What Kept Us Kids In The 70s And 80s Engaged In The Vacations? #NostalgiaAlert

Posted: April 22, 2018

#NostalgiaAlert. A trip down memory lane about activities that kept kids engaged in the holidays. What can you re-purpose for your kids today?

I am thankful to be born in the late 70’s where a lot happened – not over coffee, but on the barren patch of the unoccupied piece of neighborhood land, playgrounds, or simply the verandas, or that extra space or a common walk through for all the 9 houses lined up in rows called chawls: so synonymous with Mumbai life and grime.

Televisions had just made an inroad then. With eyes and mouth wide open, I had heard about the good looking box that had answers to all world problems, which only the privileged could own. Telerad/Crown/BPL – pride of every living room, that had only 2 channels. There was a special kind of tuning required for the 2nd channel which had better quality programs and movies.




We kids knew how to make the best from whatever was available, and summers were never trying or dreadful experiences for parents. Let’s look at what all was available to keep kids engaged then, both the on-screen and off-screen options.

TV

There were a series of children’s programmes on weekdays and weekends. But summers were special. There was kid-friendly programmes from the mornings till later in the afternoons. Fun Time, Best out of Waste, Fairytales, Paper craft, Road Runner, Gayab Ayya, Potli Baba ki, Dada-Dadi ki Kahani, Vikram Vetaal, Singhasan Battisi, Giant Robot, Fire Ball, regional movies, children’s movies… the idiot box was not an idiot, but informative.

Outdoor/Indoor Games

Our generation paid a lot of attention to HEAD, HEART and HAND levels. Every activity, interaction and action resulted in a dynamic range of experiences. This is not an exhaustive list but the memories of experiencing these games remain fresh till date – Lagori, Langdi, Kho Kho, Sankhli, Dodgeball, Chowka bara, Goli aatta, Alugulimane mane, Pagade, Hopscotch-kuntu bille, Buguri, Chuppa chuppi, Ram chandu, park visits, late evening badminton/cricket amidst street lights. My favourite was Buguri (Spinning the TOP).

Rent-o-cycle

This is no new concept. Local cycle shops would rent out a cycle for 50 paise for half an hour and Rs. 1 for one hour. Many of us learnt our cycling like this, even if we didn’t own cycles.

Play dates

This is what we call them today, but we never waited for occasions to play and visit each other.

I was known for my collection of minuscule and real life kitchen items which were sourced and curated from different parts of India. My friends – both boys and girls – played for hours together, and ensured that every utensil was used. They’re still a priced possession, and even my daughter needs my permission to play with it.

There was so much diversity and inclusion with mere concepts and activities. The games were never gender specific. Board games were our favorites – snakes and ladders, Mikado, Business game, ludo, chess, tic tac toe, Pictionary, Painting, joining the dots, name-place-animal-thing and we would go on for hours, literally a riot.

Appreciating, respecting other people’s culture and discipline was beautifully taught when we visited each others’ house. Human connect is beyond gadgets and any kind of artificial intelligence.

Stitching and Embroidery

Cross stitch, back stitch, French knot, satin stitch, knitting, crochet.. It was never a DIY sort of kit experience, but a paraphernalia of things we were given or had. Sourcing the necessary bits and bobs was exhilarating. Thread art is one activity that can develop both physical and mental wellbeing being in a child. It helps improve cognitive and motor abilities by developing visual, manual, and mental dexterity.

So what’s your gadget… err… activity for this summer?

Image source: shutterstock

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