Games Which Weren’t On Screens

This rather odd title will make sense (I hope!) once you read on. The number of games which can be played on phones and other devices now is unlimited. One can play with other people or alone. Most of the games are recent creations and new ones are appearing all the time – so I’m told. There are complex, role-playing games but at the other end of the scale there are on-screen jigsaws, patience, Scrabble, crosswords etc etc.

When we were young, in the days before electronic devices, we were never without games to play whenever we couldn’t be outside. There were board games, card games, jigsaws, pencil and paper games and verbal games. I’ll look at each category in turn.

Boards Games

As slightly older children, I remember us playing Monopoly and Cluedo but when we were very young the games I remember best are Ludo, Snakes and Ladders and Draughts.

Ludo | Berwick | V&A Search the Collections

Card Games

The favourites in our toy cupboard were Snap, Old Maid and Happy Families

VINTAGE SNAP CARD Game - British Made - £9.99 | PicClick UK


Such hours of fun! We began as young children with the 8 or 10 piece ones and moved up to more complex ones as we became older and better at them.

PHILMAR 1950'S VINTAGE Jigsaw Set of 2 Puzzles, each around 150 pieces -  £2.50 | PicClick UK

Pencil and Paper Games

We could have hours of indoor fun with scrap paper and pencils. Hangman was a favourite as was Noughts and Crosses. We had many laughs over games of Consequences.

Verbal Games

I-Spy is probably the best known one of these. Another alphabet game we used to play was ‘I packed my case and in it I put a/ an .. ‘. There are different versions of it but whatever the words used in the opening sentence, the game then goes on like this. The first person completes the sentence with an item which begins with A. Taking it in turns, the next person has to think of an item beginning with B but also has to include the A word. And so it goes on. If you get to Z that person has to complete the sentence with all 26 items in the right order. Good memory training!

All images gleaned from Google Images and Wikipedia. I make every effort to use only pictures which I believe I am at liberty to use. If anyone feels that I have inadvertently infringed copyright please contact me and I’ll remove the offending image.

16 thoughts on “Games Which Weren’t On Screens

  1. The title of your post made perfect sense to me, even before I read it! All manner of games without screens were a big part of my growing up years. My dad loved to play cribbage, so we played that a lot. How about the outside games like Red Rover and Kick the Old Tin Can?

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  2. This site is a wonderful discovery, which I only came upon today, whilst looking for old songs from my childhood. My husband and I want to make videos for our Covid housebound grandchildren in North Carolina, ages 5 and 2. They both have vivid imaginations, and are being raised in surprisingly similar ways to how we grew up, being outdoors every possible moment available, weather permitting, and using very little access to technology. Sadly though, now with libraries and bookstores inaccessible, their mother is really challenged to provide new and interesting ways to help them sanely pass the time, especially on ‘indoor’ days. She cooks all fresh food from scratch and teaches food values through fun. The 5 yr old girl gets one-to-one time only when little brother is reluctantly taking his daytime nap, and without school yet, Mum is the teacher, playmate, friend and mother. She is amazing, and every day, despite it all, it seems like the children are having a kind of Mary Poppins experience! I know she sleeps VERY WELL at night!
    It’s worth telling that I am 1951 vintage, born and raised in Dublin, Ireland. Moved age 18 to London for nurse training. There met my husband , fresh from Australia. We married and had 3 children. When two were early teens and the youngest turning 11, a call to a job in USA brought us all Stateside, and we continue our lives here, with all of them married to Americans, hence we have 5 American grandchildren.
    Thank you for this wonderful fun-filled walk down memory lane, as well as providing us personally with lots of ideas too. The content is still very easy to keep relevant, and as you so well point out ‘useful’ – ie. memorization of times tables, poetry, and so many things we still never have to ‘look up’ – even in this fast changing world we inhabit!
    I’ll be returning frequently. Thank you again, Maurreen

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you so much for your lovely, positive comment. I’m really glad you enjoyed my blog. I keep thinking I’ll run out of topics to cover but I haven’t so far. My three daughters all have two young children each and their lives sound very similar to your grandchildren’s lives in this locked down world. Interestingly, my middle daughter married an Irishman and went to live in Ireland. They spent ten years in Dublin and have now relocated to his home town in Co Kerry. All three daughters have spent time living in London, one has settled there for good. I’m a 1951 born person too. We turn 70 this year!

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  3. So many familiar things in this post, Merle. It makes me smile.

    I think I only ever did jigsaws, as a child, when I was in hospital. I didn’t have the concentration for (or interest in) them when I was at home.

    I loved Monopoly – and would still play it if I had one anymore and if my hubby were interested! (Unfortunately I haven’t, and he isn’t). I had a Cluedo – that had probably belonged to my sister – but never got the hang of it. Definitely played snakes and ladders, and draughts. I think I may still have a couple of remaining draughts pieces from the original set, no idea what happened to the rest, I suppose some parts were lost and it was just chucked out.

    I-Spy was played in the car, with my sister and our parents, on long journeys, usually on holiday.

    Talking of pen and pencil games, did you ever have any of those books that, when you scribbled over the paper with a pencil, a picture was revealed? And the ones where you’d do a watercolour wash over it and colours would appear? (Much, much later, one of Led Zeppelin’s inner sleeves – from In Through The Out Door, I think – had one of one of those!)

    Oh and yes, happy families and snap. My mum taught me Patience – another name for Solitaire – which is meant to be played alone but we found a way to do it together.

    I now enjoy Jigsaws online, but am not sure I’d have the patience for a real one. And Solitaire online – but could easily play it, as Patience, with my remaining pack of cards: one that had belonged to my mother. So lovely to have something that old. 🙂

    Did you do any card tricks? My sister taught me one, but I’ve since forgotten it.

    Wow! Sorry this comment is so long!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Don’t apologise! I loved the long comment. Yes, I do now remember those ‘magic’ pictures. Also, I still enjoy Monopoly and Cluedo but, like you, I have a husband who isn’t remotely interested. I play Scrabble and Patience (Solitaire) online, particularly during these pandemic times.


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