Reviving the game of Elastic

These winter holidays I introduced my two boys and niece to Elastic. And enjoy it they did! They’ve decided that their friends need to learn this “cool” game so they each have their own elastic ropes to use with their respective classmates and friends.

Enjoying Elastic

Way back in the late 1970s and early 1980s most of our short-break time and lunch time at primary school was spent playing Elastic. As soon as the break bell rang, the playground would be filled with small groups vying for enough space for a comfortable game. One needed to be barefoot so that the shoe laces or buckles did not get entangled with the elastic rope. So apart from the groups of girls (girls because it was an all-girls school) one would see groups of shoes too.

Elastic needs three people to play. Two people hold the elastic with their legs (and as the game progresses, with their bodies!) and the third one does the jumping.

After school we would carry our Elastic home and continue playing there. In the absence of company, two chairs were good enough for one to practice alone!

We used to play five levels, starting at the ankles and progressing upwards to the shin, knee, mid-way between knee and waist, and waist. We usually would not go further because the person jumping would be too embarrassed at the school uniform (pinafore or skirt) getting lifted too high.

Playing the game

Every level generally has five steps. To start, two people stand with the elastic rope at their ankles. The third person is the jumper.

Step 1: Jump with your feet together, from one side over the rope of elastic that is closer to you, into the centre and then over the second rope to the opposite side. Turn to face the elastic again.

Step 2: From the side where you finished Step 1, jump on to the rope that is closer to you. Then jump on to the next rope and then jump off to the side. Turn to face the elastic again.

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Step 3: From the side where you finished Step 2, carry the rope of elastic that is closer to you on your feet and jump over the second rope. Then jump off to the side. Turn to face the elastic again.

Step 3

Step 4: 1 From the side where you finished Step 3, jump over the rope of elastic that is closer to you, into the centre. Turn to face one of your friends holding the elastic rope. 2 Jump parting your feet so that one foot lands on each elastic rope. 3 Turn your feet with a jump. 4 Jump off to the side. Turn to face the elastic again.

Step 4

Step 5: 1 From the side where you finished Step 4, carry the rope of elastic that is closer to you on your feet and jump over the second rope (as in Step 3). Then turn to face one of your friends holding the elastic rope. 2 Jump parting your feet to form a diamond with the elastic. 3 Jump in the air and on landing, your feet should be on the elastic. 4 Jump off the elastic and turn your feet. 5 Jump off to the side.

Step 5

If you stumble at any of the levels, your turn ends and you need to give way to one of those holding the elastic rope. After finishing the ankle level, the elastic is moved upwards, to the shin and the 5 steps are repeated. Then to the knee, and so on. You can modify the steps or add new steps to make the game more interesting for yourself and your friends.

Regular play of Elastic is sure to keep the children bubbly and energetic. It’s good exercise even for adults!

I’m now looking forward to seeing playgrounds stringed with elastic in addition to cricket bats and balls.

8 thoughts on “Reviving the game of Elastic

  1. Brig A.N. Suryanarayanan January 12, 2013 / 10:04 am

    Hi Arathi, Didn’t know you are such a prolific blogger.
    Went through all your recent blogs as listed.
    You write very well.more power to your pen (or is it, the typing fingers!)
    Brigadier Surya

    Like

  2. arathimy January 12, 2013 / 12:09 pm

    Thank you Brigadier!

    Like

  3. marcusalbertson May 22, 2017 / 6:22 am

    Could you fill this game and post onYouTube please? My wife says you have the best description but we can’t find a good video to show the kids 🙂

    Thanks!

    Like

  4. Krutika June 11, 2017 / 8:05 pm

    Just what I was looking for

    Like

  5. Dr. Swati March 27, 2018 / 2:49 pm

    Awesome…..my favorite childhood game.wanted to teach my daughter as most children of today’s generation are unaware of these simple games. Really good description….could add video also.My daughter is excited to learn our childhood games.Post some more games of 80’s.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. ISHRATH FATHIMA June 20, 2019 / 2:03 pm

    This was favorite childhood game. I want to teach my daughter this game now.The description is really wonderful.If you don’t mind could you please post the video as that would be very helpful for the kids to understand.

    Like

  7. Erica McClintock April 7, 2020 / 5:33 pm

    Hi. This is great but do you have any recommended songs to go with it? Apparently this is a unique way of doing and all I can find is the England,Ireland,Scotland,Wales song which does not match.

    Like

  8. Arathi Manay April 7, 2020 / 5:52 pm

    Hi Erica, In the days gone by we didn’t play the elastic game with songs or rhymes, but I have seen some recent videos like that. Heard this rhyme for one of the moves – jingle jangle, silver bangle. inside outside inside on. The words would depend on the moves so you’ll need to adapt the lines or make your own.

    Like

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