Playing in the 80’s was heavenly for every child alive. The world lay spread out in front of you to explore and the time and space to engage in any exploration that was barely hindered or limited by parents. Children played to their satisfaction and more but this, on the other hand, made them expand their imaginative and creative abilities to the maximum.
Nowadays, a lot of what kids in the 80’s regarded to as playing, is condemned by modern day society. As a result of the discouragement and sometimes outright ban of these activities, we have kids who haven’t been allowed to lose, fail and learn. Everyone is trying to give their kids a fairy tale world that can only last in their imaginations. The kind of world where things go smoothly for them without any real hindrance or obstacles. Often I ask, ”how long are you going to protect these kids from life.” You are doing them more harm than good. Life will happen regardless of what you think you have or what you think you can do. And nature is only concerned about ridding itself of the weak. If you spend the majority of a child’s life making that child think that it is all roses and sunflowers, then sorry you just raised a weak child who won’t be able to stand tall in the midst of trials and tribulations of life. That by definition is the ultimate failure of such a parent – or parents.
Well, back to some of the 17 games that 80’s children engage in that helped make them strong and tough.
1. Lawn Darts.
They were not for the weak at heart. The lawn darts were dangerous toys that had to be handled with skill and care if you wanted to enjoy playing with them and the 80’s kids played with this toy every day.
2. Playing with fireworks.
Any 80’s kid would reminisce about the times when it was okay to play with fireworks as a kid. These activities were so much fun – the lights, bangs, and smoke; it was thoroughly enjoying to light those things up and scream when we heard and watched it explode.
3. Getting a cast.
Now, this may not be a game, but it was usually a result of playing one. In those days, those casts were a direct reflection of the passion and zest you put into the games. It was regarded as some kind of medal of honor! Look at that; we were already encouraging and rewarding bravery and high achievement even at that age!
The playgrounds were known to be the spot. It was all fun till you slid down those hot metal slides and watched your skin peel off. Oh, that hot and burning sensation… uuu aah!
5. Riding in the back of pickup trucks.
In the 80’s, it was a big deal to ride around town in pick up trucks. It was, even more, fun for the kids to go riding in the back of a pickup truck. That was so much fun, and in those days, we did it all the time.
6. Riding in the front seats of cars.
When we were kids, it gave us some form of delight to ride in the front seat with our parents. In fact, some kids rode in the car on their parent’s lap. Although that that could have been a little bit uncomfortable, you could only imagine the kind of confidence kids that were raised back then had.
7. Playing outside without constant surveillance.
No one watched us from the porch to make such that we didn’t break anything – be it some object or our bones. The dangerous plays were the most fun, and 80’s kids weren’t about to miss all that. We would play from whenever we could start till it was dark and by then we were greeted with a warm bath and sumptuous dinner.
For us back then sunburns came with the territory. They weren’t a cause for alarm. If you got severely beaten by the sun, you just continued to have fun – and save the skin peeling for later. Back then it wasn’t a big deal; it was only one of those things that happened when you went out to play.
We would ride our bicycles to see our family and friends. It could be grandma’s house this time and then next the kid who has those cool superhero figures. We also engaged in bicycle races that usually ended up with someone leaving his/her skin on the ”race track.”
This is the kind of stuff we did as young kids instead of meeting someone on some chat website.
10. Second-hand smoke?
Yes, most 80’s kids – while growing up, had parents who smoked. And guess what? We would inhale a lot of their puffs. But back then, it wasn’t a big deal. It was just okay.
11. Cooking on the stove.
Responsibility was a big lesson to be learned, and that was built into all our activities at home. It wasn’t strange to see a kid cook meals for him/herself. Nowadays, some parents can barely cook let alone their kids. In fact, the thought of their kids in the kitchen makes their hearts skip a beat. But that was a typical situation in those days for the 80’s kids.
12. No seat belts to deal with.
Even when we were confined to the car space, we still had the car space as our playground. We weren’t held back by any seat belt. We just had fun. Today, our kids are all propped up as if they are dolls. They can’t move around, and they can’t play. And we wonder why they are having issues such as obesity and diabetes.
For the 80’s kids, playing in the backseat of the car was always guaranteed so far as we were in the car.
13. Smoking while pregnant.
If you are an 80’s baby, there is a high chance that your mom smoked while she was pregnant with you. Nowadays, it is all about propaganda and fear used to prevent people from having fun. Not that smoking while pregnant is fun nor a good idea.
14. Latchkey Kids.
Kids of the 80’s were known to learn self-care at a very little age. It wasn’t all about having a nanny. Kids would go to school and when they were back, would go on to take care of their laundry and then their homework. That now sounds strange for parents and children of today. Teens today can barely keep their rooms from being a jumbled confusion of clothes, beer, books, and video game Cds.
15. Older kids would babysit their little brothers and sisters.
Nowadays, parents and kids have become unhealthily attached to nannies. In the 80’s that responsibility lay on the parents and older siblings of the baby or kid. That helped to save parents the money that would have been spent on a getting a nanny. Most of 80’s kids had the not-so-pleasant experience of babysitting our younger ones. But you know what? That helped to instill discipline and responsibility into us human beings who are also individuals in society. That skill is hard to come by nowadays, and you wonder why.
16. There was no such thing as play-dates.
In the 80’s, there was no such thing as play dates. Every day was another opportunity to explore the world around us. Kids of the 80’s played whenever they felt like and where ever grabbed their curious minds.
17. Teen smoking was cool.
Back in the day, smoking wasn’t an issue. In fact, that was the cool and hip thing to do. That is why almost all 80’s kids smoked at some time in high school while a lot of them continue with it all their lives.
Now, I am not saying that we begin to throw our kids into danger. There are reasons why some of these games or activities were banned, and I must admit that not all of them are necessary. But as we are saddled with the responsibility of taking care of our kids, it is important that they learn to understand that to get whatever they want, sacrifice, dedication, and perseverance must be applied or else their goals and dreams would elude them. The only way to do that is to let them try and fail at things. When they fail, don’t make them feel like failing is the end of the world. In the same vein, don’t give your kids participation trophies aka 8th place trophies. This is because the world doesn’t work that way. Let them feel the pain of losing. It can seem emotional and overwhelming at the moment, but the lessons are such a moment that would stick for a longer time – that is if that situation is handled well. Hopefully, when all this is done, your kid turns out to be a balanced individual, who will go out into the world and compete with dignity and respect.