Ah the good old days. When kids went out into the world on their bicycles at sunrise and were told “don’t come home until it’s dark.” Some say it was a simpler time. When kids were unleashed upon the world to do pretty much what they wanted with no fear of danger. Alright grandpa, you can stop now.
But seriously though, there’s no way any parent today would let their children get up to these commonplace games, antics and tricks from back in the day. From back flips off the bed, to running odd jobs and errands for complete strangers, we’ve compiled some of the most unbelievable things kids got up to all the time in the 60s and 70s.
Settle down for some serious nostalgic vibes and be prepared to gasp in horror at minimal parental supervision and dangerous childhood games.
1. That Chairlift Has No Rail
Because apparently, it doesn’t really matter if little Timmy falls fifty feet to his death. Perhaps it was a more simple time, prior to the invention of health and safety rules and regulations, but I wonder how many children did fall to their doom from chairlifts and roller coaster rides? Take him to Blackpool, it’s a much shorter drop from a donkey’s back!
2. Killer Slide
Blimey! Look at the steps on that thing. You’d practically need an oxygen tank up there! No more the little kiddy slides where you just run up a bank on one side. These children knew what real fun is. I wonder if they had to ban adults from using the kid’s playground then too?
3. Riding Croggy
Yes! We’ve all got different words for hitching a lift on someone else’s bike. Riding on the rack is a ‘backie’ on the handlebars or crossbar, a ‘croggy’. Personally, I think health and safety is just taking all the fun out of bike rides. The most memorable part of my first week at university was hitching a lift on the back of my friend’s bike whilst our other housemate sat on the front – strange given that we were only going five minutes down the road…
4. Buckle Up! Or, y’know, don’t
I’m not surprised these kids used to ride around in the trunk of the car – look how many of them there are! And, bear in mind, this was the 70s, cars were expensive and didn’t always have seat belts. The police probably took one look at these kids exasperated parent driver and thought ‘nah it’s just a miracle they’re still awake to drive seven kids around all day!’
5. Riding in the Back
At least this kid got a seat. Although, I’m not sure how dangerous it is to ride around facing the traffic behind you, I might have to check that one out. I am pretty sure that this is a fairly standard practice in most parts of South-East Asia though, when you are crammed into the back of a jeepney with twenty-five other people and three on the roof, you come to reconsider your notion of health and safety…
6. Hammer Time!
Wow. Okay, this one is just flipping dangerous (see what I did there, ay?) DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME. What could possibly possess someone to think ‘let’s see what happens if we fling a hammer around whilst jumping up and down?’ Not to mention, trampolines only really became popular in the early 2000s, not the laid-back 80s, so I have to ask: where were your parents?!
7. Stairs Are Fair Game
Come on, this one is just fun! We’ve all tried mattress surfing at some point or another – possibly as students if we had overprotective parents *cough cough*. Hugely popularized by The Princess Diaries, mattress surfing or stair sledding has an illustrious history prior to the early 2000s. Give a child of any generation a box big enough, or better still a suitcase, at the top of the stairs and they are bound to zoom their way to the living room!
8. Dresser Gymnastics
Who didn’t do one back flip on their bed and immediately fancy themselves an Olympic standard gymnast? I’ve never heard of anyone doing them from the dresser onto the bed before though, that is impressive.
9. Turbo-Charged Sledding
This is the best part of growing up somewhere with really cold winters. The ice- and snow-related escapades are the best kind. Although, I’m not so sure about a parent actually attaching their daughter’s sled to a truck though… That’s a moving vehicle mate, show a bit of parental authority!