With school starting soon, it made me think about my long-ago summers as a kid and the games we used to play until we got called into the house at night. (We all had different ways of knowing when it was time to come in-a shrill whistle, a clanging bell, flashing porch lights, flickering street lights turning on. Right?) As a kid, I never thought that exercising and playing outside was hard work. I loved running outside in the woods, coming in with my feet so dirty that my mother forced us to take a bath or a take ‘sink foot scrub’ before climbing into our bunk beds.
We used to run through acres of woods and tall swaying grasses at my grandparents’ cabin playing Capture the Flag. One team strategically placed white flags on tree branches and logs in the woods for 10 minutes while the other team had to stay in the cabin. The ‘cabin team’ would ring the old school bell as a warning to the other team that they would be hot on their trail to find them-picking up the white flags as they ran to find the hiding team on the other end.
I vividly remember my older sister “nicely” telling the four new neighbor boys that they could continue using our front yard for football but that we four girls got to play too. The neighbors quickly learned that four Herold girls were better than any other boys in the neighborhood! They were soon knocking on our door every day asking us to come out and play.
How about Red Rover, Red Rover? We used to yell out a color on someone’s outfit (“let yellow come over”) as they would run and try to break through our linked chain of tightly gripped hands. It was a fun yard game that challenged our linebacker moves and teamwork every week! Kick the Can? We would through the neighborhood woods acting like James Bond spies until we were close enough to kick the home base can!
We would also run up and down the sand hills at the neighboring cranberry marsh near the cabin. Sometimes we would even venture to take a snow saucer and slide down the hills. We would get covered in pure white sand from head to toe and then jump in the cold adjoining stream to clean off.
Roller skating in our bell-bottom jeans in our unfinished basement to Simon and Garfunkel’s “Cecilia, you’re breaking my heart…” or to Michael Jackson’s “Rockin Robin” was a fun rainy day activity. We would skate to all of the big ‘70s hits zooming around on the concrete (those basement sessions were practice for our Friday nights at the indoor roller skating rink). We were never allowed to watch TV during the day-rain or shine!
I double dog dare you to be kid again. Try a playground game with your partner, your kids, friends and neighbors! Sure, we might not be able to run as quickly as we did before but your stomach muscles will sure get a workout laughing.