Did you ever skip rocks on water when you were a child.
We stood at the edge of the water. The girls crouched down in the sand. They were looking for the perfect rock. My five-year-old knew exactly what she had in mind. She was scouring the ground for the biggest, flattest rock possible. The two-year-old’s criteria involved digging up any item that looked remotely like a rock and then she would hold it up triumphantly once she found it.
With rocks in hand we tossed them into the water. It seemed I had forgotten how to do this simple activity. My first few rocks landed with a loud splash. However, after several tries I began to see my rocks gently skim the top of the water. I would select another rock and throw it counting each time it skipped and bounced. Then my competitive side came out as I tried to skip the rocks farther than my husband. This activity seemed natural for him. It’s as if he knew exactly which rock to pick, how to grip it perfectly and toss it with one graceful, yet swift, movement.
The girls participated too, throwing their rocks with a splash, plop, or plunk. It was a peaceful moment for our little family. The birds chattered away in some trees nearby, waves gently hit against the dock, and there was the soft hum of motor boats in the distance.
As we stood there it occurred to me how much we’ve lost to the hectic pace of a technologically advanced society. The art of skipping rocks, an intense game of marbles, hopscotch, kick the can, and flying kites are just a few of my fondest childhood memories. Then there’s capture the flag, four square, cat’s cradle, pick-up-sticks, and jacks. I also recall the simple fun of sledding, making snow angels, weaving crowns out of dandelions, and whistling with quack grass.
There are these vivid memories of childhood play… free, wild, and imaginative play. I remember when I was a little girl, the neighbourhood children would gather and spend a significant amount of time establishing rules for our games. Sometimes it seemed that the actual time to play the games paled in comparison to the amount of time it took to plan for the game.
I also recall home base. I’m certain every neighbourhood has the perfect spot for home base. Ours was a small grey power box. Sometimes we would forget that we were playing a game and we would sit around the power box talking about the Flintstones or reading Archie comics. The street lights coming on was a cue that our freedom outside was coming to an end. We would squeeze in as much play time as we could before our moms or dads called us in for the evening.
My mind came back to the present. My youngest daughter was holding a large rock overhead and plopped it into the water, almost falling in after it. As I stood there skipping rocks with my family, I realized that unless I do these things with my children, generations of childhood games could be lost. The art of skipping rocks could lose out against a game on a console.
I’m not going to let that happen. What about you?
Great post! My kids love to skip rocks. My brother is amazing at it. Me, not so much. Cats cradle and kick the can are games my children enjoy as we’ll. :)
We have a great rock beach in our neighborhood and we love to take the grandchildren there when they come to visit. They also play hopscotch and board games at our house. We are teaching them to play cards as well.
Awesome! I love that you are engaging your kids in activities like this. I always tried skipping rocks, but I’ve never been able to quite get the hang of it!
How cute are they! Skipping rocks is the best. I have such great memories of doing that growing up.
I am right there with you, Jennifer! My kids are going to be taught the games from the “good old days” (haha) and will be found climbing trees more often than they’ll be found in front of a monitor… At least that’s my hope…
Oh I loved this post. My husband loves skipping rocks with the kids. Remember Red Rover and hopscotch? My boys love Capture the Flag and anytime there is a group of boys over here, they are still playing it, even though my oldest is 16. They also love cards.
I love this post! We’ve been doing the same “reclaiming” here. After seven years of living without neighbors, we had two families move in last year — both with children! This past summer was such a special time watching the all of the kids play. Playing should never be a lost art.
Long live skipping rocks!
I remember doing those things as a kid when I was growing up. I try and do a little of it with my kids. I actually have a creek a few minutes away and maybe that might be something to do this weekend. You might even see my post about skipping rocks as well (I’ll have to reference you being my inspiration). My kids though, I have to actually force them out the house to have fun although my 12yr old has now started going outdoors a bit more since he wants to make the basketball team. Madison LOVES being outside but the 8yr old is a bit of a loner so likes being inside, but this weekend we’re all going out! :)
This post takes me back to my own childhood which was full of the same things you mentioned, including a home base. I hope I can instill some of the same magic that’s in our memory in that of our kin. You are inspiring as always!
We just did this at the park pond today! It is an art and one I gladly passed onto my sons. What a simple but wonderful thing to do together.
My mom was a housekeeper when I was young and I spent afternoons growing up with two of the boys under her care (forever brothers to me), along with my siblings and whatever school friends were over to play. Cops and Robbers; all manner of Tag; Kick the Can…games, games, games, outside or down in their “Rec Room”/basement, all day, all year. We were only allowed to watch videos when we were home sick. Our home base was a yellow metal pole that probably held up a basketball net at one point, with a concrete base set into the driveway. There were hand prints in the concrete…I remember holding onto the pole with a whole bunch of other kids together, hands overlapping, and feet anchored to that little concrete slab so we could all be ‘safe’. It seemed enormous. I’m sure it would be tiny now, but what a memory! Thanks :)