Skipping Rope

Retro Childhood: Fun in the Streets

When free time meant game time

If there is one thing all kids have always had in common regardless of who they are (or where or when) it's that they want to play. And when school's out for the summer, playtime becomes all the time. Before there were well-groomed parks and jungle gyms, the city streets were the playgrounds. With a few accessories — a ball, a stick, a piece of chalk — kids of yesteryear made the streets the place to have fun.

Take a look back at old-school street life, including images by iconic photographers Robert Doisneau, Cornell Capa, and Ruth Orkin, that capture stickball, marbles, double-dutch, and general mischief.

BATTER UP, CIRCA 1913 Science & Society Picture Library/SSPL via Getty Images BATTER UP, CIRCA 1913 FISHING FOR COINS, 1930 Popperfoto/Popperfoto/Getty Images FISHING FOR COINS, 1930 MARBLES, PARISIAN STYLE, 1931 Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images MARBLES, PARISIAN STYLE, 1931 HAND STAND RACE, 1934 Robert DOISNEAU/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images HAND STAND RACE, 1934 I GOT IT! (DATE UNKNOWN) Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images I GOT IT! (DATE UNKNOWN) LITTLE LEAPFROGS, 1935 Henry Guttmann/Getty Images LITTLE LEAPFROGS, 1935 HOMEMADE CRICKET PADDLE, 1939 Fox Photos/Getty Images HOMEMADE CRICKET PADDLE, 1939 COMIC RELIEF, 1947 Ruth Orkin/Getty Images COMIC RELIEF, 1947 CATCH ME IF YOU CAN, 1947 Ralph Morse/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images CATCH ME IF YOU CAN, 1947 PILING ON, 1947 Rae Russel/Getty Images PILING ON, 1947 GOOFING OFF, 1947 Rae Russel/Getty Images GOOFING OFF, 1947 MAKE IT SOAR, 1948 Cornell Capa/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images MAKE IT SOAR, 1948 HOPSCOTCH, 1950 George S. Zimbel/Getty Images HOPSCOTCH, 1950 TIRE TIME, 1951 John Chillingworth/Getty Images TIRE TIME, 1951 SKIPPING ROPE, 1954 Thurston Hopkins/Getty Images SKIPPING ROPE, 1954 SWINGING FREE, 1955 John Drysdale/Getty Images SWINGING FREE, 1955 POGO RACE, 1958 George W. Hales/Getty Images POGO RACE, 1958 BOARDS TO BEAT BOREDOM, 1960 Bill Eppridge/The LIFE Premium Collection/Getty Images BOARDS TO BEAT BOREDOM, 1960 MASS TRANSIT, 1965 Anna Kaufman Moon/Getty Images MASS TRANSIT, 1965 DOUBLE DUTCH, CIRCA 1968 Robert Abbott Sengstacke/Getty Images DOUBLE DUTCH, CIRCA 1968 READY, AIM, FIRE, 1970 Manchester Daily Express/SSPL via Getty Images READY, AIM, FIRE, 1970

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