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17th-Century Pastimes and Sports

The early settlers had little time for games or amusements. Nevertheless young people did spend some time at play. There were few items of luxury so the activities were simple with little or no equipment.

Listed below are a few games played during the 17th century.

  1. Blind Man's Bluff (4-12 PLAYERS)
    One player is blindfolded. The other players form a circle around the blindfolded person within a confined area. One of the players turns the blindfolded person around three times, then takes a position within the circle. The blindfolded person moves about to catch one of the players (who are not allowed to move). The first person caught by the blindfolded person becomes the next blindfolded person.

  2. Hunt the Slipper (6-18 PLAYERS)
    Players sit in a circle. One player (the hunter) leaves while the others hide a slipper or other object. When the hunter returns, the other players pass the object around secretly while the hunter is not looking. The hunter is allowed to ask questions and has three guesses on the whereabouts of the object. When the slipper is located, the hunter exchanges places with the player who has the object and the game starts over.

  3. Blow-Out (2 PLAYERS)
    This is one of the oldest marble games known where two players try to win marbles from each other. The first player tosses a marble on a smooth surface. The second player tries to hit the marble by tossing another marble at it. If successful, the second player wins the marble. If not, the first player has a turn to hit the second player's marble.

  4. Ring Taw (4-6 PLAYERS)
    Two circles are drawn on the ground. The inner circle is about two feet in diameter. Each player places four to six marbles in the inner circle. Then the outer circle, called the "taw," is drawn about seven feet in diameter. The players take turns to roll their marble from the outer circle (taw) into the inner circle. The object is to touch one of the marbles in the inner circle. If the player is successful, he or she wins the marble and has a chance to win another one. However, the player may not hit the same player's marble twice in a row. If the player is unsuccessful, the next player gets a turn.

  5. Lacrosse
    Native Americans enjoyed competitions of all kinds. One particular favorite was lacrosse. The lacrosse stick is long with a net at the end. The net is used to catch then fling the ball into a specified goal. The New England settlers learned this game from the American Indians. It is still popular today, especially in Canada.

Excerpted from America: Ready-to-Use Interdisciplinary Lessons and Activities for Grades 5-12.


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