Showing posts with label games and play. Show all posts
Showing posts with label games and play. Show all posts

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

What was your favourite childhood game?

ICH has a new project, and it's all about fun!

Not quite two weeks ago, Dale was kind enough to bring me on board as coordinator for Hoist your Sails and Run, a project linking up senior citizens with young people to get them talking about play and games in Newfoundland and Labrador. 

The young people in question are on loan to us from Dr. Jillian Gould and the Department of Folklore at MUN, and we'll introduce them to the folks who volunteer to have a yarn about the fun they had as youngsters. We have some help recruiting volunteers from MacMorran Community Centre, who are also offering us space to meet, eat and chat. We'll get together a few times in February to talk and share a meal, and then the students will put together a booklet about traditional games using the stories, photos and quotes that they collect from their interviews.

If you, dear reader, have some stories about your favourite childhood pastimes that you'd like to share, please consider filling out this questionnaire about play and games!

Watch this space for updates on the project, send me an email if you have any questions or want to get involved, and keep an eye on the horizon for the latest Heritage Foundation publication, coming out in March 2015!


Sharon King-Campbell
Project Co-ordinator, Hoist Your Sails and Run Project

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Playing games, putting up ice, and a trip to Paris

In this edition of the Intangible Cultural Heritage Update for Newfoundland and Labrador: the ICH office heads to Paris for UNESCO meetings; more from our Petty Harbour oral history project with memories from twins Gussie and Jimmy Kieley; Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador board member Doug Wells shares memories of cutting ice in Harbour Breton; the fall 2014 overview of ICH activities; introducing our "Hoist Your Sails And Run" project bringing together youth and seniors to talk about games; and the schedule for the 2014 Mummers Festival.

Contributions by: Dale Jarvis, Terra Barrett, Doug Wells, and Sharon King-Campbell.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Tiddly On The Lawn - This Sunday at The Rooms


Tiddly, also known as piddly, pippy, snig, or puss, was once a very popular game that was played all over Newfoundland and Labrador. While the rules changed from community to community, the game pieces were usually the same – two rocks or bricks and two sticks. Come and join us on the lawn of The Rooms for a fun-filled day of Tiddly and other traditional games.

We're bringing in the experts! Participants from Carbonear's World Cup of Tiddly will be in St. John's to show the Townies how it is done! Come watch, and learn how to play yourself.

The event will be happening from 1pm to 4pm on Sunday September 28.

1pm – 2pm Various races (sack races, egg and spoon races, three legged race)

2pm – 2:45pm Tiddly demonstration game

3pm – 3:40pm Visitors can try the game, various races

For more information, contact:

Jena Mitchell
Marketing Manager
Phone: 709-757-8144


Dale Jarvis
Heritage Foundation of NL
709-739-1892 x2

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Burf Ploughman, the Barrel Bucker

Yesterday I was fortunate enough to visit with a wonderful 83-old-man named Burford Ploughman. Knowing of my penchant for oral history, Burf invited me over to record his reflections on the some of the games and antics he and the boys would get up to in the Bay Roberts area in the 1930s and 40s. Originally from Coley's Point, Burford has a sharp memory, and can recall exactly what it was like to grow up in that area. From the early memories of his father keeping animals, to later times of living on Cable Avenue, Burford provided a detailed description of his youth.  In his stories, he really emphasized the fact that the local boys were real pranksters, and luckily, the community was very tolerant of them. One particular activity that they got up to was, on the days approaching Bonfire Night, they would go out and "buck barrels." Bucking* barrels, I soon found out, is the act of taking (stealing) barrels from different families around town, to be used as wood for the bonfire. Burford explained (with help from the Dictionary of Newfoundland English) that bucking isn't like borrowing, as the object will never be returned to the owner, but it wasn't exactly stealing either. 

*Buck v To purloin; to collect or gather surreptitiously. He bucked a barrel last night for the bonfire on November 5th.  Click here to visit the Dictionary of Newfoundland English.

Like often the case during oral history interviews, childhood recollections were just the tip of the iceberg. Eventually we went on to discuss the fact that Burf ended up leading a most interesting adult life too. Without any specific ambition to do so, but because of his love for debating local issues, Burf became a talk-show host for a television show called Analysis. During the five years that he was on this show, Burf had the opportunity to discuss major issues with people such as Joey Smallwood--the most important political figure of that era. These interviews led him towards a deeper understanding of the political themes that were resonating throughout the province. His interest in achieving what he considers the best possible life for the people of Newfoundland continued throughout his career, and continues today. In fact, Burford was recently interviewed for Atlantic Business magazine (Mar/Apr 2014 issue) because of a specific vision he has for creating a transportation tunnel between Labrador and the Island. Like a true debater, he presents his arguments using clarity and logic.

Burf Ploughman in his home, April 2014.
What I enjoyed most about this oral history interview is the sense that Burf still marvels at what a grand life he has had. The wonder and joy could easily be read in his face throughout my stay. Our visit was recorded and will eventually be submitted to the Digital Archives Initiative so that it will be publicly accessible. I plan to visit for a second time, to go into more detail about the games that children would play back then, and see if Burf can recall for me some the rules and different ways of playing. It is guaranteed to be an interesting follow up interview.

Did you ever watch the show Analysis? Did you ever buck barrels from your neighbours? I'd love to hear your memories:


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The Games We Played - A Coffee and Culture Presentation

Thursday, February 27, 2:30 pm., The Rooms Provincial Museum

Hoist Your Sails and Run, Spotlight and kite flying are just a few ways that children traditionally entertained themselves in outport Newfoundland. Join folkorist Lisa Wilson as she explores these and other types of childhood play that have an important place in our living memories.

This is a multi-media presentation, but there will be a chance at the end to share some of your own memories and experiences around childhood games and experiences. Hope to see you there!

Children of Cable Ave., Bay Roberts, courtesy of Linda Sesk.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Grey Socks, Pidley Stick, and Traditional Food

In this edition of the Intangible Cultural Heritage Update for Newfoundland and Labrador: we introduce the Grey Sock Project, linking the commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the First World War with traditional knitting skills; the Food Security Network on their "All Around The Table" seniors' oral history project; and researching tiddly, hoist your sails and run, and other children's games and pastimes.

Download the newsletter in PDF and other formats

Photo: The Williams children in front of their family home on Cable Avenue, Bay Roberts, undated photo.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Calling all Conception Bay girls! Do you know a tradition about dolls and candy?

I got an interesting message today from textile artist Susan Furneaux, an instructor at the Anna Templeton Centre for Craft Art and Design. She has taught textile workshops for various professional craft and art organizations throughout Newfoundland Labrador, Canada and the United States. Today, she wanted to talk dolls.

Susan is looking for information on a tradition in Conception Bay Centre, and possibly other places, where girls went around with their dolls, all dressed up,  and knocked on doors, asking for candy. 

Susan believes it may have been attached to a saint's day. She writes,
"Someone from Avondale told me that they did it as girls, like the boys did with the wren. The woman who told me was still bitter because the boys got money (for the wren) but the girls just got sweets... Not sure what time of the year it was."
Does anyone have any idea what this is called, or have any memories about this tradition? 

If it rings a bell, leave a comment, or email Susan directly at

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Tuesday's Folklore Photo: A Game of Pitch and Toss

Courtesy of: The Rooms Provincial Archives Corporation of Newfoundland and Labrador
 A 7-12. "Pitch and Toss": Children playing pitch and toss, Grey River. There is a description of the game in the Dictionary of Newfoundland English: "You stand away so far, an' you pitch your button. The handiest to the peg, after so many pitches [would win]. C 70-15 The object of the game was to pitch a button from the hole [where you stood] so that the button touched the 'nag' (or stick). C 71-22 Make a mot in the ground with your heel. Stand at a distance from the hole and pitch the buttons."
Photographer: Holloway Studio [1913]
Games and play allow children to develop important social skills and negotiate their world through competition, role-playing, and power hierarchies. Children's games/play evolve over time and reflect how communities respond to social and economic changes. The introduction of electricity, telephones, movies, television, radio and internet has had a strong influence on the game and play repertoire of children. As these technologies grew in popularity, children spent less time outdoors playing traditional games such as Rounders, Hoist your Sails and Run, Pitch and Toss, Duck on the Rock and Bandy Ball. Subsequently, the rules of many of these games have been nearly lost. We would like to document these games and play before that happens. 

In the new year the Intangible Cultural Heritage Office hopes to collect memories from tradition bearers across the province. Our goal is to explore the folklore of children's games/play through contextual information, such as rules of play, gender and age requirements, type of equipment used and when and where each game was played.

If you have memories of playing these games or know a tradition bearer who does, please feel free to get in touch with the Intangible Cultural Heritage Office, we'd love to hear from you! 

For more on traditional games and play in Newfoundland and Labrador check out our collection on MUN's Digital Archive.