Friday, July 17, 2015

Flashback Friday: What games did Ann Arbor children play in 1939? [With Poll]

Providing summer activities for children has been a priority for the Ann Arbor Public Schools and the City of Ann Arbor since the early 1900's. By 1939, the Ann Arbor Recreation Commission had been running a popular neighborhood playground program for many years. AAPS personnel provided the programming at 15 city parks. This was the beginning of a beautiful city-school partnership that continues to this day. 

So what types of organized games were offered in Ann Arbor parks way back in 1939? The short answer is a huge variety of games and activities. Which of the following wasn't offered? The answers may surprise you! (Answers are posted at the bottom.)

Then as now, music was an important part of youth enrichment. 

Question 1: The answer is C, Capture the Flag. Even though Capture the Flag is one of America's oldest games, it wasn't mentioned in the long list of structured 1939 playground activities. The list of summer park activities did include all of the other answers, plus softball, basketball, bean bags, kite flying contests, dramatics, handicrafts, and many others. 

Question 2: The answer is B, Ukelele. Playground music also include harmonicas and toy bands. 

The historic document that this information is based on (a memo to Mayor Walter C. Sadler dated April 10, 1939) will be a source for future trivia questions and blog posts. We're even talking about having a Rec & Ed "throw back" family event where adults and youth can try out some of the games that are now just memories.  

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