Video calls, streaming services and online shopping are among the modern innovations that have helped many through the pandemic.
But girls at one Scottish boarding school have taken their inspiration from the past when they were asked how they wanted to spend their free time, after their usual visits to shopping centres and tourist attractions were axed due to coronavirus.
In a vote, they chose to recreate classic playground games such as Duck, Duck, Goose, British Bulldog, rounders, grandmother’s footsteps, tag and tug-o-war at weekends.
To the surprise of school staff, the option was the most popular in the ballot of pupils at the girls’ school, ahead of movie and quiz nights or hiking.
“We were very surprised by the answer,” said Dorothy MacGinty, the school headteacher. “They voted to organise traditional games more commonly found in playgrounds when I was a child.
“Girls of all ages love them. They’re now laughing together, working as a team, enjoying the competitive nature without match pressure. I can’t believe I’m watching history repeat itself.”
The vote was organised after usual trips out at the weekend at the £33,525-per-year Perthshire boarding school was cancelled due to difficulties linked to social distancing requirements and risk assessments.
“Striking a balance between enjoyment and safety is always a challenge,” Ms MacGinty said. “However, the start of this year’s autumn term naturally presented many more difficulties than usual.”
School staff say that at the weekends the normally deserted Kilgraston front lawns now radiate to the sounds of the pupils playing the old-fashioned favourites.
“It was just really good fun,” said Greta, a pupil from Germany. “There is a lot of space at Kilgraston so it was good to stay here and play with my housemates. I’m looking forward to playing the same games next weekend.”
Sonja Mueller, Head of Boarding at the school, said the games have proven a hit.
“Immediately we noticed how well girls embraced the games when they started playing,” she said. “Inhibitions were lost.
“Initially, we were a little concerned that the girls might be negative about staying on campus but the games are entirely their suggestion with everyone, from ten to eighteen year olds, thoroughly enjoying these age-old activities.”