Recreation for Children

by Caroline Grossmann


This is just a list of things we did for fun and, when fortunate enough, special activities that were arranged for us. Most of this we did on our own, without supervision and without fear on our part or our parents' that anything bad would happen to us. The time period is the 1940's and early 50's:

  1. Roller skating round and round the block
  2. Bike riding round and round the block
  3. Hop Scotch
  4. Ring-o-lario
  5. Hide and seek
  6. Jump rope
  7. Kick the can
  8. Stick ball in the street
  9. Stiff statues
  10. Simon Says
  11. Huck a buck a beanstalk
  12. May I
  13. Swimming at the Boys' Club on Littleton Ave. & 13th Ave.
    (girls could go too)
  14. Going to the Hayes St. branch of the library--by yourself!
  15. Going to the Y downtown--by yourself!
  16. Two or more weeks in the summer at Camp Sunshine (it's still there but is now a day camp) in Liberty Corners
  17. Getting drenched by a fire hydrant on hot days
  18. Church youth group activities
  19. Listening to programs on the radio: The Lone Ranger, Sgt. Preston of the Yukon, The Shadow, Gangbusters, Gene Autry, Roy Rodgers, Big John & Sparky, Stella Dallas (when Grandma had it on)
  20. Sledding down the alley, down the street (we didn't worry about the cars), down the hill at West Side Park
  21. Ice skating in West Side Park
  22. Walking through Woodland Cemetery on the way to and from church--it felt like "the country"
  23. Walking around the neighborhood and talking to everyone--children were used to talking to adults and enjoyed it
  24. Riding on a merry go round on the back of a truck
  25. Playing marbles
  26. Using a paper cup and string "walkie talkie"
  27. Making things: crafts, toys, scooters, bikes (out of junk yard parts), sewing, embroidery
  28. Summer recreation programs at West Side Park or at school playgrounds
  29. Feeding the goldfish in West Side Park
  30. Going to the Newark Museum--we walked there
  31. Watching horses being shod at the stable on Fairmount Ave. near 16th Ave.
  32. Going to the Ritz on Saturday afternoons--double feature, cartoons, and a newsreel all for 25 cents
  33. Watching clouds, rainbows, trees
  34. Going to the 5 & 10 to buy something--maybe a toy, a ball, a coloring book, or a Christmas present for someone else
  35. Picnic at Oak Ridge Lake (with family)
  36. A day at Asbury Park -- we went by bus (with family)
  37. Pulling taffy
  38. Bobbing for apples

I think most of this began to stop when people got TV's and stayed inside a lot. It's too bad. We had fun.


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