In the colonial Period, these games helped
children learn skills that they would need
later in life as a 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 leaned to be
fair, to wait their turn and to use their
Whenever there was a big task such as raising a
barn or making apple cider, the settlers organized
a work party called a bee. There were bees for
husking corn, making quilts, and harvesting crops.
Children often took part in the work or joined in
the party afterwards. A big part of the bee was
feasting, dancing, and playing games. Playing
games made the work seem like fun.
During the harvest, parents
sometimes set up a maze of
hay sheaves to keep their
children occupied. The
children wandered though the
maze or played hiding games.
While the children played, the
parents had a chance to get
work done or gossip with other
adults. Mazes kept children
amazed for hours!
The first settlers did not have
newspapers to tell them what was
happening in the world. When
people gathered at a bee, they
exchanged news and information.
Sometimes the news changed as
The game gossip shows how the
details of a news story change
when the story passes from
person to person. By the end of
the line it is nothing like the
After the harvest, everyone
gathered to husk corn for
winter storage. The young
man who found a red ear of
corn was allowed t kiss the
young woman sitting
closest to him. Not all girls
were happy when a young
man produced a ear of
After the autumn
harvest, the settlers
gathered to peel the
apples and string them
up to dry. The dried
fruit could be eaten
throughout the winter.
Games played at these
bees involved apples.
Predict the Future-Apple
One Apple game was
believed to predict the
future. A person pares an
apple, trying to keep the
peel in one long piece. The
person then closes their
eyes and tosses the peel.
The shape the peel makes
predicts the first initial of
the individual they are to
Bobbing for Apples
Float some apples in
a tub of water.
Players put their
hands behind their
everyone tries to
remove an apple
from the tub with
his or her teeth.
Push the Potato
For this race, each player needs a potato to
push along the ground. All the players line
up in a row. At the starting signal, they
begin rolling their potato along the ground
with their nose. Players may use only their
noses never their hands to keep the potato
rolling in a straight line. The first person to
cross the finish line wins the race.
Each player places an egg on a spoon and
lines up in a row. At the signal to start
everyone starts running toward the finish
line while balancing an egg on the spoon.
The winner is the 1st one to cross with the
egg still on the spoon.
Three Legged Races
To enter the race you need a partner. Tie
your right leg to your partners left leg. We
the signal is given to go the racers must
work together to run to the finish line. The
pair to cross first is the winner.