Mon | Dec 5, 2022

Play it forward: The ring games challenge

Published:Sunday | June 23, 2019 | 12:06 AMKrysta Anderson - Gleaner Writer

Bull in a pen, you can’t get out. There’s a brown girl in the ring. Ring around the rosie. What do all three have in common? They are all fun and exciting ring games.

Whether it’s during recess or as a pastime with friends and family members, this timeless tradition had been entertained for decades by enthusiastic children and those zealous young at heart in the great outdoors.

But with the rise of technology employed as an educational or a recreational tool from as early as toddler stages, the art of playing ring games for leisure is becoming obsolete among the youth.

There are, however, incredible benefits to playing ring games. Here are a few factors to consider:

1. It keeps the culture aliveTablets, phones, laptops and computers are all well and good, but they don’t promote or preserve the customs that are expressed and shared with the knowledge and practice of ring games. This is one of the ways of sharing our history, because most of these ring games have the most thrilling back stories. From one generation to the other, you will find that stories shift, to fit the era, or they remain rooted in their meaning.

2. It encourages healthy, social interaction with children

Ring games are an ideal way to make new friends. It can assist in turning the most introverted child to an extroverted explorer. The child either knows the popular games already and is heartened by the company to participate. Or the child is a newbie, who is motivated by others to join in on the fun. By the end of the encounter, the child is more versed in the songs, dances and even the calculations.

Additionally, it functions as a wonderful bonding technique with parents, siblings, aunts, uncles and cousins. There’s nothing like family time to teach competitiveness and teamwork: two great life skills integral for adulthood.

3. It fosters an alternate approach to learning

If children are able to retain these games and play them by heart with their peers or loved ones, then there’s no doubt that they will apply this drive to other aspects of their lives. After all, this taps into a child’s creative side and brings out a positive outlook on life.

4. It boosts physical growth and development

This is important since children are at that pivotal stage which requires exercise to keep them active, fit and energised. What better way to do that with a disguised workout regime? Also, it’s never too early to release endorphins – the happier the child, the happier their childhood. And ring games can stir the happiest of memories.

So, there’s no stopping the advancement of technology, these are progressive times. But why should we lose our deep-rooted identity as a nation in the process? Here is the proposal going forward: let’s fuse the two practices. Teach your younger family members a ring game of your choosing and inspire them to ‘play it forward’ with their friends. Take a photo or record a video, post it on Instagram and Facebook and caption it #Playingitforward #RingGameChallenge.

In case you want a refresher, here are some ring games that come to mind: Little Miss Nancy, London Bridge, Blue Bird In and Out the Window, The Farmer in the Dell, Hanky Panky, Hands of the 85. Share your best ring game experience with us at l