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Old indoor family and party games -
what we learnt from our parents

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This section - see the side menu - is about the games that my family played in the 1940s and 50s. They were old games which we learnt from our parents who used to play them in their own childhoods. Nowadays with electronic media, the games could be forgotten which would be a pity as we all enjoyed them and laughed a lot together. This is why it seems worth recording them here. Currently only a few of the games are described but more will be added as time permits. Perhaps you know of one that would be worth adding. If so, the webmaster would be pleased to hear from you.

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How I learnt the games

My parents came from a large family that had to make its own entertainment using only the enthusiasm of one another with little or no bought equipment, and my mother instilled this in her own children. Consequently I too grew up in an atmosphere of "Let's play some-game-or-other" during the dark winter evenings.

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Rewards for the games

There were no tangible rewards for her games. The reward was simply winning, plus a lot of laughing, so that we all felt better for having played. This was in the 1940s and 50s when, even if there had been spare money, there was little enough to buy due to the shortages in and after the Second World War. These games could well be played at today's parties: children and adults would all laugh a lot and feel that they had enjoyed themselves without the expense of buying in entertainers, organising party bags or any of the other trappings of the affluent society.

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Who the games are suitable for

The games can be played in small groups, such as families of four or more people, including parents, any other adults present and children old enough to understand. They can readily be adapted for larger gatherings such as those we used to entertain at birthday and Christmas parties. If you would like to play them, you can easily adapt them for the situation in which you would like to use them.

There must be numerous variations of the games and what they were called. I shall refer to them by the names we used in my childhood. If you knew any of them by different names, the webmaster would be pleased to hear from you.

Page contributed by Neil Cryer

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This website Join me in the 1900s is a contribution to the social history of everyday life in 20th century Britain from the early 1900s to about 1960, seen through personal recollections and illustrations, with the emphasis on what it was like to live in those times.