02 May, 2012
If there’s a gap, fill it (a bit about schoolyard skipping and playground culture)
I remember, quite vividly, what recess was like when I was in elementary school. We were rabid outdoor kids, oscillating from game to game. One week we’d be soccer crazy, another week we’d be trading stickers or friendship pins, another week it would be hopscotch, Bolo bats, or those lemon twist skipping things.
When we played something, we played it passionately, ferociously, as only kids can… until we were totally worn out and on to the next thing.
One of our favourite recess pastimes was skipping. My goodness, once the weather turned sunny we’d all bring ropes from home: long ones and short ones - but mostly long ones so we could all play at once. It wasn’t just the girls either, the boys also took an active interest. They’d throw themselves into it, overlooking any untoward comments about it being a girly thing. Perhaps it was to show off their skipping prowess to their favourite girls?
We chanted skipping rhymes and played until our feet were sore and it was time to go back inside.
The act of skipping - as well as the songs that go along with it - are a major part of our childhood culture. And somewhere, along the way it’s been lost… hiding in the same place as walking to school, climbing trees, and neighbourhood games of hide and seek played at dusk. And I don’t think that’s a good thing.
I asked my youngest daughter whether a lot of kids brought skipping ropes to school. And guess what, they don’t, not at least in the same numbers they did when I was a kid. And so, when I got home that day, I whipped off an email to a school parent council member:
This good weather got me thinking and I would like to propose a new/different/weird volunteer idea I had. I’d really like to see more kids jumping rope at [name of school]. I would like to volunteer to come to the school at some point and teach some skipping songs and hopefully get kids excited about it again. I think I remember two or three good ones and can come up with a few more. ;)
I can do it by class, or in a skipping club format, or whatever. Can you help me figure out a way to make this work? Maybe I could ask [council] to buy a bin of ropes the kids can use during recess, or ask kids to bring their own from home… ?
As if I’m not busy enough eh? Ha.
It didn’t take long before I heard back. Apparently there’s already a small group of moms who are co-ordinating something like this, which is great. They’ve since sent an email around to all the parents asking for donations of outdoor toys. We’ll see how that goes. In the meantime I need to remember all the skipping rhymes of days gone by. Help!
Here’s what I got so far:
Not last night but the night before,
24 robbers came to my door,
and this is what they said to me:
Lady turn around, turn around, turn around,
Lady touch the ground, touch the ground, touch the ground,
Lady show your shoe, show your shoe, show your shoe,
Lady that’ll do, that’ll do, that’ll do.
Had a little sports car 1968,
Went around the co-o-o-orner [Person jumping has to get out from the rope, go around one end person, and jump back in]
And slammed on the brakes,
Police man caught me, put me in jail,
All I had was ginger ale,
How many bottles did I drink? 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10- etc
Got any to add? Please share!
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