Game names (and types): 'Letters', 'Spelling Game', 'Countries' (word games), 'Donkey' (ball game), 'Elimination Walk' (elimination game)
Alternative types: number game, play with props/equipment, running game, language play

Handwritten descriptions of language, ball and elimination games composed for Dr Dorothy Howard by Robin Lee Murchison and Robbyn Vickery, students at Clayfield College, in October 1954. Murchison describes 'Letters', a language game she plays with her sibling and neighbours on the weekend. One child stands with their back to the other players and calls out letters. If the name of the other players contains the letter, they take a step forward. The first to reach the caller wins. Murchison discusses 'Spelling Game', a game she enjoys with her family in the evenings. One person calls out a letter with subsequent players adding letters in order to create a word. Players aim to make the word as long as possible. She also describes the ball and number game 'Donkey'. Each player is allocated a number before they start running around. If their number is called out, they receive a ball to throw at the nearest child. Each time a child is hit by the ball, they acquire a letter from the word 'donkey'. If the thrower misses, they accumulate the letters. Vickery describes the language game 'Countries', which involves one child naming a country. The next player must name a country beginning with the last letter of the previous country. She also discusses the elimination game 'Elimination Walk'. To play, Vickery writes that pairs of children march around a room to music. One child remains to the side calling out physical characteristics, such as 'red dress'. If a player features the named attribute, they are eliminated along with their partner.

One of a collection of letters describing a children's games written to children's Folklorist Dorothy Howard between 1954 and 1955. Dr Howard came to Australia in 1954-55 as an American Fulbright scholar to study Australian children's folklore. She travelled across Australia for 10 months collecting children's playground rhymes, games, play artefacts, etc. This letter, together with the other original fieldwork collected by Dr Howard during this period, is preserved in the Dorothy Howard Collection manuscript files, part of the Australian Children's Folklore Collection (ACFC), Archive Series 3. The ACFC is an extensive collection documenting children's folklore and related research.

Physical Description

Handwritten game descriptions in blue ink on paper. Features text by two different hands; text printed on both sides of page.

More Information