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Nothing a skipping rope couldn’t fix

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"Raspberries, strawberries, jelly and jam. Tell me the name of your old man..."

I still remember those lines though I haven’t heard them in many years. As soon as the snow was gone young girls would spend all day out on the street skipping and that was one of the lyrics they skipped to that I still remember. No doubt there were many more.

If I remember correctly, the kids at times used double ropes. One person at each end manipulated one rope with each hand and the others would jump in, skip for a number of skips, then jump out again. This they had to do without tripping over the rope. If they did, they‘d have to trade places and take turns on the ropes while  the rope twirlers skipped. There was no limit to how many could play, and probably most of the kids on the block participated.

Another favourite pastime was hopscotch. I don’t remember exactly how it was played but do remember that the sidewalk would be marked off in numbered squares and the girls would hop from one square to another, sometimes on one leg. They would play these games all day long.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could still have kids out having fun all day long getting good healthy exercise with the only expense being the price of a skipping rope and a few sticks of chalk.?

I don’t recall any of these kids being obese. This sort of exercise at an early age helped to provide the fitness required to go on to play volleyball, basketball and many other sports.

Sadly, it appears kids today are too sophisticated for this kind of activity. Obesity, lethargy, and laziness problems with young kids seem to be getting worse.  

With all the technology and trained people we have it’s sad we don’t know how to address this problem. Parents blame schools and the schools blame the politicians and the politicians conduct another study and hire a few more consultants.

All kinds of surveys are being done and  books are being written about the benefits of fitness.

Programs are being designed, psychologists and recreation directors are being trained to address the problem — and it still seems to be getting worse. Probably the problem is that we’re overly organized these days.

The solution, to me, is easy. Buy the kids a skipping rope and a few sticks of  chalk instead of expensive electronic devices, and then get out of the way.

The kids will solve the problem themselves.

Ron Buffie is a community correspondent for Transcona.

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