Most of my posts focus on what was different when I was growing up in the fifties and sixties. This one is about what hasn’t changed.
We have just been away for a week. By we I mean me and the other half, our three daughters and their other halves plus the four grandchildren aged from eight months to five years. We had rented a house the coast of Northern Ireland and the garden led directly on to the beach. What occurred to me while we were there was just how little children need to keep them happy when there is plenty of space for them to play, run around and use their imaginations.
The beautiful stretch of beach we had next to the house had sand, stones and rock pools. We had a couple of balls and some buckets and spades and they were able to run, dig, collect pebbles and shells – even bury one of the dads in the sand (as I remember doing with my dad), leaving his head free of course!
The photographs are a mixture of our recent ones and their fifties equivalents.
We had a lovely expanse of grass outside the house with a low bank and the children spent ages simply rolling down the bank – something I remember loving as a child!
To the rear of the house was an enclosed garden which they named the secret garden. At dusk we went out with a torch looking for the rabbits which came out to play on the grass.
Indoor time was when they played hide and seek, got the paper and crayons out to draw, or played make-believe games. They were read stories at bedtime. On a couple of afternoons we walked along the coast towards the small local town and stopped off at a playground which had swings, climbing frames and slides.
Okay, so all this sounds very twee and idyllic, I hear you say! I’m not saying they didn’t cry, argue, get jealous or grumble. They’re small children after all, and small children are good at all of that.
I’m not saying that children have too many toys these days or that children watch too much TV. There are great toys, books and TV programmes for kids now.
The message, if there is one, is that today’s children can still enjoy the same pleasures we enjoyed years ago.