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Dublin: 8 °C Thursday 25 April, 2019

Health watchdog wants kids to start playing Kerbs, Tip the Can and Rounders again

Anyone who grew up in an Irish housing estate will know most of the list.

Image: Hopscotch via Shutterstock

IRELAND’S HEALTH WATCHDOG has launched a campaign to get more children playing outside again.

Safefood’s Bring Back Play campaign hopes to reverse a current trend that the vast majority of children are not getting enough exercise.

Currently four out of five children are not reaching the optimum 60 minutes of activity per day and about 25 per cent of primary school students are overweight or obese.

And the problem is starting very early in life – six per cent of three year olds are now obese.

The agency hopes to encourage parents to become more active and pass on good lessons to their sons and daughters.

“For children, being active for 60 minutes doesn’t have to be all in one burst nor does it have to be organised sport – it could be 10 minutes skipping, 15 minutes running or kicking a ball – it all adds up. Any amount of activity is better than none,” explains Professor Niall Moyna from DCU.

As part of the campaign, safefood recommends that parents limit children’s ‘screen time – that is the amount of time watching TV, using computers or playing on tablets and smartphones.

They advise families to head to the nearest park to kick a ball around or throw a frisbee. Other small changes have also been recommended – such as walking to the shop instead of taking the car or borrowing the neighbour’s dog at its walk time.

Safefood also listed 15 games that are intrinsic with many of our Irish childhoods, including:

1. All in together guys

Two players hold a skipping rope at either end. The other players stand to one side. The rope is turned and players jump in as the month of their birthday is called during  the first rhyme. When everyone is in players jump out as the month of their birthday is called during the second rhyme.

2. Blind Man’s Bluff

image(Image: Adam Cohn/Flickr/Creative Commons)

3. Duck, Duck, Goose

Players sit in a circle facing inward. The picker walks around the outside of the circle tapping players one by one and calling each a duck until picking one they call goose instead. This player has to jump up and try to catch the picker before they get back to where they started. If they don’t succeed, they become the picker.

4. Kerbs

If you grew up in an Irish housing estate, chances are you’ve played kerbs. The rules vary from place to place but simply put you need two opposing kerbs and a ball. You need to stand behind your kerb and launch the ball, trying to hit your opponent’s head on.

If you do, you get to progress to the centre of the road and you’ll earn five points for every shot. If you miss, back you go as quickly as you can, because if your opponent hits you with that ball before you get back, they steal all of your points.

You can, as Fake Dog Films outline, use different techniques such as the Granny Throw, or the Basic. May the best man (or woman) win.

5. Tip the Can

It’s a game of speed, cunning, and some poor player stuck being ‘it’. Tip the can has been played far and wide for many years (it’s called Kick the Can in the US). The ‘can’ (or a plant pot, or gate pillar or whatever) is out in the open. Whoever is ‘it’ stands at the can, counting to 20, while the rest of the Olympians run off to hide.

When the counting is finished, ‘it’ goes on the hunt. Every person that is caught gets sent to ‘jail’, but if someone manages to ‘tip the can’ before being caught, they can free one of their comrades.

6. Rounders

A simpler version of baseball, Rounders is played between two teams. One team bats the ball and tries to score runs around the four bases back to home. The other tries to catch the ball and return it to the base to ‘out’ the player before they reach it. Players running between bases are out if the ball is caught with two hands before it hits the ground. If the ball is caught with one hand, the whole team is out and the fielders take up batting. Whichever team scores the most runs wins.

Other games on the 15-strong list include Tag, Simon Says, Piggy in the Middle, Traffic Lights, Wall Ball, Hot and Cold, Follow the Leaders and What Time Is It Mr Wolf?

Tip the can, kerbs, elastics… it’s the Irish Olympics

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