How to Play Colonial Games

By Alicia Bodine
Carved cup and ball game
Steve Beger

Children living in the original U.S. colonies didn't have money to spend on buying games in a store. They had to make games out of the supplies they had access to, which allowed them to use their imagination and creativity to invent games. Children today can learn how to play some of these Colonial games, providing a good history lesson and a chance to have some fun.

Remove the metal rims from some large barrels. Hold the barrel rims up like you would a tire so that they can roll. Have each child take a stick and guide a barrel rim down a path toward a finish line. The child that reaches the finish line with his barrel rim first wins the race. Colonial children called this game "hoops."

Attach a paper cup to the end of a stick. Tie a string to the stick. Use a staple gun to attach a ball to the end of the string. Swing the ball up and catch it in the cup. Children in Colonial days carved their own wooden cups with handles.

Buy some wooden spinning tops and see who can make them spin the longest. You may also want to have contests to see whose spinning top can travel the farthest. Colonial children often made and played with spinning tops, which they carved out of wood.

Put a few sticks into the ground in your yard. Place them different distances from a marked point to stand. Tie a few piece of rope so that they form circles. Take turns throwing the rope hoops over the sticks. If the rope lands on a stick, then you get a point. You get more points for the sticks as they get farther away from you. In Colonial times, this game was called "quoits."

Purchase a checkerboard and play checkers. You must only move one space forward at a time on your designated color. You can jump an opponent and take her piece. When you get a piece all the way across the board, it is then a "king" and can travel forward and backward. The person who successfully eliminates all of the opponent's checkers wins. In Colonial times this game was called "draughts," and the game pieces were carved out of wood.

Use a long piece of rope to play jump rope, just like Colonial children did.

About the Author

I am a stay at home Mom and I enjoy writing articles and working on my blogs and website. I was one of the top 1000 Content Producers of 2007 for Associated Content. I come from a line of writers. My Father has published dozens of science fair project books and owns a newspaper here in town. My Grandfather has published hundreds of short stories. I look forward to being able to work with you.