Childhood Games (The Weird Kid Edition)

I get inspired for blog posts in all sorts of different ways. Sometimes they come from a funny thing I experienced in my day-to-day life, sometimes they come from a song, other times I just ramble and don’t make a whole lot of sense.

I was on Twitter and read a Tweet from @mommywantsvodka that said: “Some kids remember playing Tag and Little League. I remember The Wall and Twin Peaks. /end nostalgia”

It got me to thinking about unconventional games I used to play as a child, and that is what inspired me to write this post.

Jurassic Park
I grew up living 10 minutes away from four of my cousins, and we were raised more like siblings. We loved to play together and my (9 month) older cousin E and my 3+ years younger cousin B and I all liked to play Jurassic Park. My cousins had a lot of backyard, with a wooded area surrounding their house. When we’d play J.P., I would always be Ellie, of course. At first, E wanted to be Alan Grant but then we realized that they were boyfriend/girlfriend in the film and that would have just been weird, so he came up with his own character whose name escapes me. But he was Mexican. *shrug*
B always wanted to make up his own character too, but being the asshole older kids that E and I were, we made him be the dinosaurs.
ALL the dinosaurs.
We would run around screaming while B chased us making growling noises. The woods to the left of the house were the “Raptor Forest” while the woods to the right was the “Dilophosaur Area”. The swingset was a helicopter, and the storage shed was a safe area where the dinosaurs couldn’t get us for some reason. I remember that when we’d play, Alan Grant was always missing and I was always very distraught and screaming for him.

Can’t Touch the Ground
This one’s pretty self explanatory. You couldn’t touch the ground. Ever, or you died, because the ground was lava. There was also a variation of this in the swimming pool, where you couldn’t touch the bottom of the pool OR the sides, because naturally, the sides were spiky and would impale you and again; instant death.

Don’t Wake the Dragon
This was similar to Can’t Touch the Ground, except one person would be “the dragon”. You’d start the game off with “the dragon” sleeping and everyone tiptoeing around. When the dragon woke, there was usually a lot of screaming and panic while everyone scrambled to get their feet off the floor in any way possible. As long as you weren’t touching the floor, “the dragon” could not get you. If “the dragon” got you, you were mocked and taunted properly before you became “the dragon” and the game started over. We’d climb on whatever we could find; couches, chairs, tables, the piano in the living room, etc.

This one was me by myself. I used to take my bike out and ride it around in circles pretending that I was driving the bus in the movie Speed. I couldn’t stop pedaling or my bicycle would explode and I would die. I would yell things that I’d heard from the movie and I’m fairly certain the neighbors thought I was insane.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
This one was a game I played in school. When I was in 1st grade, TMNT were all the rage. I loved Leonardo; he was my favorite because his mask was blue. All the little boys in my class would run around fighting each other and I wanted to play so badly, but they informed me that there WERE no girl Nina Turtles, so they made me be April O’Neill. I got to run around interviewing everyone.

I like looking back on all of the games that my friends/cousins and I played and invented. It brings back warm fuzzy memories for me but also, as a parent, it makes me wonder what our parents thought watching us pretend and play. I can picture myself in a few years, standing at my kitchen sink and watching Nellie and her friends barreling through the backyard in the throes of some wild imaginary adventure. It puts a smile on my face and makes me realize how much I have to look forward to in my years to come as a mom.

So how about you? What were some of your favorite childhood games? Did you invent any yourself?


  1. Great post! My favorite childhood game is definitely Bed to Bed. The object of the game is to go from one bed to another without getting caught by the person that was "it". That person had to start off somewhere other than a bedroom and count to 100 or some other large number before trying to catch the others who were playing. We would spend hours playing this made up game and eventually learned to cheat at our game by pulling the covers to the door of a bedroomand declaring we were still "safe" as we were still touching the bed.

  2. Oh the memories you just brought to the surface!

    I have three siblings, a brother who is 17mo younger, a sister who is 6yrs younger and another brother who is 8yrs younger. We used to play what we called "Calvin Ball" which was basically an anything goes ball game. Usually we played it with bats and a big, fat nerf ball (think Pollo, here) and we had some goal lines and everything else was just what you'd expect from Calvin Ball. We also played tackle football a lot (well, us two older ones, hehe). We grew up with two other girls who played with us all the time and were often included in our Calvin Ball adventures. Which occasionally included the Nerf Crossbow (referees in Calvin Ball are assholes by design).

    *giggle* It's been a long time since I've thought about that.
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  3. When my cousins came over, we’d play “Slime Pit” … my oldest cousin had this army-green sleeping bag, and that was the slime pit… we’d have to run and jump over it (think old Atari Pitfall-ish). I think if your toe touched the sleeping bag you had to lay in the slime pit and let people jump over you for a while as punishment or something. I can’t quite remember. I’m not real sure why this was fun, either.

    We also played games where we made up shows a lot — either Home Shopping Network (where we came up with crazy products and tried to “sell” them to our family who were forced to watch the “show”) OR “Funny Show” which was basically a Carol Burnett esque variety show with skits and standup.

    … Somewhere my mom has some of our “Home Shopping” show video taped. *dies*
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  4. I love hearing the Jurassic Park story! I will have to ask E if he remembers his Mexican character name!
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  5. I totally played some TMNT when I was a kid. XMen too. I had little brothers and it was just easier to play the type of games they would play in. When I wasn’t April, I was Leo too!

  6. My brothers destroyed 3 VCRs in a month thanks to playing TMNT.
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  7. I played school all the time. Now I am a school psychologist!
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  8. Hahaha, love this post!! LMAO at your Speed game. We definitely played “can’t touch the ground” too. Also – good old fashioned Kick the Can… Panda Bears… Doctor (which did involve removal of clothes, I’ll be honest)… and also, from the movie 3 Ninjas- we basically just ran around, with the boys chasing me yelling “Rocky loves Emily!”

  9. Now the question is, Would the neighbors be wrong??
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  10. We beat each other with wooden swords, and climbed trees just to see who would go the highest and still jump out…It’s a wonder we are all still alive.
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