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What were your favourite childhood toys or games?

August 9, 2013


A year or two back, my younger daughter gave me a present, 'Dear Dad, from you to me' , one of those gift shop gifts which are very well intentionedy, but, alas, time is so short that they can often gather dust and never be completed. I decided a while ago that I wouldn't let this happen, and would aim to complete it for Sophie, Alice and Tom, so whenever they want to, they could find out a bit more about their Dad.

So, I have set up a private blog, to which only family have access, and have been posting to it during our summer 2013 holidays. Many of these postings are personal, and best kept private for the family only, but those which are less private will also be posted on my main blog.


I liked lots of games as a child: indoor games.

A game which sticks in my memory a lot is jacks.

I had lots of jacks as a primary school child, both the coloured ones pictured above, and my favourite, metal, ones.

I can't remember all the games we played with them, but recall I was very dexterous and good at the game. We used to sit on the playground floor playing jacks during break time.


I loved origami too: I will post separately about that, which was a big part of my life until mid to late teens.

John and I had lots of Lego which we played with greatly. There weren't all the different shapes and sizes which now exist, but we had lots of it, and played with it endlessly.

Then, I loved many board games and card games.


As I write this, I can hear the satisfying 'pop' as you pressed and released the central dice popper.




This game was invented in 1970 and became a craze. I am sure that there was a national championship which was reported on the BBC News. I had, and think I still have, several sets: the original version, the box of which is pictured above, and two travel sets. Being a puzzle, the game naturally appealed to me. I will write separately about other crazes of my childhood.

Smess, the Ninny's Game

Actually, I don't remember this being the name of the game, and I think I had a version called 'Take the brain'. I might be wrong, since I certainly remember the pieces being called 'ninny's' 'numbskulls' and 'brain' and the pieces movements being dependent on the square on which they were sited (in the diagram below, you can see the arrows)

I loved this game: a year or so ago, I asked my Uncle Allan if he by chance had this game, because as John and I grew out of things, we typically gave them to Andrew and Antony, and Smess was a game I was sorry I still didn't have.

I have just had an enjoyable time googling 'board games from the 1960s' and '1970s’. There were other games which we played as children, but none which I particularly enjoyed.

Smess and Mastermind were my favourites. Looking back, it was easy to see why.


I will blog separately about Games and Puzzles magazine and another game, Laska, and about Rubik's cube. And about chess…





One Comment
  1. johnbeardy permalink

    I think we were at Chester when I was very upset at “my” lego being locked away for a few days because I refused to let you play with it. You then got your own – in blue and yellow versus my red and white.

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