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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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