Wednesday, March 14, 2007


I learned to play elastics at school. We had two games: infants played "England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, inside, outside, off the rails" and older children played "Frenchies," which had no rhyme but a series of jumps up to ten. Both were played on two parallel elastics, usually made by having a child stand legs-apart at each end of a loop.

One: Straddle the nearest elastic. Do not jump off. This is the only number where you don't jump off afterwards.
Two: Jump in place (one) then straddle the other elastic (two).
Three: Both feet in the middle, both feet on an elastic, both feet outside.

Four: One foot on the nearest one, one foot on the other one, both in the middle, both outside.

Five: First jump onto the nearest elastic so that your right foot is underneath and your left foot is standing on the elastic. Then jump forwards to the other elastic, left foot underneath and right foot standing on the elastic. That's one and two. Jump back (three), forwards (four), and back again (five).

Six: Straddle the near elastic. Jump up and cross your legs and land. Turn without raising your feet. Repeat on the other elastic. This one has a mini-rhyme; it's "hot cross buns."

Seven: Stand with your back to the elastics. Put your right leg back, hooking the near elastic with your ankle so that as you step back it slides up to your knee. Put your right foot behind the other elastic, so one is behind your knee and the other is in front of your ankle. That's one. Now jump and swap legs repeatedly for two 'til seven.

Eight: As for three, it's centre, on top, outside - each jump to the centre is counted. NO pausing allowed.

Nine: As five, start by jumping to the near elastic with right foot under, left foot over. Jump to the far elastic while turning 180 degrees, but you'll be glad to know that you don't also have to swap feet. Always jumping in the same direction, do nine of 'em! Pausing is frowned upon.

Ten: Looks very simple. Straddle the near elastic, then jump 180 degrees to straddle it again. Count ten jumps, either always jumping in the same direction or changing direction after 3, 6, and 9.

We used to play these alone, too, using chairlegs to hold the elastics. And there were degres of difficulty; the elastics moved up from ankles to knees to thighs - even waists for some people - and then started again at ankles on a narrower guage.

If anyone over 12 can do them all, please let me know.

1 comment:

Linz said...

I couldn't do them when I was at school, let alone now. I was never invited to play elastics. Never worked out why!

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