In elementary school we had 45 minutes to an hour of recess every day. They'd send us outside to play. Not really organized play, just run around and try to stay alive. The school yard was part dirt, part asphalt. There were some jungle gyms and swings. Some balls and jump ropes.
Because of the dresses, girls were not allowed on the jungle gyms. Then some girl was in the swings and went too high (I saw London, I saw France, I saw xxxx's underpants.) and then girls were not allowed on the swings. The boys could do whatever they wanted. It wasn't horrible, but it wasn't fair. We could play ball - dodge ball, Red Rover and we could jump rope and play hop scotch. But, so could the boys do all of that.
Once a year, we had Field Day. It was a day of running and jumping and planned outdoor track event type stuff. Girls were allowed to wear pants. Years after I left school, if I saw kids at a bus stop and the girls were wearing pants, I used to think 'oh they must be having Field Day!'
In the winter, it often would get pretty chilly. My Mom (and most everyone else's) made me wear pants under my dress. (Tights, back then, were for really expensive and for ballerinas only.) I did not have a lot of fashion sense as a kid but even I knew that pants under my dress was a stupid look. I had taken to walking an extra half mile to school in order to swing by Lemon's house and walk to school with her. Her house had this great secret space under the front steps where we kept important stuff (stories we wrote, treasures we found, stuff like that). So on cold days when moms laid down the pants requirement, we'd stop at our hiding place, shed them and stuff them under those steps. Then on the way home, we'd stop there first, put them back on and then go home.
EDIT: Do be sure and read hopefulspirit's tale of her grandfather and wearing skirts to school!!
When we got home from school every day, we had to change out of our school clothes into our play clothes before we were allowed to do anything else. So the boys always had a head start on after school play, because they didn't have to change anything. Stupid boys.
To Be Continued