As a child, the game I consistently played with my friends was war. Even just one piece of camouflage clothing could put me into a fantasy world of saving the world — one hiding spot at a time.
My most vivid memory of playing war are the times I would play with my best friend “Murph” & his cousin Ryan (also a best friend). There was a little play house on his grandparents ranch where we would get ready. It was our command center.
On the shelves of this little command center were bullets — you heard that right. There was a gun range on the property, and almost anytime we were up at the ranch we would go scour the mound of earth that folks shot into for stray bullets. We would then match them up with spent casings that we found on the ground. Thank God that a lot of those guys never cleaned up after themselves.
We had our arsenal, yet we never did anything with it other than put the bullets into the casing and put them on the shelf. It made perfect sense at the time.
Then we would put on our uniforms. I remember that I never really had that much camo, “Murph” & Ryan did though — it was awesome. Even just a camo hat was enough to transport us to the battlefield, where our mission began.
Now if you only have 3-4 kids (their cousin Sean was sometimes there too) its tough to have an all out war, so instead of splitting up we would just be on the same team.
Our mission — to spy on the adults.
Now years later we find out that they always knew we were watching, but back then on the rolling hills of the ranch we were invisible! Silent soldiers carrying out a mission of huge importance. We moved like ninja’s and had the speed of cheetahs. I’m smiling even as I type that out, it is such a fun time.
It was fun— pure and simple.
We didn’t have video games, we didn’t even have fake guns most of the time. We just had our imagination, a big ranch to run around on, and a camo hat.
It was glorious.
Kids don’t need a lot to have fun, they just need permission to dream. Kids these days, especially my own, sometimes need a little hint to get going.
I still remember how to really play though, so I get them started and see how it turns out. Today they were pirates, sailing on their ship (my daughter’s bed)
Turn off the TV/Computer/Tablet/Phone and let encourage them to play, even if you have to join them.