Many games we played as children are still played now but many are in danger of being forgotten altogether in this day of ready made entertainment.
Kick the Can;
A den game, the can was the den. Some-one was chosen het (eetle ottle black bottle or some similar method) and kicked the can, everyone then disapeared and the one that was het counted to 100 (5,10,15,20 or 5,10 double 10.5,10 a hundred, if you were a cheat!). The one who was het had then to find the rest with the added problem that anyone could sneak in and kick the can and bawl "free the den" freeing anyone caught while the het one had to retrieve the can.
A syrup can with holes punched in it and a string tied on it, filled with anything that would burn (wee churls of coal raked out from under the coalhouse would do - if you didn't get caught).
The fire was lit and once it was going it was burled round to keep it that way.
Another version of the firecan - A syrup can with one hole punched in the bottom, put in some carbide, spit on it to get the gas, jammed the lid on then put your foot on it lit the gas and the lid shot off.
This was the can without the fire and burled to make it "sing". Different sizes for different noises, put holes in the can tie string on and whirl it round to make a noise.
Whips and Peeries;
A peerie was a small wooden cone shaped toy with grooves in the side to allow the whip to be wound round it, when the whip was pulled away it left the peerie (or top) spinning.
The whip was then used to keep the peerie spinning, different coloured chalks were used to draw a design on the top of the peerie which made a pattern when the peerie was spinning.
Stars or Chuckies;
Five chuckies were needed for this game ( small smooth stones ) or five stars ( metal stars used in the foundries to clean castings ). The stars ( or chuckies ) were held in the palm of the hand and thrown ( not to far ) in the air and caught on the back of the hand, then thrown back up again and caught in the palm. However many were caught were laid aside and the rest were picked up one at a time while throwing one up and catching it again after picking one from the ground. The game then proceeded to pick up two by the same method. One was laid aside for three the rest were cast on the ground and by picking one to throw up you were (hopefully) left with a group of three, if not you had to move them ( while throwing the single one up and catching it) till you could get the three in one clean sweep between throwing the single one up and catching it. For four make an arch with your hand to make four openings between the fingers, place one at each opening flick each one in while still throwing the other one in the air only touching the stars while the other one is in the air, then when the four are close enough together, pick up the four together . For five called " jump the cuddy", the stars were laid out in a pattern, one two ,one, the two outer ones were lifted while keeping the single one in the air as before then the two middle ones lifted.
Tee Tip Toe ( sticks and stanes );
A game for two players, first a square was drawn with lines like the union jack three sticks and three "stanes" are needed one player getting the sticks and the other the stanes, starting on the straight each player tries to manoeuvre his pieces into line on a diagonal.
Draagons (Kites );
Not the plastic hi-tech creations of today but kites made from brown paper and a bow of the butter barrel from the co-op and a string tail with newspaper bows attached to it.
Run sheep Run (Benjy, Benjalusalem);
A game for the dark nights similar to hide and seek and kick the can but with one team being "het" the other going off to hide, the seeker had to find the other (getting directions from one ) lad who shouted to the hiders "lie low sheep keep doon ", the seekers got directions by asking "am I hot" and " am I cold" from the first one to be caught and put in the den. The hiders could free the den by shouting "run sheep run " (heist the flag ),( Benjalam), and everyone went back to the den .
Rushes grew in profusion down the Level, at the back of Simpson Drive, and at Rainhill, the girls made baskets, hats and skirts with them
Jumping the burn - Doaking;
Self explanatory really except sometimes a pole was used to turn it into vaulting. Used to go for miles this way.
The YoYo like many other toys had surges in popularity, but the YoYo is not a modern toy. The older version was home made from two big buttons .
Oor wee jeannie had a nice clean peenie and guess what colour it was - someone shouted red or blue R.E.D. spells red stoating the ball against the wall at the same ,burling round , under leg , round the back. Clappy, rolly purnie to backie, salute to the king, curtsy to the Queen.
A purn with four tacks, Rainbow wool from Mrs.Penders shop, knitted it round the purn to make a length of "rope" to make rheins to play horses.
Carried about in a sock, had to plunk. Four semi-circles (made with the heel of the boot ) to make a square, each boy put two bools in, went so far back and drew a line and shouted " Hinmust ". First to shout went last next went second last and so on , stood back to the line and threw the "Glessies " to the ring, closest to the ring went first. The idea was to take the bools out of the ring if you took one out you got it , if you missed the next one was in, this carried on till all the bools were out of the ring then you had to eliminate the " Glessies ".
Wee houses and shops;
Onyplace 'll dae , newspaper to make pokey hats , broken pieces of crockery for money ( gold bits were worth a lot ).
A Big Ship Sails On The Eilly Ally O;
One girl stood with arms outstretched, one arm against the wall. All the joined on in the same fashion, the last in the line went round under the arm of the first ( the one against the wall ) with all her companions following on behind. She then did the same again through the each set of arms until everyone ended up with their arms crossed , then the first and last girls joined hands. This part of the game was accompanied by the song -
The big ship sails on the Eilly ally o'
The eilly ally o' The eilly ally o'
The big ship sails on the eilly ally o'
On the last day of september
After joining hands the girls then danced round and while singing -
The big ship sinks to the bottom of the sea
Bottom of the sea
Slowly going down on their hunkers to a sitting position where a further song was sung which ended in everyone springing up to a standing position once again.
Ally Bally Ally Bally Who's Got The Ball
Ally Bally Ally Bally Who's Got The ball
I Haven't Got It In My Pocket
Ally Bally Ally Bally Who's Got The ball;
Some one was picked and stood with their back to the group then threw the ball over their head, the one who caught it hid it behind their back, the rest of the group hid their hands behind their backs and the thrower had to guess who in the group had it.
If you were lucky you'd have a peever made from metal or stone but a Cherry Blossom polish tin would do just as well.
A bed would be drawn .
The peever would be thrown into one, the player would hop into two, three then four, then in to ten back through three and two picking up the peever on the way. The game then went on to two, three and so on but if the players foot went on a line they'd be out.
Alternatively the player could throw the peever onto one and skiff it round with their hopping foot but if the peever came to rest on a line they'd be out. Another way to play peevers was to draw a different bed .
The peever was thrown into one, the player hopped into two then three then landed with a foot in four and five, hopped into six then a foot in seven and eight then into nine and back the same way, picking up the peever on the way back. The game proceeded as with the first game, the tricky bit came when the peever was in nine when the player with a foot in seven and eight had to pick up the peever, jump and turn and land with the other feet in seven and eight, as before if a foot went on the line the player was out.
Hunch Cuddy Hunch;
One boy would bend over and lean on a wall, the others jump on his back (then each others backs) till the whole lot fell over when it all started over again.
Chessies (conkers or chestnuts);
Not a lot changed here, you had your bully (depending on how many chessies you'd knocked out, it would be a bully 5, 10 or whatever).Many ways were tried to get a chessie as hard as possible by baking or soaking them in vinegar etc.
Trenches were usually a hole in the ground built over with branches etc, indeed anything to camouflage it from the other boys (who'd wreck it if they found it).
Harrying birds nests;
Looking back on this pastime now it seems very greedy and mean minded to build up a huge collection of wild birds eggs only to be thrown away when the mood passed, but little or no thought for the bird population seems to have passed through our minds then.
Inspired by the likes of Douglas Fairbanks and his swashbuckling adventures to grab the nearest length of wood and your dads' best saw (to make a delicately honed point) and a hammer and nail (with which to attach a delicately fashioned handle) and off we went, to right wrongs, kill all the baddies (and hopefully your dad wouldn't find out you'd been using his saw!).
Spit on the bat, throw it up to decide who's batting and who's bowling, pick a team (didn't matter how many were in a team), and that was that and you could end up playing cricket all day long.
Girds and Cleeks;
Proper girds and cleeks were made by the local blacksmith with the cleek either attached or not, but that never stopped anyone from having a gird and cleek. A hoop from a barrel and a bit of stick for a cleek done just as well as would a bike wheel with the spokes removed and a bit of fence wire for a cleek. The trick was learning how to keep it going, up and down hills, round corners, miles upon miles were run with gird and cleek but you had to be careful for if it broke you'd have to walk home!.
Of course not only children had games, the grown ups had them as well (probably mostly men, although many mothers and big sisters were not shy to join in with the younger girls of the family, cawin ropes drawing beds and getting just as excited about it as the weans).
Pitch and Toss
This was a well known gambling game in the mining areas where the participants threw two pennies in the air and bet on how they would land. A lot of money was won and lost around the villages on this illegal pastime and even the younger boys made something as look outs as the "polis" were ever watchful for a crowd of men in some of the more hidden areas around the villages.
Ouoits were saucer shaped, but with no centre, cast iron rings 14 or 18 pounds in weight and maybe 10 inches in diameter and 2 inches or so wide with a narrower section for a handgrip, holes were bored in the body of the quoit to allow plugs of lead to be put in them to regulate the weight.
The quoiting rink was a circular pit of clay puddle about 10 inches deep (this clay was worked to a putty like consistency by the application of water and the trampling of many pairs of pit buits) with a steel spike driven into the centre called the "tee".
Two men played two quoits each against each other throwing them a distance of 18 yards, in aiming the quoit he was assisted by a "leader in" who crouched behind the tee holding a piece of paper, trust was implicit between these two, it had to be with 14 pounds of metal flying through the air in the leader ins' direction.
This was a great spectator sport, there was rinks in all the surrounding villages and teams travelled all around the mining areas playing each other.