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A few days ago on my way back from work, I spotted a bunch of chirpy, young girls playing a game. Budging my head away from my phone, what attracted me to this group was their contagious laughter and giggles that made me miss the wonder years, that is childhood. On paying more attention, I noticed the game they were playing. A game of Hopscotch, a rare sight these days, is what I realized this group was engrossed in.
In a time when gadgets and smart phones are the objects that appeal to the young ones, outdoor games have certainly, in my opinion taken a back seat. Especially in the cities. More and more youngsters are tagging along the tech-addiction brigade which was unimaginable in the 90s when 'Small Wonder' an American television show was by far the coolest sci-fi dose of entertainment available on Indian television.
Hopscotch is believed to have its roots in Rome. Something I could not have imagined while playing the game all those years. It is said that Hopscotch was first used as a military training exercise for Roman foot soldiers, who ran on the hand- drawn grids wearing heavy armour, to improve their foot work for wars. This was then emulated by Roman children who imitated the soldiers, drawing small boxes to play on and it has since been famous among kids all around the world.
It is difficult to say what made Hopscotch so popular among all of us. Besides the fact that it was easy to just draw those grids and kick-start the game, just about anywhere. I had a friend recently convince me as to why the fidget spinner - a new low-tech toy has become such a rage around the world. He said, it was meant for kids with autism, anxiety and ADHD (Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder)but is now being used to drive kids away from the addiction of smart phones.
These Fidget spinners are small, ball-bearing devices that kids or any user can spin between their fingers. Its momentum provides a pleasing sensory experience that had kids addicted to it rather than smart phones, with no harm to the eyes. This has made me wonder that maybe we did have an easier time back then when games like Hopscotch, hide and seek, skipping ruled the roost. Games where our fondest memories were born and such great friendships were formed. Just the idea of getting out of our classes or homes brightened our days.
Parents like us, thus need to get out and create an environment for our kids to love outdoor games. All this new technology and tech-madness is fine and healthy only till the point that it does not drive us to depend on objects like these 'spinner toys' to unwind and my vote still goes out to my favourite time spent playing hopscotch with a bunch of friends I cannot ever forget.S