CHILDHOOD GAMES: HIDE-AND-SEEK

A traditional childhood game I never particularly enjoyed playing as a very young child was Hide-and-Seek. It wasn’t so bad when we played it at home, for at least the environment was familiar. For me the worst was playing it at a neighbour’s house while my parents were visiting. We nearly always played this game in the dark. This made it much scarier – which was probably the whole idea! I didn’t mind the hiding, but loathed the prospect of having to look for anyone in the dark – especially in a home I was not familiar with.

I eventually tumbled on a way of avoiding having to be ‘it’ for as long as possible – always hopeful that someone would think of another game to play in the interim. I would flatten myself against the wall as close to the ‘den’ as possible – fully aware that it would take time for the eyes of the seeker to adjust from the light to the dark. If I was passed by I knew I would be reasonably safe for the time being. If there was a strong chance of being discovered, I would give the seeker a fright, which would in turn give me a fractional advantage to reach the ‘den’ first.

My older grandchildren often play Hide-and-Seek with friends in either their garden or mine. They play it during the day, which is friendlier, I think, even though hiding successfully may be more of a challenge. I listen to the laying down of the rules – usually relating to places where one may not hide. Then comes the hotly contested decision about who the first ‘seeker’ will be and up to how much the counting should go – obviously the higher the number, the more time there is to seek a hiding place. My heart lifts at the sounds of muffled laughter, the skittering of leaves or snapping of twigs against the backdrop of very loud counting.

“Ready or not, here I come!” The seeker announces this loudly and starts prowling around the most obvious sites in the garden. More muffled giggles come from the hidden ones, followed by squeals of laughter when discovered. Sometimes I hear the inevitable shouts of “You cheated! You must have peeped!” if someone was found ‘too quickly’.  Some children seek out the same hiding place time and again – and continue to be surprised when they are pounced upon.

Did you enjoy playing Hide-and-Seek when you were very young?

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14 thoughts on “CHILDHOOD GAMES: HIDE-AND-SEEK

  1. Your very littlest granddaughter adores playing hide and seek, but hasn’t quite cottoned onto the idea of not hiding in plain sight yet. The challenge is more for the seeker to drag out the ‘finding’ as long as possible! 😀

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  2. I used to love this game but my three brothers soon discovered an easy way of getting rid of Little Sister – they used the opportunity to get out of the house, leaving me to search all over for hours while they played outside with their friends.

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  3. I always hated hide & seek, but when I played it with my same-age cousin in my grandmother’s house, I never – ever – found him. To this day, he still won’t tell me where he used to hide… it’s infuriating! (But also funny, in way.)

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    • Ek stem saam: vanaf die ‘peek-a-boo’ stadium tot waar die kindjie dink sy het goed weggekruip omdat sy nie vir jou kan sien nie, tot die speletjie wat klein kinders speel. Ek het gedurende die dag daarvan gehou, maar nie in die donker nie!

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  4. Ons het dit ook gespeel en later ‘n ander vorm, genoem blikaspaai. Ek weet nie of jy dit ken nie. Almal staan by ‘n sirkel wat in die sand getrek is. Binne in is ‘n blik vol klippe. Dis toegekap en moet lekker lawaai. Dan word die blik vêrweg gegooi en terwyl die ou wat aan is, dit gaan haal, kruip die res weg. Hy moet dit in die kring bêre en almal gaan soek. Tussenin kan enige iemand die blik weer uit die kring gooi en kliphard “blikaspaai” skree.Die ou wat aan is moet dan eers weer die blik terugsit voor hy verder soek. Wanneer hy wel iemand vind, hardloop hulle vir die blik en die een wat eerste daar is gooi die blik weg en die ander een is nou weer aan. Dis ‘n wonderlike speletjie.😄

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