In the 1800s, there weren’t televisions, videos games or radios, but there were plenty of games to be played! With Voices from the Past coming up on September 8th, we are getting our 1800s games ready to play! Want to take a trip into the past with us?
Table games were often played in people’s homes in the parlor, also known as a “parlor games.” Some of these games are still common today such as charades, dominoes, jacks and checkers. Pick-up Sticks (also called jackstraws), was originally played with straws of wheat, with fancier versions played with ivory straws. Today, kids play pick-up sticks with wooden or plastic sticks.
You might have heard of Tiddlywinks, but do you know what it is? This table game was popular in the 1800s with player practicing “flipping winks” in their free time! Players used a shooter disk to flip smaller disks called “winks” into a cup that sits in the middle of a playing area. The first player to sink all of his or her disks into the cup wins!
Kids spent a lot of time outdoors in the 1800s playing games both at school and at home. Hopscotch, jumping rope and tag were popular games that we still play today. Some games, such as Drop the Handkerchief, are still played today but the names have changed. We now call Drop the Handkerchief “Duck Duck Goose!”
Another outdoor game commonly played was called Annie Over. This game is played with two teams, a ball and a barrier (such as a log or table). The teams stand on each side of the barrier and the team with the ball is “it.” They yell “Annie!” and throw the ball to a member of the other team. If that person catches the ball, the teams have to change sides quickly. While the teams are running to change sides, the one who caught the ball tries to hit an opponent with the ball. If that person succeeds, the kid who was hit with the ball changes team. The goal is to eliminate the other team.
Wintry weather didn’t keep kids from playing outdoor games. The game of Fox and Geese was played in the snow where kids would clear paths in the snow in the shape of a spoked wheel.
One person was the fox, and the fox tried to tag the rest of the players (the geese). All the players had to stay within the path of the wheel, and whoever was tagged by the fox became the fox chasing the geese.
If you are looking for some old-fashioned family fun this fall, try your hand at some of these games. Westfield Parks and Recreation is proud to host over 400 Westfield students each year for the Voices from the Past field trip. Students always enjoy playing some of these games during their field trip.
Don’t forget to get your tickets to Voices from the Past to take a 90-minute living history walk through downtown Westfield with us. You’ll learn about our city’s most historic locations and interact with people from Westfield’s past!