TOTD 2018/1/5: Favorites Games & Toys from Your Childhood

I was thinking about this topic because my kids were home over Christmas, and even though they are in their mid-20s now, they broke out board games to play on our dining room table, late into the night.  They were none of the games I remember though! They played Settlers of Cataan, Phase 10 and King Domino.  Some that I remember from growing up in the 1960s are:

Fascination Pool – a plastic maze board that looked like a pool table – the picture above. You held it in your hands, released little balls from the center and tried to tip the board to get all the balls one by one into the color-corresponding pockets – but not let them roll into the wrong-color pocket.

King of the Hill – another game with little balls, you spun a spinner to move your marble up the mountain on little paths, but sometimes you’d land on a spot with a hole, and your marble would drop down a chute and come out a lower level.  Whoever got their marble to the top of the hill dropped it into the crown and I think some action happened then, like the crown popped up or something?

Chinese Jump Rope – Do girls still play this?? All it took was a long circular elastic band. Two children stood about 5 feet apart with the band around their ankles and there was a whole set of jumping actions the third child did with the elastic – then if you completed those actions, the children on the end moved the band up to their knees & you performed the same actions, then to their hips and you tried to perform the same actions – quite a feat!

Did you play these?  What were your favorite games and toys from your childhood?



17 thoughts on “TOTD 2018/1/5: Favorites Games & Toys from Your Childhood”

  1. Good question! Let me think. I guess Scrabble. My family was a Scrabble family. They liked to bluff to see if anyone would challenge their words. I still remember getting “QUIZ” on the Triple Word Score and the “Q” on the Double Letter Score. I learned a lot of two letter words like “xi”.


  2. Mouse Trap, Clue, Monopoly, Parcheesi. My dad invented a game called “Knock Down Star Wars People” where you lined up 3 figures on each side of the foyer and rolled a golf ball across to knock them down. First one to knock all three of the other person’s figures down won.

  3. Hi @Pencilvania!

    In the 1960s we kids played double-board Monopoly and poker. The only time our parents played games with us was when we were big enough to join the grownup poker games occasionally, or play family-reunion softball in the back yard in the summertime.

    This past Christmas season we had all the offspring back home for a week, and they too played Settlers of Cataan late into the night, and I don’t think that was solely because most of them were on West Coast time. For them it is obviously absorbing and frequently hilarious. Did your kids also laugh a lot during play of this game?

  4. Oh yes, jzdro – they laughed a lot! I’m very happy that board games are once again popular – I really didn’t care for the video game phase. My daughter & her husband even went to a board game convention in Phila. in November, participated in demos of new games, saw talks with artists for games, and they bought several that they liked. Do you know, they told me that Monopoly is not really considered a great game anymore, mainly because once you get behind it’s very hard to improve and win. Good games now are the ones where if you get behind by chance, you can strategize your way back into power.


  5. Good games now are the ones where if you get behind by chance, you can strategize your way back into power

    Maybe that expectation was acquired during the videogame-only phase we postulate. Consequently, the board games had to improve or be left on the shelf.

    This reminds me that these same offspring are finding new interest in beautiful hardcover books and in music as vinyl recordings. They remain devoted to their digital jobs and their digital photography and videography, but they appear to be balancing those with these other, vintage, things: physical to complement the virtual in their lives.

  6. I liked to play rummy tiles, dominoes, Monopoly, Yahtzee with family and friends. Just this past Thanksgiving, I discovered that my family has never played rummy tiles by the real rules! ha. All these years (decades, actually) we had our own rules and I never knew it. My daughter was the one who discovered this. She actually read the rules, and pointed out errors me and my sister were making… something nobody else ever did. 🙂

  7. Welcome, Hugh!

    Yes, legos were yuuuge with my son throughout boyhood, and grandsons now love them too. They are painful to step on in socks though!

    JJ, are rummy tiles like backgammon?  Never played those.

  8. Loved the Chinese jump rope and played for hours with my girl friends at boarding school. My very Canadian sons would tell you Chinese jump rope is racist to say. We called it “French skipping” or “elastics”. Apparantly French skipping is not racist – no idea why! Any suggestions? Us English Canadians hate the French Canadians so maybe we are allowed to do cultural appropriation as long as it is French.

    Loved it and young kids still do.

    Here is a link to how to do it. Be popular with your grand children.


  9. Huh – but that video is NOT the way we played really! I watched 3 more videos on Youtube & none of them showed the steps we used. Our way involved standing to the left of the two bands and then:

    putting your right foot in between the bands – just a light touch of the ground there

    then bring the right foot back out next to your left foot

    then scooping up the left band with your right foot and crisscrossing it over past the right band, touching the ground and putting your foot back to position 1

    you did this motion 5 times

    on the 5th time to end that set, when you crossed the band over, you stopped and put both feet inside the now crisscrossed bands, stretched them out like a diamond, and jumped up, letting the bands to snap back into place and your feet landing outside both bands

    then you hopped over to the right of the bands and did the same thing using your left foot.

    there were a bunch of other crisscrossing moves, and eventually you did get to the hopping steps shown in that video.

    I wonder if our way was just peculiar to Pennsylvania?

  10. Yes. That was another variation we played. The ones in the video were with very young kids but then again I was older and played very complex games as you describe. Twisting the elastic way more. Plus we were jumping faster and on the elastics too

    Many hours of fun  – cheap too eh?



  11. Saying something is French is seen as a compliment whereas saying something was Chinese was calling something bad.

    John Cleese has a funny video talking about certain countries you can make jokes about and it is okay but others seem to need protection which is patronizing, isn’t it?


  12. Ah, I used to play charades with my theater friends after college.  Act out “For Colored Girls who have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf.”


  13. Pencil, rummy tiles is different from backgammon (I should have added backgammon to my list!). Rummy tiles is when you form runs and three or four of a kind in order to get rid of your tiles. You lay them out for everybody to see. You can move the played tiles around in order to play the tiles in your hand. Lots of fun!


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