Ja’s Weird Childhood Games

1.) Cops and Robbers: The Interactive Version (Also known as Cops, Robbers, and children)

Time of Ja’s life: Grade three

Location: school near the Fire Tree and Macopa Tree

Special Trivia: As far as I remember, I invented the game

Disclaimer: This is not the Cops and Robbers game where you wink at each other. Involves lots of running.

How to play:

Designate areas for the robbers, cops, and the children. (The Macopa tree area became the robbers’ hideout. The slab of cement in the Fire Tree area served as the cop’s headquarters and the jail for the robbers. The bushes near the fire tree were the houses of the children.)

The players will decide whether they want to be cops, robbers, or children. They won’t tell the group what they’ve decided. Instead they will go to the areas of their chosen role. Players will be given a few minutes to look at their group mates and try to memorize their faces.

Players will only know their fellow group mates, but they will not know what the other players have picked. For example, if I picked the children group, I will get to know my fellow children, but I will not know if the other players chose to be cops or robbers. I have to rely on my intuition (ie. this classmate is a naughty kid, she will not choose the cops group, so I will not trust her, and I will run away from her).

Players can trick other players. If the police catches the robber, the robber can say “Don’t bring me to jail, I’m a child.” The police will let the robber go, and the robber has to admit “Actually I’m a robber,” and the robber will run away from the police.

As the game progresses, the players will figure out what role the other players have chosen. A cop can say to another cop “Don’t believe that girl, I saw her trying to kidnap a child.” Or a child can warn another child “She’s not a cop, she tried to kidnap me,” or report the robber to the police.

The goal of the robbers is to kidnap all the children. The cops have to jail all the robbers. The children have to gather sticks, fire tree flowers (but we don’t go too near the tree because we are afraid of the Kapre that lives there), and golden leaves (those leaves really looked like gold to us).

The children will trade the things they’ve collected. The flowers have the highest value, then the sticks, then the leaves. The children also have to run away from the robbers.

The cops cannot go to the robber’s hideout. The children are safe from kidnapping if they’re in the bushes. If a robber gets jailed, another robber who is outside the jail can free her by tapping her hand.

The game ends when all the children are kidnapped or all the robbers are jailed.

2.) Bees, Dragonflies, People

Time of Ja’s life: Kinder to grade two

Location: school’s basketball court and other open areas

Special Trivia: As far as I remember, I invented the game

How to play:

Players decide if they want to be dragonflies, bees, or people. Each group has a base, and everyone’s safe if they are touching the base. Everyone knows everyone’s chosen role.

People run after the dragonflies, but must run away from bees. The dragonflies must run away from the people, but can defeat the bees. The bees can sting the people, but must run away from the dragonflies. The group that captures all its enemies will win the game.

3.) Wow Mali

Time of Ja’s life: Kinder to grade two

Location: school corridors

How to play:

There was a popular show called “Wow Mali” where they would do pranks on people. Lara, Raisa, and I decided to do our own Wow Mali pranks. I would cover my face and pretend to cry in the school’s corridor and wait for a teacher to approach me and ask me what’s wrong. Then I would uncover my face and go “Wow Mali!”

4.) Playing Church

Time of Ja’s life: unknown

Location: Our house in the province

How to play:

My cousins and I would often play mass. We would steal the cross that hung in our living room (our parents would scold us if they notice that the cross is missing), get some water and put it in a bottle (for the “holy water”), get some palaspas (palm leaves substitute) from the nearby plants, and get some haw flakes (the host for the mass).

I would play the priest and my cousins would be the churchgoers. My cousins would arrange themselves as though they were sitting in pews.

I would walk down the aisle carrying the cross and sprinkling my cousins with “holy water.” My cousins would be holding their palm leaves waving them up and down. When I reached the “altar,” they lined up, and I would say “the body of Christ”, and they would say “Amen”, and I’d give them haw flakes.

We didn’t do this in an irreverent way. We just thought it was fun because the haw flakes looked like the hosts for the mass. When I got older, I realized that this was really weird up until I watched Oprah, and she said she used to play mass too. Cool!

Click for more Weird Kid Stories.

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