1. Make a list on the board (or on a poster) of the following games which likely were played in Colonial Virginia and other colonies (this list is taken, in part, from a list given on the Noah Webster House website:
Yo-Yo Puzzles Hoops
Kite flying Jump rope London Bridge
Ice sliding Spinning tops Hopscotch
Bow and Arrow Marbles Rocking Horses
Blind Man’s Bluff See Saw Jack Straws (or pick-up sticks)
2. Ask the students if they have played any of these games or with any of these toys. Check those that are the most-often mentioned.
3. Ask the students what kinds of games they play that are different from those listed above. Write those on the board, too.
4. Then, let students each select one game (or toy) from the list to research. Each student should try to find the history of the game (or toy), and instructions on how to play (or play with) it. Students can also draw pictures to illustrate their research. The web sites listed below should be of some help, but additional research is also encouraged.
5. When the research is complete, each student should report on his or her findings.
6. Then, the class should select two or three of the games that they may not be familiar with, and have the person who researched the game (or toy) show them how to play it. Students should be encouraged to practice the game or games on the playground.
7. The lesson should be concluded with a discussion of the students’ favorite games, their thoughts on the newly-learned game or games, and a little speculation about how much children of the 18th century had in common with children of the 21st century.
Facts on 18th Century Toys and Games
Toys and Games
Children's Games in the 18th Century
Credits: This lesson was developed by Averil McClelland, Kent State University, with some help from the scholars at Noah Webster House (see above).