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Children's games in English
Thread poster: Alexandra Speirs

Alexandra Speirs  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:17
Italian to English
+ ...
Jul 23, 2008

I hope this is the right forum....

Anyway, I'm translating a text for an illustration competition and the subject is children's games.
I'm having difficulty finding an English equivalent for games played here in Italy.

I'd be grateful if members could tell me what games they used to play at school, in the playground, in the street, etc.
Especially if there was a ball game of the type known in Italy as "Palla avvelenata".
I've looked this up on Wikipedia and it gives the rules of the game, comparing it to one now popular in the US called "Dodgeball".
I've never heard of Dodgeball and certainly never played it ....
we played plenty games, with and without balls, but I don't recollect their having names!

Here's a sentence from my text, did you play these games and/or do you think the names are immediately recognisable?

"Hopscotch, pig in the middle, capture the flag, blind man’s buff, hide and seek, ring-a-ring-a-roses and many other picturesque names call to mind popular children’s games of the past."

I have "carte blanche" to replace any of these with other popular games.
Unfortunately, "Palla avvelenata" is the title they have chosen for the whole event, so I really need a nice name, possibly of a ball game, that people will recognise immediately.

To set the ball rolling (!), I can tell you what I used to play in Scotland:

rounders, hopscotch, all kinds of skipping games with ropes, bouncing a ball off the coalhouse door while saying a rhyme (you had to get all the way to the end and the moves got more complicated as you proceeded), giant steps (or strides, don't remember), Red Rover, What's the time Mr Wolf.....


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Marie-Hélène Hayles  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:17
Italian to English
+ ...
Piggy in the middle Jul 23, 2008

Piggy in the middle should be instantly recognisable in the UK at least, and is probably the closest childhood game we have to palla avvelenata (having just asked my partner to explain what it is!).

Other games I played as a child (mid 70s to early 80s, south England):
Hopscotch
"What's the time Mr Wolf?"
Red letter
Skipping
Hide and Seek
Your ball-bouncing one (unnamed, as far as I remember, and guaranteed to drive parents round the bend)
Jacks
Elastic (from about 1981, I think - definitely girls only)
Marbles (but only in the mid-70s - they'd all but vanished by the end of my time at primary school).

Then there were the more illicit ones, including cherry knocking, scrumping and hoax phone calls...


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Alexandra Speirs  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:17
Italian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
monkey in the middle Jul 23, 2008

I see on the Internet that there is a variation of Pig/Piggy in the middle called Monkey in the middle. Presumably for cultures that don't eat pork...


I recognise all your games, though I had to look up "scrumping", didn't know the term!


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Rebecca Hendry  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:17
Member (2005)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Dodgeball Jul 23, 2008

We used to play dodgeball at school, it used to be a "wet games" option when it was raining outside (which was quite often, given that I live in Scotland...).

Other games we used to play in the playground were:

British Bulldogs (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Bulldogs_(game)) -although that could become quite violent!

Kick the Can (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kick_the_can)

Sardines (a variant of hide and seek)

Clapping games (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clapping_game)

as well as skipping, hopscotch etc...


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Alexandra Speirs  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:17
Italian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Scotland too Jul 23, 2008

Rebecca Hendry wrote:

We used to play dodgeball at school, it used to be a "wet games" option when it was raining outside (which was quite often, given that I live in Scotland...).
...


I lived in Scotland too, but never heard of dodgeball.
It must be a generation thing, I've been around a lot longer than you.....

So maybe I can safely use the word and at least the younger generations will know what I'm talking about!


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Claire Cox
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:17
French to English
+ ...
Dodgeball's fine Jul 23, 2008

Yes, I've heard of dodgeball too and I grew up in the 1960's in North West England - mind you, maybe I remember the name from my children's school sports, rather than my own dim and distant past! There's also a film of the same name, so I'm sure it would be widely understood.

Other than that, the same playground games come to mind: skipping with a long rope and several of us jumping was a favourite one, as was elastic, with a variety of specific songs to sing as you jumped - none of which I can remember, I regret to say! I wonder if they come back to you like nursery rhymes when you hear them again....?

Oh dear, now you've got me started on reminiscing...

Found these websites which may be useful:

http://www.sheffieldforum.co.uk/archive/index.php/t-81971.html

http://www.playgroundfun.org.uk/GameRules.aspx?gameID=269

Queenio was one we used to play too - hours of fun! I suppose we didn't have computers in those days!

[Edited at 2008-07-23 13:21]


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Alexandra Speirs  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:17
Italian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
ally bally Jul 23, 2008

Claire Cox wrote:

Queenio was one we used to play too - hours of fun! I suppose we didn't have computers in those days!

[Edited at 2008-07-23 13:21]


We played that too but we called it ally bally


Ally bally, ally bally, who's got the ball?
I haven't got it in my pocket....

and so on, it sounds like the same game.

Thanks for the links, recognised a lot of rhymes and toys!


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Steven Capsuto  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:17
Spanish to English
+ ...
UK vs US Jul 23, 2008

Alexandra Speirs wrote:
I see on the Internet that there is a variation of Pig/Piggy in the middle called Monkey in the middle. Presumably for cultures that don't eat pork...


"Monkey in the Middle" is the North American name. (I only know "Pig in the Middle" as the title of an old British sitcom.)

Similarly, we say "Ring Around the Rosie."

Dodgeball was very popular when I was in elementary school and junior high, as was a faster-paced version with multiple balls called "Bombardment" and a tamer variant called "Nukem."

Other games: marbles, hopscotch, jumprope, and jacks (the last three were mostly played by girls).

We also played kickball (similar to baseball/rounders, but played with a medium-sized inflatable ball that was kicked instead of batted).

There was also a game descriptively known as "Kill the Guy with the Ball" (which I am told was more widely known, in less politically correct times and places, as "Smear the Queer").

In my dad's generation, they played stickball, kick the can and handball.

[Edited at 2008-07-23 16:39]


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Yumico Tanaka  Identity Verified
Australia
Local time: 22:17
Member (2008)
English to Japanese
+ ...
'handball' and 'tiggy' ring a bell to me Jul 23, 2008

The most popular ball game among primary school age children is "handball" that up to 10 or more people can be involved. 4 players play in the four squares and the other potential players wait in line to join when one of the current players lose out.

Tiggy is more of a sport, which a whole class can participate in.

hope it helps...

Yumico


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xxxmediamatrix
Local time: 08:17
Spanish to English
+ ...
Thinking back ... Jul 23, 2008

Of the games I played back in the 1950/60s that have already been mentioned, those I most enjoyed were British Bulldogs and Dodgeball.

Other favourites that come to mind were 'Pirates', 'Touch' and its variant: 'Off-ground Touch'.

At least that's what we called them in my native Essex and adopted Kent. Maybe they had other names in other parts of the UK (or the world...).

MediaMatrix

Ooops! - Forgot 'Conkers'!

[Edited at 2008-07-23 20:08]


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Steven Capsuto  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:17
Spanish to English
+ ...
Handball Jul 24, 2008

Yumico Tanaka wrote:

The most popular ball game among primary school age children is "handball" that up to 10 or more people can be involved. 4 players play in the four squares and the other potential players wait in line to join when one of the current players lose out.



Handball is the name of at least three different games. One is a sport played in a four-walled court, one is a playground or street game played by striking a rubber ball and bouncing it off a wall, and one is the version you describe... which I'd never even heard of.

Another game we used to play in school -- one I quite enjoyed -- was Crab Soccer. (See video here -- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IMUeJXQuQyU -- although we always played it with a huge cage ball instead of an inflated ball.) According to Wikipedia, the British call the game crab football.


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Jenny Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:17
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Softball? Jul 24, 2008

Steven Capsuto wrote:

Yumico Tanaka wrote:

The most popular ball game among primary school age children is "handball" that up to 10 or more people can be involved. 4 players play in the four squares and the other potential players wait in line to join when one of the current players lose out.



Handball is the name of at least three different games. One is a sport played in a four-walled court, one is a playground or street game played by striking a rubber ball and bouncing it off a wall, and one is the version you describe... which I'd never even heard of.

Another game we used to play in school -- one I quite enjoyed -- was Crab Soccer. (See video here -- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IMUeJXQuQyU -- although we always played it with a huge cage ball instead of an inflated ball.) According to Wikipedia, the British call the game crab football.


Hi Steven,
Could "palla avvellenata" possibly be "softball" - which even I have played in America with friends and family - a kinder version of baseball (similar to "rounders" in England).
Yes, jacks were great fun as I remember it. Whatever happened to my jacks?
Where I grew up in Kent (UK) "catch" was simply called "he".
Jenny


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