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Kids play same old playground games, but with a modern twist

There's good news to report from our school playgrounds.  Our tech-obsessed, media-overloaded children still like to skip rope, hand-clap to rhymes and engage in other traditional school yard games, a new study found.Researchers spent two years looking at what kids played during their break times at two schools near London and found that playground games are "alive and well ... they happily co-ex
Hannah Montana, dressed in yellow? Well, at least they're still jumping rope.
Hannah Montana, dressed in yellow? Well, at least they're still jumping rope.Today

There's good news to report from our school playgrounds.  Our tech-obsessed, media-overloaded children still like to skip rope, hand-clap to rhymes and engage in other traditional school yard games, a new study found.

Hannah Montana, dressed in yellow? Well, at least they're still jumping rope.Today

Researchers spent two years looking at what kids played during their break times at two schools near London and found that playground games are "alive and well ... they happily co-exist with media-based play, the two informing each other," the study said.

Now, this finding is fairly obvious if you go onto any school playground during recess. You see kids making human chains in a game of Red Rover or playing kickball, four-square and tag. You hear those familiar ditties like "Catalina Matalina" and "Miss Mary Mack"  (and thankfully there are Internet searches that help us parents remember all the words to those oldies-but-goodies!)

The study does report one interesting twist: While kids sing songs and play games that have been circulating for decades, they might update them with references to present-day pop stars or characters from popular TV shows. (Consider this modernized jump rope rhyme: Hannah Montana, dressed in yellow, went upstairs to kiss a fellow; made a mistake and kissed a snake. How many doctors did it take?)

Pretend play is also still flourishing, the study found, but kids now incorporate modern influences like computer games. Researchers saw kids using tree stumps as magic consoles and waving pretend game weapons like light sabres. This shows that "though computer games are sometimes blamed for a perceived decline in children's outdoor play… imaginative games in the playground can build on them," says lead researcher Andrew Burn.

Do your kids play golden-oldie playground games that you remember from your youth?