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TBT: The Games They Played

For those of us who are Millennials or part of Generation Z, there are a whole host of games that our parents and grandparents used to play as kids—games you probably have never heard of. And you know what? They’re actually pretty fun!

There are far too many to mention, so here are a few that just about everyone over 40 has played at least once.

Chinese Jump Rope

If you’re looking for jump rope with a twist, try Chinese jump rope!

Two players (who are called enders) hold the bands with their legs, and a middleman—the game’s driving force—must jump within the bands without stopping or making a mistake. Timing plays an integral role in staying on beat with the enders. The difficulty and pace can be manually customized for all skill levels.

Fun fact: Chinese jump rope did originate in China!


If given the chance, a game of jacks will prove to be a refreshing test of one’s dexterity.

Toss the ball in the air and pick up one jack and catch the ball with the same hand before it hits the ground. Once you’ve successfully thrown one jack, see if you can throw two and catch the ball, then three, and so on. The goal is to repeat the process until you’ve picked up all ten jacks.


A rough analogy of this game would be two kingdoms assaulting each other with catapults.

Each player has their own marked territory to keep their marbles. The goal is to score points by knocking marbles outside of the ring using a “shooter marble.” When a player knocks one out of the ring, the player continues their turns until they miss. The game ends when all marbles have been knocked out of the ring.

Cat’s Cradle

“Cat's Cradle” is a sequence game utilizing a looped length of string. Two or more partners use the string to form various shapes, each building on the last. The game proves to be a bit of a challenge as the players change the string from one formation to the next. The goal is to see how long you and your partner can keep going without dropping the sequence of formations.

Red Light, Green Light

For a game of Red Light, Green Light, one person is chosen to be “It.” “It” will stand a good distance away from the other players with their back to the group. When “It” calls “Green Light,” the other players will go toward “It” until “It” turns around, calling “Red Light.” Upon hearing the command, the others must freeze on the spot.

Red Rover

Each team holds hands with each other and face their rivals in lines across the play area from the other team. The starting team will decide on a player that they want to call over to them. Once the decision is made, that team will announce their war cry, shouting together:

"Red Rover, Red Rover, send [name of person] right over!"

That player will then run to the other team and valiantly try to break through the linked hands. If the offender succeeds, then the losing team must relinquish one of their own to their opposers. Failure results in the offender being forced to join their enemy. This game is an effective measure of physical strength.

If you’ve played these games before, which one is your favorite?



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