My siblings and I were encouraged to be creative, such as drawing, coloring books, board games, and lots of playing outside. We would play what we called "pretend" and we would play house, school, doctor, etc. with us acting out the roles and using ordinary household items to accessorize our pretend worlds. Our china cabinet would become the kitchen; we would raid my mother's Tupperware and wooden spoons, prepare pretend meals and then serve them to our children/siblings. I took things further by occasionally writing small plays and creating costumes for my younger siblings, then we would perform for our parents--our acting troupe was always well received. (Thanks Mom and Dad!)
In 1976, I was captivated by the Summer Olympic Games. It was amazing--all the different sports I had never seen and all the different countries I had never heard of before! I loved watching the games and cheering on the athletes, so much so that I decided we should have our own Olympics. My brothers, sisters, and some of our neighborhood friends competed in events that I created to mimic the real ones. One of the events was an obstacle course that included jumping over a stone bench! I wanted our Olympics be as real as possible, so of course I made medals. Lacking precious metals but not creativity, the medals were made out of cardboard, crayons, and crepe paper.
I think, in the hopes of keeping her sanity intact, my mother often encouraged us to play outside. When the TV volume and kids talking (screaming) would reach a certain level we could count on Mom calling out, "Go outside and play!". So we would troupe outside and play. Play included jump rope games, Tag, Red Rover, hopscotch, Dodge ball, Red Light-Green Light, baseball, football, badmiton, volleyball, Cops and Robbers with twigs for guns, Lawn Jarts-the ones with sharp metal ends-we never got hurt!, Slip and Slide, making snowmen, snowball fights, snow mazes, riding bikes and skateboards, Monkey in the Middle, and a summertime favorite Ghosts in the Graveyard. We didn't get to play Ghosts often because of our bedtime during the school year was 8:00 pm, but during the summer we could stay outside a little later and when it became dark enough, it was time for Ghosts in the Graveyard!