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We Made Fun From Junk

Updated on March 24, 2012


We made our own fun growing up on the farm. Taking simple things (sometimes junk) and using them in a novel way stretched our imaginations and sometimes gave us great outdoor exercise. No fancy push toys, no jogging track needed. Let me explain the fun times we had with old fence slats and barrel rings that we called “hoops”.

The slats came from a broken piece of fencing that Daddy had let us play with because they were too short for his use but they came up to about hip high on an eight year old. A cross slat about 10” long was nailed on the bottom. The rings were the metal hoops that had circled an old barrel.

Barrel of Fun

Barrel Rings
Barrel Rings

The ring would balance against the edge of the cross slat and would roll along on the gravel driveway. Daddy told us that he used to play hoop when he was a little boy and showed us how to push the hoop with the fence slat, and away we went.

Now you may thinking how boring that could be after the first few minutes. You would be wrong. That’s where imagination and a little competitive spirit came into the play on the farm. Sometimes it was all about competition and other times it was about cooperation. If we got bored with our game we just made up different rules.

Race down the driveway to see who gets to the maple tree first. Race to the designated spot and back without the hoop falling over. Extra points if you could go all the way to the milk house. Pass the hoop back and forth to each other and see how many passes we can do without the hoop falling over. Set up obstacle courses to see if the hoop can go under, over, or through such things as old tires, wood planks, mud puddles, rocks, hay bales, etc. Yep, we wore out those broken fence slats that summer. 

Tin Can Fun

Kick the Can

Having our own garden and doing a great deal of canning and freezing, and having a mother who collected aluminum for the war effort during WWII, we rarely had any tin cans around. Yet, occasionally, there were a couple of cans that Mom would let my sister and I have to play with. We did play Kick the Can with the neighbors. A can was placed in the center of the yard. The person who was "It" had to tag everyone else without letting them kick the can.

We also used the cans as targets, setting them on top of a fence post, and shooting at them with little stones slung from homemade slingshots. We couldn't use big stones (less we harm man or beast). We usually used dry, broken corn cobs (without the kernels) as our ammunition. The sling shots were made with old tire rubber tied onto strong sticks. We would aim at the tin cans on the fence around the barnyard. I don't remember who was entertained most -- my sister and I, or the cows!

Or we would line the cans up and try to throw the corncobs so they landed in the can. My sister and I also tried the famous string and can telephone.

Then, of course, we spent hours on one of the best pieces of junk - an

Old Tire Swing

Did you grow up with an old tire swing hanging from a tree in the yard?

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Real "Bean" Bags

My sister and I made a game of tossing homemade bean bags into buckets or pails. We'd take a misfit sock or a too small pair of gloves and fill them with some soybeans (snuck out of the bin in the barn) and tie them securely with string or binder twine. Binder twine is what we call the string that holds straw or hay bales together. We'd line up the buckets and see who had the farhest toss of the day or the most in a row. My sister had the best aim -- probably why she became a good softball pitcher in high school.

Glove Bean Bag

Homemade Bean Bag
Homemade Bean Bag


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    • farmloft profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Michigan

      EuroCafeAuLait, I agree with the creativity from an early age -- technology and society may be taking some of that thinking away from us if we're not careful to maintain the right balance! On the other hand, they give us Hubpages :)

    • EuroCafeAuLait profile image

      Anastasia Kingsley 

      8 years ago from Croatia, Europe

      We live on an island, and my daughter really loves to make objects from sea shells. Painting them, decorating them, mounting them on top of one another to make something else - no end to the fun! I think it's good for kids to be creative from an early age. We must beware of our society's tendency to become "machines", so it seems to me. Looking forward to more hubs from you!

    • farmloft profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Michigan

      I will be checking you out later. Just found a baby racoon to "save". Never a dull moment :)

    • Teresa Coppens profile image

      Teresa Coppens 

      8 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      We also live on a farm. There is never a shortage of fun, creative things to do! Great hub and belated welcome to hub pages!

    • farmloft profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Michigan

      I know what you're talking about - I used a clothespin to hold the cards on!

    • farmloft profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Michigan

      Thanks for your support!

    • profile image

      Kieran Gracie 

      8 years ago

      Your Hub stirred some great memories. Thank you and well done getting your HubNugget nomination.

      Among many other make-do 'toys' I was especially proud of my motorbike modification to my (human-powered) bike when I was about 10. By folding a piece of card and tying it to one of the front forks I could get it to rattle against the wheel wires and make a good imitation of a racing bike at speed (there was a famous local road race for motorbikes at the time). There were a few teething problems that somehow never got sorted out properly, such as the card wearing out within the first 5 yards, or the card simply falling off! But I kept trying ...

      Simple games for simpler times.

    • EuroCafeAuLait profile image

      Anastasia Kingsley 

      8 years ago from Croatia, Europe

      Thanks for writing this, I enjoyed it very much. Voted up, beautiful and shared. Congratulations on your Hub Nugget nomination, too.

    • farmloft profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Michigan

      Thanks, LauraGT, I hope you one day have an astronaut in your family!

    • LauraGT profile image


      8 years ago from MA

      What a great hub. Even with a household filled with toys, my kids still mostly gravitate to the "homemade" ones - old cardboard box spaceships are our favorite! Thanks for sharing!

    • farmloft profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Michigan

      Thanks so much!

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      8 years ago from Sunny Florida

      I remember playing many of the games you mentioned. Interesting hub. Voted up.

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 

      8 years ago from Northeast of Dallas, Texas

      Great memories of tire swings and tin can telephones and the good old days when imagination and ingenuity could provide fun.

    • farmloft profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Michigan

      Summer camp for preschoolers -- you brave soul!

      Thanks for the vote.

    • farmloft profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Michigan

      Nice to meet you. I will add some more ideas!

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 

      8 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      The tin can telephone still makes me smile up to this day. You know what? You reminded me to use this in our summer camp for preschoolers. Thanks so much! :)

      Also, let me congratulate you on your Hubnuggets nomination! Head this way to read and vote

    • joanveronica profile image

      Joan Veronica Robertson 

      8 years ago from Concepcion, Chile

      I liked this Hub! And congratulations on your HubNuggets nomination! Voted up and across. I live in Chile, actually I was born here, and these activities are quite common, not only on farms but also in urban areas. I just wish you had written a longer article. There are so many more ideas you could add, like some reflections on the way values change over time. Maybe you could come back and edit your Hub, adding more related ideas? You have my vote anyway (for HubNuggets).

    • farmloft profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Michigan

      Simpler is still around, if parents/kids aren't too busy to see it. Thanks for the welcome!

    • farmloft profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Michigan

      We had a barrel that we couldn't get inside of, but we tried walking on it as it rolled around. Mom didn't take a liking to that though. Glad you enjoyed the hub.

    • LuisEGonzalez profile image

      Luis E Gonzalez 

      8 years ago from Miami, Florida

      Welcome to HubPages. This hub brings back memories. Entertainment was so much simpler back them.

    • moonlake profile image


      8 years ago from America

      We once had an old barrel we rolled around the yard in. I remeber how pretty it was inside. The knot holes would shine red from inside the barrel. People would walk by and never knew we were in the barrels. Hide and Seek was our favorite night time game.

      Good hub enjoyed reading it.


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