Peevers, peeverels, pabats, piko, bebeleche, kith-kith, laylay, potsy, pon, delech, avioncito, scotch hobbies, hop-score! Peregrina, rayuela, bebeleche, amarelinha, rrasavi, thikrya, marelle ronde, himmel und hölle, hopscotch! When a game dates back to the 17th century, and possibly to the Romans, it usually passed through cultures and played around the world, with variations in name and technique accordingly. Here’s an illustrated guide to hopscotch, one of those good old fashioned games that hasn’t wavered in popularity these four hundred years. Unlike jacks and marbles, there’s no need for revival, no generation missed – long live scotch hobbies!


First, toss the pebble into a square, not touching any scotches or scores.


Then hop, not touching a line, nor falling out, or forfeit.


Land on a pair with one foot neatly inside each square.


Leap over the square with the stone.


Hop. If one has no chalk and paving, a stick in the dirt will do. I admire a game with great simplicity of materials.


Turn at the end. Some variants have a safe square there, or a semicircle, for turning.


Pick up the marker, don’t lose your balance! And hop through. We shall have to try the variant which requires you to kick the marker along with you.


Sometimes we draw the spiral variation as in the French marelle ronde or escargot.


Grace, balance, aim.

We write numerals in, in contemporary fashion, but a square is all that’s needed.


There’s a good simple game. Did you grow up playing this one?

painting the 1940’s beds

Having left our children’s beds behind in England, I was very pleased to stumble on a pair of twin 1940’s beds for sale not far from the lake. They were in pieces, but they showed great character and possibility, and even bore a plate stating that they were English themselves, by appointment to the King. Well then!


Such a charming shape. I confess to desaturating this picture, you didn’t want to see orange wood either, I’m sure. In summer weather I chalk painted them.

painting the 1940s beds

I sanded them a bit.

painted headboards

I gave them a coat of beeswax polish, and buffed them a little.

painted headboards

The children slept through the summer on the box spring and mattresses, stacked in their room. They slept through the autumn on the box spring and mattresses, stacked in their room.

Then I had a moment to assemble the beds, and here I got a bit of a surprise. More about this surprise, and to see the finished pieces, here.

paper dolls

Simple, pleasing pastimes seem never to lose their charm. On a rainy day, my children teased their aunt to cut them paper dolls, then thoroughly enjoyed drawing on them. Aren’t they just? Soon they were cutting their own, all of them friendly round the table. Is there anything else required for an hour of happiness? Oh, tea? I made the tea.

paper dolls

If you missed a long line of paper-cutting traditions, you can pick it up now, particularly if there’s a small person in your life to convert to this little joy. Get scissors, paper, fold it into an accordion fold, just as you would a paper fan, back and forth. When you cut a figure, leave something touching either side, right to the edge, without slicing right through the fold in that spot. Hands are classic. The skirts on these dolls lend extra stability where they join. I experimented with puppy dogs, noses and tails connected. Then, the unfolding bit! Anticipation! Surprise!

Paper cutting of any sort is satisfyingly old fashioned in the most tactile, inventive sort of way. I like to think of adding these sorts of actions back into a life full of digital beeps and hums, until it is a life quite full and well balanced. Do you like traditional toys and games? I do – read some more about them here on appleturnover.


Playing with flight has been a human obsession for thousands of years. Around here, as in history, an adoration for good old fashioned kite-flying developed into a fascination with aviation. Our small girl has been experimenting with a light wooden aeroplane, taking off the twisting rubber bands that spin the propeller, and using it as a glider. Endless fun! My sweetheart made this little short for her, and I’ve borrowed it for you.

Occasionally our flying games require a ladder. But isn’t it pleasing?

toy wooden aeroplane

I’ve fished the tail out of the currant bush and rescued the propeller from the camellia, yet the tendency of this flying machine to come to pieces is also its strength. On meeting with a wall, it simply deconstructs instead of cracking, and we easily reassemble for the next flight.



p>A bit of glue will fix the wood, so it is quite trusty, and thoroughly beloved. No doubt there have been toy aeroplanes for nearly as long as the real thing, and probably one informed the other. After all, so much of learning is play. I’m waiting to hear requests to go up in a hot air balloon, next.

chalkboard routines

All kinds of trouble, I have found, is averted by following simple routines. My habit, if I have one, is to regard the new day with fresh eyes, as if I’ve never seen a morning before, and no recollection of what to put in it beyond the next inspiration. This tends to fall apart, particularly as the children need as much reminding of their morning rituals as I do. To avert certain chaos, I write our routines down. Where I write them has been evolving.


To really devote ourselves to a routine, we needed a good home for it, and a simple system. Little slates, double-sided and petite, are our latest and greatest solution. Each child has a chalkboard. On one side is written their morning routine, on the reverse, their evening routine, with space left to check things off. Checking off a list is such satisfying action, isn’t it? The energy of completion. Following the natural order of our days is helpful, as is keeping the list brief enough to complete with ease. Effortless to alter and refine, nothing to print; easy. Best to keep a bit of chalk around, it does get misplaced. I simply ask if they’ve done their evening routine, instead of chasing each detail. I’m still surprised to find beds made, hair combed, dishes put away! And less stress, thank you. Now I’d like chalkboard routines for myself!