Imagination and ingenuity are traits they don’t pass out much anymore. We never lacked those qualities growing up.
If we got caught out visiting some boring relative or friends of our parents where there were no toys or balls, we improvised. A shirt or towel could be rolled up and tucked or tied with string to make a football. Once you had a football, you had a game. Who didn’t play catch at the bus stop with a set of smelly rolled up gym clothes.
We used plastic coffee can lids and string or a piece of elastic to make a skin diver’s mask to wear in the bath tub. Just like on “Flipper” — well sorta like it. You couldn’t see through it and it didn’t keep the water out, but it was cool.
We also used those lids and even jar lids as hockey pucks. A yardstick could be a hockey stick (‘til it broke) and a box on its side was the goal. My brother recalls that one time we used some type of wooden object mom got from the packing that came with the bread from the lunchroom where mom worked. We used baseball bats for sticks and boxes for goals and tried to play hockey on roller skates. We weren’t good enough skaters for that so we wound up playing in tennis shoes.
A golf course was created with a string laid out in a circle as a target (hole) and a practice wiffle ball and old golf club. We just teed off from different locations in the yard to make the different holes of the course.
Caught by yourself, if you had a ball, any kind of ball, and a pitched roof you could have a blast rolling it off the roof and catching it.
A good heavy balloon and a couple of chairs were a perfect excuse for an indoor volleyball match. Best if all lamps are set safely on the floor before you start, and oh yeah, put the cat outside first or it’ll be a short match.
Who has ever played with a homemade paratrooper? You could find them at the Dime Store, but we quickly figured out we could make better ones ourselves.
You just needed one of your plastic Army men, four pieces of string and a clean hanky stolen from dad’s underwear drawer. Tie a string from each corner of the handkerchief to the plastic man. Then fold the mini parachute and wrap around the paratrooper. You could throw him in the air or carefully shoot him aloft with your wrist-rocket slingshot.
A bowling alley could be fashioned down a hall with cans or bottles of any sort and whatever round ball you could find.
We fought boredom with whatever materials we had on hand and made it fun by adapting the rules of the game and the laws of physics to make the ordinary something fun.
Karl Terry writes for Clovis Media Inc. Contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org