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Old-fashioned fun

Classic games never go out of style

Classic games never go out of style

December 19, 2008|BY CRYSTAL SCHELLE

Visitors who stop by the Rushing family's Hagerstown home on the evening of Christmas Day will likely find the family playing a board game.

It's a tradition that Christine Rushing says started with her own parents who would gather her and her siblings around the table for a good game.

Today, her husband, Lynn, plays games as well as her children, Steven Rushing, and daughter Laura Gross and son-in-law David Gross. Happily, Steven's new bride, Daniele, is also a "gamer," as her mother-in-law describes.

And Laura's 16-month-old son, Elijah, will one day take his rightful place at the Rushing game table.

Christine guesses that Elijah might just play the same games she did as a child, the same games she played with his mother and uncle. "We loved to play 'Sorry,' 'Parcheesi' and 'Chutes and Ladders,'" she says. "We also like playing 'Monopoly.'"

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In days of technology, parents and grandparents continue to turn to games and toys that usually didn't need batteries to equal fun. Some of the classic toys on today's shelves date back to the early 1900s. Games such as marbles are even older.

Here are just a few:

Toys

o "Lincoln Logs" -- Yep, they're still real wooden pieces, putting parents who worry about toxins found in foreign plastics at ease. Since being introduced in the early 1900s, Lincoln Logs have continued to be produced, and have allowed kids to make more than just a log cabin.

o "Etch-A-Sketch" -- Put one of these "magic" drawing machines into the hands of small children and he or she are amazed by how the line disappears just by lifting it over their heads. They've been amazing kids ever since they were introduced in the 1960s. Go on, admit it, when the kid's not playing with it, you still like to doodle.

o "Easy Bake Oven" -- What girl didn't dream of being able to whip up her family a small cake from this kid-friendly oven. The technology has changed, but girls and boys who want to be chefs still can do so. Easy Bake has expanded from its cakes-and-brownies beginnings to allow future chefs to bake even more edible treats.

o "Tinkertoys" -- What makes kids love to build things? Tinkertoys, introduced in 1913, still gives kids the tools to erect anything they can imagine. The original ones were made from wood and can still be found today.

o "Mr. Potato Head" -- Originally, Hasbro's toy included eyes, noses, mouths and other face parts to plunk into a potato from the kitchen. Thank goodness they soon included a plastic potato in the box. The great thing about the plastic body is that, no matter where you lost it, it wouldn't rot.

o "Slinky" -- With its catchy commercial tune and the simplicity of being a spring, Slinky became a hit when it was introduced in the 1950s. From metal to plastic, Slinky still fascinates.

Board games

o "Operation" -- This electronic game was a way to help future doctors find a steady hand. Today's version has more sounds -- such as a croaking frog -- than that original buzzing that would always scare you half to death.

o "Scrabble" -- You can teach your child to spell and add with this game. Scrabble continues to expand its styles and materials from the original, pale wooden tiles.

o "Mystery Date" -- As long as there are teen girls who have crushes, this game will live forever. It hasn't really taught girls, or guys for that matter, anything about dating since it was introduced in the 1970s. But it might be fun if your child thinks she'll go out with that cute kid from "High School Musical 3."

o "Candy Land" -- This game, along with Chutes and Ladders, was usually a child's first board game. It combines easy board-game instructions with a candy-fantasy theme. What's not to like?

The Rushings continue to add newer games into their favorites lists, including "Scattergories."

Christine says she loves being able to play the same games she did as a child with her children and hopefully one day her grandchild. "I think it really brought us closer as a family," she says.

As for the competitive aspect of board games, Christine says it's more about being with family and having fun.

"But, of course," she says with a laugh, "you all want to win."

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