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Answered 2014-05-15 14:15:56
Colonial Games & Toys

When children had time to play, they enjoyed the same games that their parents and grandparents had played when they were young. We still play many of these games today, like tag, hide-and-seek, and hopscotch.

Popular Colonial Games & Toys

Which Do You Know?




Kite Flying

Jump Rope

London Bridge


Spinning Tops Hopscotch

Jacob's Ladder

Leap Frog

Bow & Arrow

Blind Man's Bluff

See Saw Bubble-Blowing


Rocking Horses



Ice sliding

Jack Straws

(or pick-up sticks)

In the colonial period, these games helped children learn skills that they would need later in life as farmers and parents. Games taught children how to aim and throw, how to solve problems and do things with their hands, and how to follow directions and rules. They also learned to be fair, to wait their turn, and to use their imaginations.

What games do you usually play?

When your parents and grandparents were young, did they play any of the games that you like to play?

Where Did Colonial Children Get Their Toys?

Colonial children had to make do with what they had. There were no factories for making toys or toy stores. Toys had to be found in nature or in the house, or adults and children had to make them. They made dolls from corn husks and rags. Leftover wood and string could be used to make spinning tops. Hoops from barrels could be used in races and a variety of games. Many times, they made up games at the spur of the moment and needed no equipment at all.

What kind of game would you invent if you were chopping wood or picking up stones in a field?

Who Did Colonial Children Play With & Where Did They Play?

Since many families had six or seven children, brothers and sisters could always rely on each other as playmates. If neighbors lived close by, even more children could share the fun and join in the games. Since adults did not have time to watch their children closely, they were often left alone to play in the gardens, fields, or in the house when their chores were done.

On a winter day, a colonial family would gather around the fireplace in the kitchen to stay warm. The father would work on fixing his tools for the spring, the mother would spin, and if the children did not have to card wool or churn butter, they would probably play a board game or practice tongue twisters. In warmer weather, as the father tended the field and the mother did the laundry or made soap in the yard, the children would play outside with marbles, hoops, or battledores (a game like Badminton).

Who are your playmates?

Do they live close by?

How does the weather affect your play?

A Colonial Board Game

Nine Men's Morrice was a board game that could be played on a board, a piece of paper, or even drawn in the dirt. Simple markers of corn, stones, or beans could be used for play.

You may draw or print out the game board . Morrice is a game for two players. Each player has nine markers. Players may select coins, beans, or whatever they would like for their markers, so long as their markers are different from their opponent's.

Object of the Game: The object of the game is to make rows of three markers on a line, and to prevent the other player from doing the same.

The players take turns putting down one marker at a time, always placing them at the point where the lines cross or connect to each other. This means markers can be placed horizontally, vertically, or even diagonally at one of the board's four corners. Three markers in a straight line make a row, and if they are cleverly arranged, one may form a part of two rows.

When all the markers have been placed on the board, the players may begin to move. Players take turns sliding one marker at a time along the lines, from one point to the next. The object is still to make rows by sliding the markers to different points on the board, and blocking the other player. Whenever one player makes a new row of three markers, he or she chooses one of the other player's markers, picks it up off the board, and lays it aside. If a player is reduced to only two markers left, he or she may give up the game as lost since three markers are always necessary to complete a row.

Nursery Rhymes

Colonial children, like children today, also told nursery rhymes. Do you know what some of these nursery rhymes really mean?

Jack be nimble, Jack be quick,

Jack jump over the candlestick.

After dipping candles, a colonial woman would hang them from two long horizontal sticks to allow them to harden and cool. These sticks, and not the candles themselves, were referred to as "candle sticks."

Lucy Lockett lost her pocket,

Sally Fisher found it,

Not a penny was there in it

Just a ribbon 'round it.

Most colonial clothes did not have pockets in them. A colonial pocket was a detachable cloth bag used for holding pocket books (wallets), sewing, and other things that girls and women would like to have on hand throughout the day. Pockets were tied around the waist with a tape, or ribbon, and they were often decorated with embroidery.

Tongue Twisters

Here are some colonial tongue twisters for you to try!

The skunk sat on a stump and thunk the stump stunk

But the stump thunk the skunk stunk.

Bluebirds bring bright berries.

She sheared six shabby sick sheep.


Riddles were also popular in the colonial period. Can you figure out some of these? The answers are at the end of the last question!

1. What flies up, but is always down?

2. When is a boy most like a bear?

3. What kind of room is not in a house?

4. What has teeth but cannot eat?

5. What has a tongue but cannot talk?

6. What has 3 feet but cannot walk?

7. What has a mouth but cannot talk?

8. What falls down but never gets hurt?

1. Goosefeathers. 2. When he is barefoot. 3. A mushroom. 4. A comb. 5. A shoe. 6. A yardstick. 7. A river. 8. Snow.

To Learn More About Colonial Games & Toys....

In the colonial period, life was filled with a lot of different types of work, but life wasn't always hard or boring. Early Americans knew how to turn work into fun by singing or telling stories, having contests, and playing games

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Related Questions

What recreation did colonials do?

Colonial children played many of the same games kids do today for recreation like tag and hide and seek. Kids also played with marbles and board games.

What did they do for recreation in the middle colonies time?

During colonial times, the colonists led simple lives. To have fun, they made kites to fly, participated in foot races, and the kids played marbles and hopscotch. They also played games similar to soccer and baseball.

Did kids in the colonial times ice skate?

Kids in colonial times did not ice skate like people do now a days. Kids did play on the ice but they just slid around on their shoes.

Did kids in colonial times get paid for doing house work?


Where did kids in the colonial times go to the bathroom in school?

an outhouse?

What type of work did teachers do in colonial times?

taught kids

What was lunch for kids in colonial times?

At the same time we do. Or a little earlier.

Why did kids in the colonial times play games?

I'm sure they played games because they did not have technology like computers and Television and radios so they found other ways to entertain themselves.

What is recreation?

sports or what people do with their free time. example: kids play video games here in America.

What was a kids life in colonial times?

it was hard work and they rarely had time to play

What time did kids wake up in colonial times?

10:00 a.m.

Did the kids in colonial times have books like you do?

no because they didn't have money or schools

How did kids in colonial times get to school?

They mostly walked, but the wealthy took a carraige or wagon.

In colonial times what did kids play with?

No one cares really, but the answer is wooden blocks and stuff.

What type of games did kids play in colonial times?

They used to play with this thing call the saw. (It was a piece of string attached to two pieces of small wood. And there was a button in the middle)

What did colonial kids study?

Colonial kids studied math and writing for example. Colonial kids also studied how to make ropes and how to hunt for food.

What games did kids play in the colonial days?

They played games such as marbles, and also a game with a hoop and stick that you roll the hoop with the stick

What are some nice features for kids on Yahoo?

Some of the nice features for kids you can find on Yahoo's website include games, movies, music, science & nature, sports & recreation and school subjects.

What did kids do for chores in colonial times?

churn butter carry water handwash clothes milk cow hunt

How would you describe a family and its roles in colonial times?

The families back in colonial times were poor. Most of the kids went to public schools. The families were very oriented. Fortunatly water was a very plentyful drink back then.

What was it like in the southern colonial times?

Southern colonial time was very different then today. they did alot of croping cooking clothes making and not alot of kids went to school SS(:

What are the similarities between colonial time schools and schools today?

in the schools today 2009 we have about 30 rooms for kids to learn in. in colonial times was only one little room where they can learn.

What did colonial kids play?


What has the author Bonnie Henderson written?

Bonnie Henderson has written: 'Best Hikes with Kids' 'Exploring the wild Oregon coast' -- subject(s): Guidebooks, Outdoor recreation 'Best hikes with children' -- subject(s): Guidebooks, Family recreation, Hiking 'Best hikes with kids in Oregon' -- subject(s): Guidebooks, Family recreation, Hiking 'Strand' -- subject(s): Guidebooks, Recreation areas, Outdoor recreation

What is the relation of recreation to education?

You don't want to have fat kids... And it's important to teach kids how to be Healthy and whatnot

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