Who's up for a game of kick the can?

Who's up for a game of kick the can?
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Some of us grew up without cell phones, internet, or even cable TV. When you're that far off the grid, you entertain yourself with old fashioned activities and old time outdoor games. (Safety features have come a long way since then.) We asked our Facebook Brain Trust to share old fashioned games and other things we did as kids. Here's what they said—what about you?


Drank water from a hose pipe (especially when we were "watering in" the tomatoes)

Picked cotton by hand

Baled hay

Picked and shelled peas and beans—or played in the garden while our parents picked and shelled

Ate tomatoes right off the vine—just plopped down in the garden row

Ate watermelon out in the patch

"Robbed" our neighbor's plumb tree. His grandkids were usually with us, and he knew exactly what we were up to, but we thought we were getting away with something.

Sucked the sweet nectar from honeysuckle

Helped hoe weeds from the garden and made fabulous mud pies

Went blackberry picking, wearing long sleeves to keep the chiggers from eating us alive and carrying a stick to scare the snakes away

Dug for worms in the barnyard for fishing with bamboo poles and red-and-white bobbers

Caught crab for dinner off the pier in the bay; went flounder gigging with my dad at night

Waited for "the rolling store" to come by every Tuesday after lunch (which we called dinner)

Hand-cranked an ice cream freezer


Played school in the summertime

Played rock school

Went swimming "nekkid" in the creek

Played in the rain

Slid down the neighborhood hill on flattened cardboard boxes

Played hopscotch

Went roller-skating on Union skates that your shoes fit in

Watched Scooby-Doo and then went to the cemetery to see if there were any "mysteries" to be solved

Played "ghost is out tonight" in the church cemetery while our parents visited inside

After summer revival, dared my cousins to run to the cemetery—at night!

Played in the hayloft and corn bin for hours—built tunnels out of hay bales

Listened in on conversations on the party line till Mama caught me

Went on vacation using an Atlas as our guide and had to stop to use a pay phone if we needed to find out what was going on back home

Threw maypops that grew along the dirt roads

Played all over the farm with just one bit of instruction from Mother: "Watch for snakes!"

Rode my bike to a friend's house a mile away

We used to go to a neighbor's house to watch the bug zapper.

Spent the summer barefoot, playing in a creek, coming inside just long enough to grab a PBJ and a Coke. We also used the back of a pickup as a swimming pool.

Went EVERYWHERE barefoot

Caught lightning bugs and kept them in a Mason jar with holes poked in the lid

Rode on my best friend's handlebars . . . without a helmet

Rode my banana seat bike with handlebar tassels until the streetlights came on

Played with kids all over the neighborhood until the streetlights came on—our sign that it was time to go home

Blocked off the neighborhood roads around my Aunt Martha's house in Elko, GA, so our family could dance all night at the 4th of July Peterman reunions

Played lawn darts—the actual metal "weapon" type

Fried eggs on the asphalt while waiting for customers at our lemonade stand

Filled Mason jars with slimy frog's eggs from the pond so we could raise tadpoles

Hopped over my Lemon Twist (better than any Hula Hoop)

Played kick the can outside at night

Jumped in the pluff mud so our sneakers would get sucked off

Played in mud puddles and smeared it all over ourselves

Always ran out the screen door, which would invariably slam just as an adult yelled, "Don't let that screen door slam!!!"

Took unsuspecting visitors snipe hunting at dusk


Hiked in the woods for miles with no one else but the family dog

Walked in the woods all day without ever leaving family property

Road my bike down the train track

Climbed to the top of a silo at our dairy farm

Jumped off the barn roof

Chased the mosquito truck on my bike

Rode my bike all over town, with my parents having no idea where I was

Played on the creek and under the creek bridge without an adult hovering nearby (though there might've been a water moccasin or two)


Sat on the armrest during family trips so I could see out

Stood on the seat next to Papaw during rides in his pickup

Yep, stood on the seat. Granny's arm was my seatbelt.

Rode in the back of a pickup with a bunch of friends

Sat on my Dad's lap and steered the car on road trips

Rode down the highway while sitting on the open tailgate of a pickup with my legs dangling off

Slept in the back window of the car during long trips

Went with Daddy to get tractor parts and always took a nap stretched out on the seat of his truck with my head in his lap

Rode with the postman—a relative—from my house to my friend's house, handing him mail along the way

Drove a tractor to the store

Drove all over town when we were 15

I used to ride to the gin in my daddy's cotton trailers. The first time, the man who owned the gin told Daddy not to do it again. Did it again. Next day.


Slipped tools out of my uncle's barn to cut down small trees and build a fort with my cousins

Built a fort out of hay bales left in the barn loft

Built forts out of pine straw all day long

Built Gilligan-style forts with bamboo and everything

Mounded piles of pine straw to build forts or jump in, disregarding red bugs and chiggers, which caused itchy legs and arms for days


Never heard of data usage, social media, or streaming (without water, that is). Not that we want to give up Facebook and Netflix. There's something to be said for progress.

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