Colonial Children's Games Teaching american history 2 summer institute 2007 Hopscotch

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Teaching american history 2

summer institute 2007


Hopscotch was played during colonial days. Hopscotch is a game that is played with a rock you throw onto a line of squares painted on the ground. Then you hop through the diagram, on one foot, beginning with square one. Either foot may be used. You straddle the side by side squares. When the player reaches the end of the diagram he turns around and hops back in the reverse order and picks up his marker. After successfully doing this the player continues his turn by tossing his marker into square two.

If while hopping through the diagram at any time the player steps on a line, misses a square, or loses his balance and falls, his turn ends.

The first player to finish the course for all the numbered squares wins.


One player is "it" and chases the other players. If the player who is "it" tags one of the other players he or she is now "it." And the game continues changing "its" many times. Sometimes there is a "base" where you are safe, for a short time, and cannot get tagged. This game may have developed from the idea of fleeing an evil spirit.


How to play:

One principle of the game is that a marble called a shooter or taw is launched by your thumb at smaller marbles in a circle on the ground. The shooter wins the marbles driven out of the circle.

Another form is when players shoot or roll marbles from a good distance away from the circle. One target is in the middle that players try to shoot. All marbles that fail to hit the target become the owner owns the target marble in the middle of the circle.

Nine Pins
This is similar to bowling. Nine pins would be placed three in a row on the lawn and the object was to knock down all nine pins with a ball. The slope of the lawn made the game tricky. Players take turns throwing the ball under their legs, and try to hit down as many pins as they can.

The game was very popular, back then. In Connecticut people thought that this game was too much like gambling, so they prohibited it. But the colonial people outwitted their leaders. They people added another pin to Nine Pins, and now it’s called Bowling, which we still play today.


Rounders, which is the sixteenth century version of the bat & ball game that dates back to "the dawn of time." This game is also called Townball.

Infinite swings. The striker has no limit on tries to hit the ball.

Ball must be fed where striker pleases. The Feeder must throw the ball where the Striker wants it. If the Striker is unhappy with the Feeder, The Striker may request a new Feeder.

Any hit RUN! Anytime the ball contacts the stick, even a "tip", it is valid and the Striker must run. The ball must be struck anywhere!! The runners at the sanctuaries may begin running as soon as the ball is struck – whether it is a good hit or an Out. It doesn’t matter, once the runner begins to run, KEEP GOING!

Run Clockwise! Upon hitting the ball, The Striker then must run clockwise around the sanctuaries and may run anywhere as long as he passes outside of each sanctuary.

Striker is Out. The Striker is out if the hit is caught in the air or on one bounce.

Runner is Out. The runner is out if he is plugged (hit with a thrown ball) while running. He is not out if he grasps a sanctuary before he is plugged. Note: The Striker becomes a runner as soon as he begins running.

Sanctuaries Work Once. Once a runner has touched a sanctuary, he may not let go of it and then grasp it again – it has been used up for that runner.

In until Out. A player is "in" until he has been gotten out. This also applies to the castle – all players that are "in" must remain in the castle. If they step out they are "out."

Undefended castle is vulnerable. If there are no Defenders, the attacking team may capture the castle by plugging the castle stone.

Everybody Out. The teams change sides when the entire defending team is "out", or when the castle has been captured.

Two Rounders. If the last Defender hits the ball and makes it all the way back into the castle in one run twice in a row then everyone on his team is back "in" again.

Rolling the Hoop
Taking a big wooden hoop, the children would race each other from one point to another on the lawn. The object of the game was to see who could get to the finishing point fastest. It sounds like an easy game, but the hoop was difficult to roll.

This is similar to horseshoes. You toss a rope or mental ring onto a stake called a hob.

Blind man's bluff

This is played in a spacious enclosed area, such as a large room, in which one player, designated as It, is either blindfolded or closes his or her eyes. The It player gropes around blindly and attempts to touch the other players without being able to see them, while the other players scatter and try to avoid and hide from the It player, sometimes teasing him/her to make him/her change direction.

There are several versions of the game:

  • In another version, whenever any player is tagged by It, that player is out of the game. The game proceeds until all players are out of the game, at which point another round of the game starts, with either the first player or the last player to be tagged becoming the next It player.

  • In yet another version, It feels the face of the person tagged and attempts to identify the person, and only if the person is correctly identified does the person become It

Play in partners. One player squats down while the other gently places his hands on the squatters back and leaps over. You can have classroom races.
Hop Skip and Jump
Three motions are done in the order-hop, skip and jump-for distance, without a pause. Class members can take turns measuring the distance covered to determine the winner.
Squat Tag
A player is "safe" when in a squatting position. "It" tries to tag players not squatting.
Stone Poison
A player is "safe" when standing on a rock or stone. If you cannot collect enough stones to play, then cut "stones" from paper or cardboard to scatter on the playground.
You might have seen the sport briefly on your television screen: players dressed almost like hockey players with a full face mask and gloves charging down the middle of the rink towards a goalie wearing full attire... but he's using a bag attached to a piece of wood as his stick and the goal itself is a loose net in a triangular shape. As the player fires the small ball out of the small stick and net he's carrying over his shoulder and into the net you wonder at what exactly this is. It's lacrosse, one of the world's oldest sports.

The original game was created hundreds of years ago in North America among the Native Americans who had many versions of the game; some using two sticks (one in each hand) and some that were co-ed - as well as women having their own teams and variations of the sport. One tribe, the Cherokees, called lacrosse "the little brother of war" because of its military training value. Often teams were made up of hundreds of players encompassing an entire village or tribe at times; with the result that the goals themselves were miles apart and games could last days. Since the average player had little chance of getting close to the ball, they would concentrate on hitting their opponent with their stick, injuring them and taking them out of play. This would evolve later into the cross-checking and sparring that we see not only in lacrosse but hockey as well.

The Six Tribes of the Iroquois, located in what is now southern Ontario and upstate New York, called their version of the game "baggataway" or "tewaraathon". It was much more organized than in most areas of the country. There were 12 to 15 players per team, and the goals were about 120 feet apart. Still, games would go hours at a time and major injuries were common. It was seen as a good forum for young men to prove themselves and for skill to be developed without permanent injuries on each side nor a major confrontation resulting.

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