In a simpler time, all a child or an adult needed to enjoy the outdoors was a ball and a stick. Or maybe an old tire tied to a high branch to fashion a swing. And the only instruction given to children was to be home before dark.
Now there are iPads and computers and television screens and shrinking safe public spaces. But despite the distractions and limitations of space, these images show that the charm of kicking a ball or skipping rope endures.
Sometimes with modifications as a nod to changing times.
Little girls in towns and villages in South Africa still play Diketo — skipping and scooping a handful of pebbles inside a circle marked on the ground. Once it was a game young girls played by the river as they fetched water, but now even little girls in Johannesburg can be spotted tossing tiny pebbles.
Through the holy Muslim month of Ramadan, Iraqi Kurdish men still played the traditional game of Klawane — with one image showing them hunting for a ring hidden underneath a collection of hats. The game is played after Iftar, the evening meal that ends the day’s fasting.
Some sports were lost for a while but are fashionable once again, such as in Spain, where little children are spinning tops again.
For every game lost there are new ones, some inspired by video and online games. In Beijing, groups of young people, armed with water guns, are dividing into teams of aliens, zombies and humans.
And yet the charm of the simple things continues to endure.
From Cape Town in South Africa to Tbilisi, Georgia, children still play the games that entertained their parents: hide-and-seek, chasing a used tire down a side street or careening down the road in a little go-kart fashioned out of wooden and plastic containers.
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