Have you ever wanted to do something very badly but kept postponing? Have you ever played a game end number of times (some long time back) that even a wayward thought of it now brings back a whole quantum of memories?
Games we played as kids – a thought as simple as this has been occupying my mind for a while now and the urge to share my musings has been haunting ever since. There were a series of zero-cost or low-cost games which involved lots of physical movements and I wonder what happened to them now!
Hopscotch was a game that was quite easy to play. It was played indoors or outdoors – I remember girls playing it more than boys! You can play it alone or with a whole lot of friends and siblings. All that you need is good control over your body and you feel everything in the game can be controlled! You feel the power is within you! You win… you lose…. you help and get helped… it’s all in the game…..me writing this here included!
Kids today are glued either to a small, medium or big screen. While they learn to manipulate gadgets of varying sizes, they fail to learn and manipulate their own physical body – certainly they are not to be blamed!
For a child to understand his body, he should learn to use his body. Learning to use the body is learning to move the body as per will. kids naturally love movements. More the movement, more the learning. More the participation, more the enjoyment!
Our old games emphasized the need for physical movement for better growth. They impart logic, focus and concentration – more than most they improve dramatically the child’s ability to maneuver his own physical body!
Hopping on one foot is considered one of the most difficult movements by our human body. But certainly, when played as a game there is nothing more interesting than hopping!
This game can be played alone but is certainly more fun & interesting when several players take turns to wait.
Recently, I introduced this game to a handful of children aged between 4 and 10 who were quite versatile on mobile games. Though they floundered initially, kids got the momentum pretty faster to my amazement. When I joined them in the game, I had to gasp for my breath at the end but delightfully it was great fun! One of the little girls, who was aged 5, found the game so interesting that she tossed in her own set of rules on the spot with additional boxes and more complicated procedures like closed eye hopping. I was astonished by her sense of balance and spatial awareness!
Some of us always prefer to take the toss only if we know why or simply put the benefits behind! And here we go on the benefits of hopscotch! I am not a professional but have tried my best to provide correct information and did do ‘out of my context’ research to do justice. Suggestions and criticisms will surely guide me in penning more games.
Benefits rather therapeutic benefits of ‘hopscotch’ are compiled under the guidance of Mrs.Nirmala Solanky Venkateswaran, Occupational Therapist who has more than 55 years of experience in the field. She has recently moved to Kochi from Chennai and I had the privilege of seeing her at work with kids (kids with ADHD, autism and varying neurological conditions). There seemed to be an untold understanding between her and the kids and she never failed to bring confident smiles across those little faces! She is a strong advocate of low-cost and zero-cost therapeutic tools for treatment. And when I expressed my interest in reviving old games, she was totally happy. It’s her words of motivation which made me pen my thoughts on traditional games. I shared it with her for approval during my last visit to Kochi and she gave me her suggestions which are carefully added in here.
By introducing ‘hopscotch’ to your kids, you are introducing them to a joyous world of hopping, leaping and real cognitive & physical “exertainment”. Every kid may not be able to enjoy this game, but those who do, let them have real fun!
If you would like to read further on how to play, please check the link below:
A word of caution – if your kid has any physical or neurological difficulty, please do consult your doctor or therapist before venturing!