick for making the squares that you had to hop through to pick up your rock. Can you see children playing these games today instead of with the electronic devices they pack around?

I recall Mrs. Burg, who lived in the early 1900s told me about her and her siblings playing “blind man’s bluff.” I should have asked more questions about this game because I have no idea how this game was played. I am sure I have sparked your imagination, and you can probably think of many more games that kept the children busy and out of trouble.

Things have really changed, I think too fast. Take a step back in time as you visit the Louisiana Treasures Museum and see collections of all kinds and toys from the old days. For hours of operation or to schedule group tours call Wayne Norwood at 225-294-8352.

Wayne Norwood is a lieutenant with the St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff’s Department and owner and operator of the Louisiana Treasures Museum.