23 May 2022

Back in the olden days...

Me & you... Jennifer Griffiths

Back in the olden days...

I was chatting with my mum this week (on the phone as she’s in the vulnerable group) about the impact the coronavirus is having on the way we live and what we do.

My mum suggested, about the food situation, it was a bit like after the war when people had to plan ahead what meals they would make and buy accordingly.

Good idea I thought, as we all tend to grab ready meals rather than make proper home cooked food which IS always nicer and more healthy.

She said people tended not to waste food as much as we do today.

It is shocking how much we throw away, so in planning our meals more carefully we waste less which in turn saves money, another good point.

She told me she was smiling as she remembered ‘meals and puddings from left overs’ such as home made soup, bubble and squeak, meatloaf, bread and butter pudding to use up the stale bread or ‘pot pie’ using the meat left over from yesterday and all the bits of veg left in the fridge.

Mum also said more time was spent actually learning how to cook - cook everything, not just heating beans in a microwave or a boiling an egg but proper gravy with stock and cornflour.

So wondering what to do with your children this week. … there’s your answer.

Mum also said that meal times were much more family times, when everyone would come together, sit together and talk, sounds great to me.

We are all so busy now that I wonder, when did you last sit at the table together and talk - so another good point.

What about home grown food too - we used to eat a lot of this but as life has got busier this skill seems to have faded away, is this the perfect time to order seeds or shoots to plant and grow potatoes, peas, beetroot, onions, peppers or tomatoes?

I remember my mum teaching me the games she used to play, so why not teach your children too - great excuse to turn the TV or computer off and play.

What about Pick Up Sticks, Cat’s Cradle, Marbles, Jacks, Dominos and Cascading Dominos, or card games such as Chase The Ace, Cheat or the Matching Memory Game or even building with the cards.

For outside, what about Hop Scotch, skipping rhymes and games with a skipping rope or two tennis balls against a wall - A Sailor Went To See See See, To See What He Could See, See See .. the song went on and you had to do the actions whilst still throwing and catching the two balls.

Or another, sing “Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, next door neighbour carry on” and your friend would move in catching and throwing the balls without breaking the rhythm.

Or try clapping games together like Say Say My Playmate.

Or making obstacle courses or dens - children of any age love dens especially if they can have lunch in there too.
And do you remember making perfume from flower petals or paper mache?

Or on wet days what about learning to knit, or do knitting dolly, sew, crochet or even try tongue twisters, Betty Botter bought some butter but she said this butters bitter, if I put it in my batter it will make my batter bitter, so she bought a bit of butter better than the bitter butter and she put it in her batter and her batter was not bitter, so twas better Betty Botter bought a bit of better butter (had to use an old fashioned one!).

Don’t forget the board games too like Cludo or Mouse Trap, Ludo or Snakes And Ladders - maybe you could make the boards yourselves too!

In the olden days we used to write to each other too - not email, text, Facebook, Snapchat or Instagram!

So why not encourage, or help, your child to discover the enjoyment of writing and receiving letters?

They could write about the fun you’ve been having whilst you are off (see above activities!) and maybe include a picture they’ve done, then pop it in the post to their friends, grandparents or other family members (but do ask the receiver to please write back NOT phone to say they go the letter!)

We used to get pocket money for ‘jobs’ we did too - not just pocket money for the sake of it!

Maybe your children could earn pocket money (to save and spend when we can go back to the shops!) by washing the car, fence painting or weeding (not the vegetables you planted earlier though).

So the ‘olden days’ sound like they had a lot to offer, they’ve also got your history too, why not investigate and create a family tree or look up what used to be in your area - what did it look like a 100 years ago, what did schools and homes look like and transport too, what did people do for fun, apart from the above of course.

In doing and enjoying all these ‘olden day’ activities maybe you’ll inspire your child with a love of history, a love of finding out, a love of baking, cooking, gardening and maybe, most importantly of all, a love of being in a family where people talk and play and enjoying being together.

P.S. in the olden days many people would have just put baby in a pram in the garden - don’t do this.

And young toddlers and young children were cared for and played with by older children and teenagers - do do this and have some peace!

Have a safe and healthy week everyone x.

Written by, on Facebook, Me & You @meandyoubyjenni to support the Greater Shantallow Talking To Our Babies, Greater Shantallow Area Partnership. Tel; 028 71358787 / Facebook; Talking To Our Babies /

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