The other night while finishing chicken satay in a nearby Korean restaurant I watched Jon mindlessly use his chopsticks to pick up the empty skewers. It got me thinking about old fashioned childhood games.

Specifically, pick up sticks. I remember spending hours by myself or with my friends sitting cross-legged on the basement floor or on the front porch adeptly lifting each colorful wooden stick without jostling, even narrowly, neighboring sticks.

And that got me thinking about jacks.

Does anyone play them anymore? How much time did I invest in playing jacks, either alone or in competition with a friend? Ultimately, our goal was to successfully grasp a handful of metal jacks AND the ball.

And that got me thinking about dress-up. My girlfriends and I would don our mothers’ swing skirts and heels and pretend we were running a household. Today the dress-up costumes kids wear are fashionably different – think super heroes – and, fortunately, their role playing has evolved, too.

And that got me thinking about hide and seek.

All those humid summer nights congregating outside with the kids in the neighborhood. The thick interior branch on the massive Higan cherry in our backyard proved a favorite hiding place for me. In retrospect, it amazes me how many times I commandeered the same spot without getting caught. Eventually, my boundless confidence led me to climb higher into the tree.

And that got me thinking about stickball. Well, actually, it got Jon thinking. As a city kid he and his friends used a cut-off broom stick and a tennis ball and any yard or street as a suitable playing field.

And that got me thinking about board games.

Chutes and Ladders, Candyland, Clue, Monopoly, Life. Sometimes we’d play with friends, sometimes with our siblings. More often than not, it was cold and rainy outside, which served as justification for being indoors.

And that got me thinking about card games.

WAR, Concentration, Fish, Gin. My grandparents would sit at the card table where my parents held their monthly bridge games, and play cards with my sister and me. Remember, Susie, how Grammy used to say, “What a sad story!” when she got dealt a bad hand?

All of this, of course, got me thinking about today’s games for children. In a playing field vastly altered by computers and technology, it’s all okay – albeit very different – so long as they are still having fun.

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