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Children's Games for the Renaissance

By Joan Mansson ; Updated October 03, 2017
Originated in China, the pinata was introduced to Europe by Marco Polo.

During the Renaissance many games were played by both children and adults. Some of these games had been around for centuries and are still played by modern society. "Dwyle Flunking" was played in pubs by adults, as well on the street by children. The modern version of "Bilboquet" is called "Cup and Ball," an inexpensive toy used by many children. "Get the Hat" is not unlike "Keep Away."

Get the Hat

Like American football, without rules or goals, the point of this game is to get the hat from the other team. This Elizabethan game begins when a hat is dropped between the two teams or children. Both teams run for the hat and when one team gets it the other team chases after them to capture it back.

Bilboquet

Bilboquet was played in 16th century France although its origins are unknown. A ball or ring is tied to a handle with a piece of string. The handle has either a cup or a hook. The object is to move the handle quickly in order to get the ball to land in the cup, or the ring to land on the hook. The child who catches the most balls or rings is the winner.

Dwyle Flunking

Think about a pinata without the candy. A bag was filled with a stinky liquid and suspended above the players. The child who was "it" used a long stick to break the bag and try to get the other players wet. Who ever got hit first was it and a bag was filled again. Popular in England, this game could be played with water balloons instead of stinky liquids.

Games That are Still Played

Hopscotch was invented by Roman soldiers as a pass time while they were stationed at Hadrian's Wall. During the Renaissance hopscotch, leapfrog and tag were played by both children and adults.

About the Author

Joan Mansson has been writing original puppet plays in her capacity as a librarian for over 20 years. She took several workshops with Woodstream Writers and studied with the Children's Institute of Literature. Mansson holds a Master of Library Science from Rutgers University and a Bachelor and Master of Arts from New Jersey City University.