Tag, Toss & Run by Paul Tukey & Victoria Rowell
Posted by: Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan
Lynn: Summer is winding down (sob) but there’s still plenty of days ahead that are ideal for outside play. Tag, Toss & Run: 40 Classic Lawn Games (Storey 2012) is another ALA conference find that is sure to be helpful for entertaining your own kids or grandkids, or running excess energy off active little ones at recess.
As the authors note in their introduction, for many children today “nature is more abstraction than reality” and many children have no knowledge of the classic outside games that so many of us grew up playing. With childhood obesity a serious issue in this country, this book will be a wonderful resource for any library.
Each of 40 classic outdoor games is introduced with history and back-story, interesting trivia, rules and strategies. Capture the Flag, Blindman’s Bluff, Red Light, Green Light, Kick the Can and even Jump rope are among the games included. Many don’t require special equipment although lacrosse, bocce and horseshoes are there too. Each section is really fun to read with all the assorted facts. I loved reading about many of the games I played as a kid and got some great new ideas for the focus group. I draw the line at Red Rover though! I loathed that game since I was always the smallest kid in our class.
Seriously though, some of my fondest memories of childhood are the hours and hours spent playing so many of these same games with the neighborhood kids. This book might just inspire a whole new set of memories for this generation of kids!
Cindy: What a cool little book. I expected a compendium of game rules but what I found included just that but so much more. The first section describes the ways in which to start a game or choose sides. Flip a coin? Simple but boring. Paper, scissors, rock? Hand over hand? Drawing straws? The rules for each are described. And then, how to end a game that includes hiding and seeking. “Olly olly oxen free?” Where did that come from. It has nothing to do with cattle, folks. And perhaps you call out some variation…several are listed here. There’s also a final section of sidewalk games…hopscotch, roman ball, stoop ball and others. And a list of professional resources and websites for the more organized sports.
I liked the historical tidbits included. Most of us know that St. Andrews is credited with being the birthplace of modern golf…established in Scotland in 1400, but did you know that they opened what is believed to be the first miniature golf course too? It was for women only and opened in 1867.
Besides historical facts the authors included their own flashbacks in some of the game chapters. It’s obvious they have a passion for their subject. They also shed some light on controversial games, (is Red Rover too dangerous? Or Dodge Ball too mean?) opting for the side that argues, let kids play…but keep an eye on them. Some safety strategies are suggested to keep the play clean and bully-free. But the authors sound a bit nostalgic for the days that children were sent from the house on a summer morning with a paper sack lunch and instructions to be back by suppertime. No helicopter parenting back in the day. I am a bit nostalgic myself for a game of “Statue” or “Dr. Tangle,” neither of which is included here. What was your favorite outside game as a child?
The writing will appeal to adults perhaps as much or more than the kids but I would still include this in elementary and middle school collections. Yes, you can get the rules for these games online, but the rounded package of information included here is nicely done. I was intrigued by the version of extreme croquet presented here. My family does that with bocce calling it “all-terrain bocce.” We take the bocce set on the boat and play all terrain bocce at the beach, crossing the creek, up the dunes, into the woods, and back to the beach. It is challenging and a work out. No tidy oyster shell regulation court for us.
I refuse to admit that summer is drawing to a close even as I report back to school tomorrow for opening day. Croquet anyone?