This book (Red Rover, Red Rover! By Kunak McGann – Games from an Irish Childhood [That You Can Teach Your Kids]) took me on a trip down memory lane as it provoked fond childhood memories of playing Rounders, Hide and Seek, Jacks and other games with kids in my neighbourhood in Terenure.  Not for us languishing in front of the television or playing computer games (they didn’t even exist) but  winters and summers where we were dispatched to play outside until our mothers beckoned us in for lunch or dinner.

This book is well structured with games categorised under different headings e.g. team games, ball games, turn-taking games etc. There are games for sunny days, rainy days and different occasions. The instructions for each game are clear and unambiguous. The author highlights the best strategy to be utilised in playing the game & also the physical risks involved.

Most of the games are simple, fun & don’t require a lot of resources. Some of these games will already be familiar to students and teachers e.g. Bulldog, What Time is it Mr. Wolf? However, this book offers the opportunity to extend the repertoire of games played in the school yard. Admittedly some games are unsuitable e.g. Nick Nacks ( ringing a neighbour’s doorbell & running away before the door is answered) and carry attendant risks which are highlighted by the author when she mentions the possibility of the Gardaí throwing the book at you if you played this game! For me personally this game strikes a nerve as it is still played today in my neighbourhood much to the consternation of people, especially elderly people who feel vulnerable.

There are a myriad of opportunities to deploy this book in the classroom from a SPHE lesson on the dreaded Nick Nacks game to a history lesson on games played in childhood over the years.

For those of us that are old enough to remember being drenched from  apple bobbing at Halloween, this book reminds us of the fun times we had & prompts us to share our positive childhood memories with both our children and our students. For those who have yet to experience these delights, this book provides you with the opportunity to do so. More importantly, it will encourage children to park the remote control in the holder & engage in some physical activity in the fresh air.

This book is definitely a stocking filler for the teacher or parent in one’s life.

By Sandra Ní Dhubhda and her daughter Sarah. Sandra is currently on career break from teaching.

Disclaimer: The book was provided by the publisher, O’Brien Pressfree of charge to Seomra Ranga for the purposes of this review