Games For All Occasions
by Mary E. Blain
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Alternative and inconsistent spellings in the original have been retained. Underlined words in the original book are shown as bold.




Copyright, 1909 By Brewer, Barse & Co.


"A Merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance."

The desire to play and frolic seems to be a heritage of mankind. In infancy and early childhood this joy and exuberance of spirit is given full sway. In youth, that effervescent stage of human existence, "joy is unconfined." But in middle age and later life we are prone to stifle this wholesome atmosphere of happiness, with care and worry and perhaps, when a vexed or worried feeling has been allowed to control us, even forbid the children to play at that time. Why not reverse things and drown care and strife in the well-spring of joy given and received by reviving the latent spark of childhood and youth; joining in their pleasures passively or actively and being one of them at heart. So presuming that "men are but children of a larger growth," the games, pastimes and entertainments described herewith were collected, remembered and originated respectively with the view of pleasing all of the children, from the tiny tot to, and including the "grown-up," each according to their age and temperament.

M. E. B.



Form a long line of children—one behind the other. The leader starts running, and is followed by all the rest. They must be sharp enough to do exactly as the leader does.

After running for a moment or two in the ordinary running step, the leader changes to a hopping step, then to a marching step, quick time, then to a marching step, slow time, claps and runs with hands on sides, hands on shoulders, hands behind, etc.

Finally the leader runs slowly round and round into the centre, and can either wind the children up tightly or can turn them on nearing the centre and run out again. For another change the long line can start running and so unwind the spiral.


All stand in a line except one who is the leader who stands a short distance opposite the line.

The leader throws the bean bag to the child at the head of the line who returns it to the leader. The leader throws it to the next child, who throws it back to the leader, and so it is thrown back and forth to each child in turn. Any one in the line who fails to catch the bag must go to the foot of the line.

If the leader fails to catch the bag he must go to the foot of the line and the one at the head of the line takes his place.


This is a very simple game. Each player places a finger on the table, which he must raise whenever the conductor of the game says: "Birds fly," "Pigeons fly," or any other winged creatures "fly."

If he names any creature without wings, such as "Pigs fly," and any player thoughtlessly raises his finger, that player must pay a forfeit, as he must also do if he omits to raise his finger when a winged creature is named.


All the children except the one who passes the button sit in a circle with hands placed palm to palm in their laps.

The child passing the button holds it between her palms and goes to each one, in turn, slipping her hands between the palms of the children. As she goes around the circle she drops the button into some child's hands, but continues going around as long after as she pleases, so the rest will not know who has it.

Then she stands in the middle of the circle and says: "Button, button, who has the button?" All the children guess who has it, the one calling out the correct name first is out and it is his turn to go around with the button.


"The miller's dog lay at the mill, And his name was little Bingo, B with an I, I with an N, N with a G, G with an O, His name was little Bingo.

"The miller he bought a cask of ale, And he called it right good Stingo, S with a T, T with an I, I with an N, N with a G, G with an O, He called it right good Stingo."

One child represents the miller, the rest stand round him in a circle, and all dance round and sing the verse. When it comes to the spelling part of the rhyme, the miller points to a child who must call out the right letter.

Anyone who makes a mistake must pay a forfeit.


Before beginning to play, the middle of the room should be cleared, the chairs placed against the wall, and all toys and footstools put out of the way. The child having been selected who is to be "Blind Man" or "Buff," is blindfolded. He is then asked the question, "How many horses has your father?" The answer is "Three," and to the question: "What color are they?" he replies: "Black, white, and gray." All the players then cry: "Turn around three times and catch whom you may." "Buff" accordingly spins round and then the fun commences. He tries to catch the players, whilst they in their turn do their utmost to escape "Buff," all the time making little sounds to attract him. This goes on until one of the players is caught, when Buff, without having the bandage removed from his eyes, has to guess the name of the person he has secured. If the guess is a correct one the player who has been caught takes the part of "Buff," and the former "Buff" joins the ranks of the players.


All the children, except one, sit on the floor around a sheet or table cloth which they hold about eighteen or twenty inches above the floor. A feather is placed on the sheet and at a signal the child nearest it blows the feather toward another child. The object is to keep the feather in the air, not allowing it to light.

The remaining child runs back and forth around the group trying to catch the feather. When he is successful, the person on whom the feather rested or was nearest to, changes place with him.


This is a most amusing game, and although only two boys can play at it at one time they will keep the rest of the company in roars of laughter. The two who are to represent the "cocks" having been chosen, they are both seated upon the floor.

Each boy has his wrists tied together with a handkerchief, and his legs secured just above the ankles with another handkerchief; his arms are then passed over his knees, and a broomstick is pushed over one arm, under both knees, and out again on the other side over the other arm. The "cocks" are now considered ready for fighting, and are carried into the center of the room, and placed opposite each other with their toes just touching. The fun now commences.

Each "cock" tries with the aid of his toes to turn his opponent over on his back or side.

The one who can succeed in doing this first wins the game.

It often happens that both "cocks" turn over at the same time, when the fight commences again.


The children sit in two rows opposite each other with a space between. One child takes the place of "cat," being blindfolded, the cat standing at one end of the row and the mouse at the opposite end. They start in opposite directions, guiding themselves by the chairs, the cat trying to catch the mouse. When the mouse is caught it is made the "cat," and one of the company takes the place of the mouse.


A ring is formed by the players joining hands, whilst one child, who is to "drop the handkerchief," is left outside. He walks round the ring, touching each one with the handkerchief, saying the following words:—

"A tisket, a tasket A green and yellow basket, I wrote a letter to my love, But on my way, I dropped it; A little child picked it up And put it in his pocket."

He must drop the handkerchief behind one of the players, who picks it up and tries to catch him before he can run around the ring and jump into the vacant place. As soon as this happens, the first player joins the ring, whilst it is now the turn of the second to "drop the handkerchief."


A good-sized donkey without a tail is first of all cut out of brown paper and fastened to the wall. The tail is then cut out separately, and a hat-pin is stuck through the end. The players arrange themselves in a line some little distance from the wall, and the fun begins. Each player must, in turn, advance with closed eyes towards the donkey, and, still keeping his eyes tightly shut, fasten the tail in what he believes to be the right position. When, amidst much laughter, he is told to open his eyes, he finds that he has very carefully fastened the tail to the tip of the donkey's ear, or on the side of his nose.


One child is seated on the ground with his legs under him and the other players form a ring round him. They then pull him about and give him little pushes, and he must try and catch one without rising from the floor.

The child who is caught takes the middle, and the frog joins the circle.


Girls form a circle and dance around one of their number. The girl in the ring turns her head gravely as a messenger advances, while the rest sing to a pleasing air—

Green gravel, green gravel, The grass grows so green, The fairest of ladies, Is fit to be seen. Dear ——, Dear —— Your true love is dead; The king sends you a letter To turn back your head.

The process is repeated calling each child by name until all of the children have so turned. Turning the head is the sign of sorrow. The game is continued by the following verse in which the lost lovers appear:

Dear ——, Dear —— Your true love's not slain, The king sends you a letter To turn around again.

And the dancers who have all turned about, are one by one made to face the ring.


For this game a long piece of string is required. On this a ring is threaded, and the ends of the string are knotted together. The players then take the string in their hands and form a circle, whilst one of the company, who is called the "hunter," stands in the center. The string must be passed rapidly round and round, and the players must try to prevent the "hunter" finding out who holds the ring. As soon as he has done this, he takes his place in the circle, whilst the person who held the ring becomes the "hunter."


The "tamale" in this game is a knotted handkerchief. One player is chosen for the Hot Tamale man and stands in the center of the room while the others sit around in a circle.

The Hot Tamale man begins the game by saying, "hot tamales, hot tamales," at the same time throwing the hot tamale to some one in the circle who must throw it to another player in the circle and so on, tossing it from one to another without stopping.

The Hot Tamale man tries to catch it and if he succeeds, the one who last tossed it changes places with him and the game continues.


The players seat themselves in a circle on the floor, having chosen one of their number to remain outside the circle. The children seated on the floor are supposed to be cobblers, and the one outside is the customer who has brought his shoe to be mended. He hands it to one of them, saying:—

"Cobbler, cobbler, mend my shoe; Get it done by half-past two."

The cobblers pass the shoe round to each other as quickly as they can, taking care that the customer does not see which of them has it. When the customer comes to get it he is told that it is not ready. He pretends to get angry and says he will take it as it is. He must then try to find it, and the cobbler who has it must try to pass it on to his neighbor without its being seen by the customer. The person upon whom the shoe is found must become the customer, whilst the customer takes his place in the circle on the floor.


This is a game for young children. Some small article is hidden in the room, while the little one who has to find it is sent outside. This finished, the players call out together: "Hot Boiled Beans and Bacon; it's hidden and can be taken!" The little one enters and begins to hunt about for the hidden article. When she comes near to its hiding-place, the company tell her that she is getting "hot"; or if she is not near it she is told that she is "cold." That she is "very hot" or "very cold," will denote that she is very near or very far away from the object that is hidden, whilst if she is extremely near, she would be told that she was "burning." In this way the hidden object can be found, and all the children can be interested in the game by being allowed to call out whether the little one is "hot" or "cold."


One child is chosen "It." This one stands by a post or in a corner which is called "base," and hides his eyes. The children decide among themselves how many he shall count while they are hiding. Suppose they choose 100, then he counts 5, 10, 15, 20, etc., until he reaches 100, and then he calls out:

"Ready or not, You shall be caught."

The children having hidden while he was counting remain perfectly still while he is hunting them. If he passes by some child without finding him, that one may run to the "base" and say "One, two, three, I'm in free!" As many children as can, try to get in "free," but if the one who is "it" sees a child, runs to the base and touches it first, calling: "One, two, three," and the child's name he has to be "it." If the child reaches the "base" first he is "free" and the game proceeds until someone is "caught." If all the children get "free" the one who is "it" again hides his eyes.


This is an excellent party game. One of the company goes outside the room, whilst the remainder of the players decide amongst themselves which of them he shall kneel to. When this is settled upon, the person who is outside is allowed to enter, and he kneels in front of whom he thinks is the right one. If he should make a correct guess, the company clap their hands, and the person to whom he knelt goes outside. If, however, the guess is an incorrect one, the company hiss loudly, and the guesser has to go outside, come back, and try again. Of course, it will make more amusement if when a boy is sent outside the room a girl be chosen as the person to whom he has to kneel; and the opposite if a girl be outside the room.


No game has been more popular with children than this, and any summer evening, in the poorer quarters of the cities, it may still be seen how six years instructs three years in the proper way of conducting it. Two players, by their uplifted hands, form an arch, representing the bridge, under which passes the train of children, each clinging to the garments of the predecessor and hurrying to get safely by. As the last verse is sung the raised Arms of the two directors of the game descend and enclose the child who happens to be passing at the time. The prisoner is then led, still confined by the arms of her captors, to the corner which represents the prison and asked, "Will you have a diamond necklace or a gold pin?" "A rose or a cabbage?" or some equivalent question. The keepers have already privately agreed which of the two each of these objects shall represent, and, according to the prisoner's choice, he is placed behind one or the other. When all are caught, the game ends with a "Tug of War," the two sides pulling against each other; and the child who lets go, and breaks the line, is pointed at and derided. The words of the rhyme sung while the row passes under the bridge are now reduced to two lines:

London bridge is falling down, My fair lady!

London bridge is falling down, Falling down, falling down, London bridge is falling down My fair lady! You've stole my watch and kept my keys, My fair lady! Off to prison you must go, My fair lady! Take the key and lock her up, My fair lady!


The story of this is originally a love story. The young lady dies from a blighted affection and the prohibition of cruel parents.

A mother, seated, Miss Jones stands behind her chair, or reclines on her lap as if lying sick. A dancer advances from the ring.

"I've come to see Miss Jennia Jones, Miss Jennia Jones, Miss Jennia Jones— I've come to see Miss Jennia Jones, And how is she to-day?"

"She's up stairs washing, Washing, washing— She's up stairs washing, You cannot see her to-day."

The questions are repeated to the same air for every day of the week and Miss Jones is baking, ironing, or scrubbing. She is then sick or worse and finally is dead.

"What shall we dress her in, Dress her in, dress her in; What shall we dress her in— Shall it be blue?"

"Blue is for sailors, So that will never do."

"What shall we dress her in, Shall it be red?" "Red is for firemen, So that will never do."

"Pink is for babies So that will never do."

"Green is forsaken, So that will never do."

"Black is for mourners, So that will never do."

"White is for dead people So that will just do."

"Where shall we bury her? Under the apple tree."

Miss Jennia Jones is "laid out" upon the floor and something white thrown over her.

After the burial is completed the children form a ring and sing:

"I dreamed I saw a ghost last night, Ghost last night, ghost last night— I dreamed I saw a ghost last night, Under the apple tree!"

The ghost suddenly arises. The ring breaks up, the children fly with shrieks, and the one caught by the ghost is to take the part of Miss Jennia Jones in the next game.


All the children form a ring with the exception of one player, who stands in the center. The children then dance round this one, singing the first three lines of the verses given below. At the fourth line they stop dancing and act the words that are sung. They pretend to scatter seed; then stand at ease, stamp their feet, clap their hands, and at the words: "Turn him round," each child turns round.

They then again clap hands and dance round, and when the words: "Open the ring and send one in," are sung the center child chooses a partner, who steps into the ring, and the two stand together while the other children sing the remaining verse, after which the child who was first in the centre joins the ring and the game is continued as before.

"Oats and beans and barley O! Do you or I or anyone know How oats and beans and barley grow?

"First the farmer sows his seed, Then he stands and takes his ease, Stamps his foot and claps his hands, And turns him round to view the land.

"Oats and beans and barley O! Waiting for a partner, waiting for a partner, Open the ring and send one in. Oats and beans and barley O!

"So now you're married you must obey, You must be true to all you say, You must be kind, you must be good, And help your wife to chop the wood. Oats and beans and barley O!"


This game is really for five players only, but, by a little arrangement, six or seven children can take part in the fun.

Four players take their places in the different corners of the room, and the fifth who is Puss stands in the middle. If a greater number of children wish to play, other parts of the room must be named "corners," so that there is a corner for everyone.

The fun consists in the players trying to change places without allowing Puss to get a corner. When they leave their corners, the player in the centre tries to get into one of them.

When the centre player succeeds in getting into a corner, the one who has been displaced has to take his place in the middle of the room.


This is a simple game for little children. It is played either with a pocket-handkerchief, or, if more than four want to play, with a table cloth or small sheet.

Each person takes hold of the cloth; the leader of the game holds it with the left hand, while with the right he makes pretence of writing on the cloth, while he says: "Here we go round by the rule of contrary. When I say, 'Hold fast,' let go; and when I say 'Let go,' hold fast."

The leader then calls out one or other of the commands, and the rest must do the opposite of what he says. Anyone who fails must pay a forfeit.


Two children act as captains, one of company A, the other of company B and each in turn choose a soldier until the children are evenly divided into two companies.

Stretch a rope or cord at a medium height across the middle of the room, with company A on one side and company B on the other side.

Each company is provided with a basin of soap suds (a little glycerine added to the water will make the bubbles last longer) and each soldier with a clay pipe.

Two soldiers, one from company A and one from company B stand at arms length from the rope and each blows a bubble from his pipe towards the "enemy" and over the rope if he can. If a soldier blows a bubble over the rope without it bursting his company wins a point. If he fails to do so, his company loses a point.

These soldiers step back and two more (one from each company) advance and blow a bubble and so on until all have had a turn. Some one keeps the score and the company having the most points are the "victors" and to them belong the "spoils" which consists of a tiny paper drum filled with candy, a small silk flag or any appropriate prize.


Attach one end of a number of strings (one for each guest) to the chandelier. Fasten to the other end of each string a small prize wrapped up in tissue paper. Have strings of various lengths and twine them around the table legs, chairs, etc., some may be "spun" around furniture, etc., in adjoining rooms, trying to hide the prizes as much as possible.

At a signal each child takes or is given a string from the chandelier and proceeds to wind it around an empty spool or piece of pasteboard, until a prize is reached. The strings must not be broken. An extra prize may be awarded to the child who first winds up a string neatly.


Cut from colored cloth or paper a number of petals for forming wild roses, using pink material; marguerite daisies of white material and pansies of purple. Five petals for each rose, five for each pansy and ten for each daisy.

Have the children sit around a table. Provide each one with a sheet of plain paper, three pins having the heads covered with yellow tissue paper and mixed petals enough to make one of each kind of flower.

At a signal the children begin to make the flowers by sticking the pin through the point of the petals and pinning each flower to the sheet of paper.

A prize may be given to the child finishing the flowers first or the child making the best looking flowers.



The best way to play this game is for the players to divide themselves into two groups, namely, actors and audience. Each one of the actors should then fix upon a proverb, which he will act, in turn, before the audience. As, for instance, supposing one of the players to have chosen the proverb, "A bad workman quarrels with his tools," he should go into the room where the audience is seated, carrying with him a bag in which there is a saw, a hammer, or any other implement or tool used by a workman; he should then look round and find a chair, or some other article, which he should pretend requires repairing; he should then act the workman, by taking off his coat, rolling up his sleeves, and commencing work, often dropping his tools and grumbling about them the whole of the time.

If this game be acted well, it may be made very entertaining. Sometimes the audience are made to pay a forfeit each time they fail to guess the proverb.


This is another way of playing Blind Man's Buff, and is thought by many to be an improvement on that game.

The player, who is blindfolded, stands in the centre of the room with a long paper wand, which can be made of a newspaper folded up lengthways, and tied at each end with string. The other players then join hands and stand round him in a circle. Someone then plays a merry tune on the piano and the players dance round and round the blind man, until suddenly the music stops; the blind man then takes the opportunity of lowering his wand upon one of the circle, and the player upon whom it has fallen has to take hold of it. The blind man then makes a noise, such as, for instance, the barking of a dog, a street cry, or anything he thinks will cause the player he has caught to betray himself, as the captive must imitate whatever noise the blind man likes to make. Should the blind man detect who holds the stick the one who is caught has to be blind man; if not, the game goes on until he succeeds.


First a postmaster-general must be appointed, whose duty is to write down the names of the players, and the names of the cities they have chosen to represent. The postman is blindfolded and led to the middle of the room, whilst the other players are seated round it. The postmaster-general then begins to announce that a letter has been sent from one town to another, say from Denver to Chicago. The two players who have taken those names must rise up silently and change seats.

The postman's duty is to try and seat himself in one of the vacant chairs; the player who loses his chair must become the blind postman.


Place a lighted candle on a table at the end of a room. Invite someone to stand in front of it, then blindfold him, make him take three steps backwards, turn round three times and then advance three steps and blow out the candle. If he fails he must pay a forfeit. It will be found that very few are able to succeed, simple though the test appears to be.


All players form a ring, joining hands, except one called the Mouse, whom they enclose within the circle, and one who is on the outside who represents the cat. They then dance around, raising their arms at intervals. The cat watches the chance to spring into the circle at one side, and the mouse dashes out at the other—public sympathy being with the mouse, his or her movements are aided when possible. When the cat is in the circle, the players lower their arms so as to keep the enemy prisoner. The cat goes around meekly, crying "mew," while the rest dance around her. With a sudden "miaou!" she tries to break through any weak place in the chain of hands.

As soon as she escapes she tries to catch the mouse, who runs for safety into the ring again, hotly pursued. If the cat is so near as to follow the mouse into the ring, before her entrance can be prevented, or if she catches the mouse outside the circle, the mouse must pay a forfeit. Two more players are then named by the cat and mouse to succeed them.


The clairvoyant goes out of the room, undertaking to name the person whom his confederate shall point out.

The door being shut upon the clairvoyant the confederate points to one whom we will call Mr. B.

"At whom am I pointing?" he queries.

"At Mr. B.," replies the clairvoyant.

The trick is for the clairvoyant and his confederate to arrange between them that the person who speaks last before the clairvoyant leaves the room is the person to be pointed at.


The children first of all divide themselves into two parties. They then form a ring, and commence dancing round a hassock which is placed, end upwards, in the middle of the room. Suddenly one party endeavours to pull the other party forward, so as to force one of their number to kick the hassock and upset it.

The player who has been unfortunate enough to touch the hassock has then to leave the circle. The game proceeds until only two remain; if these two happen to be boys the struggle is generally prolonged, as they can so easily jump over the hassock, and avoid kicking it.


In this game as many seats are placed round the room as will seat all the players but one. This one stands in the middle of the room, repeating the words: "Change seats, change seats;" but no one moves unless he says: "Change seats: the king's come."

Then all must change seats. In the bustle the one standing can generally manage to secure a seat, when the person left out must take his place.

The person in the centre may tell a story if he chooses, bringing in the words; "Change seats," occasionally, and sometimes he may say slyly: "The king's not come," when everyone should, of course, remain seated; but some are sure to mistake the words for "The king's come," and jump up, when the centre player can slip into a seat.


Each child chooses a partner and stands opposite to her, so that two long lines are formed. Each couple holds a handkerchief between them, as high as they can lift their arms, so as to form an arch. The couple standing at the top of the lines run through the arch without letting go their handkerchief, and station themselves at the bottom of the lines, raising their handkerchief again so as to continue the arch. This is done by each couple in succession until all have had a turn. Whoever breaks the arch or drops the handkerchief must pay a forfeit.


Any number of children can play. One is chosen as leader and is called the "gardener."

All the children sit in a circle and the "gardener" gives each one in turn the name of some flower. When all are named the "gardener" stands in the centre of the circle and tells how he has gone to the woods to gather certain flowers; how he has transplanted them to form a lovely garden; the care he has to take of them, and so on, telling quite a long story and bringing in the names of all the flowers he has given to the children.

As a flower is mentioned, the child who has that name rises, turns around, and sits down again. Anyone who fails to rise when his flower is named must pay a forfeit. When the gardener says something about a bouquet, all the children rise and exchange seats. Then the "gardener" tries to get a seat, and if he succeeds, the person who has no seat becomes the "gardener" and the game goes on as before.


A row of chairs, facing alternately different ways, is placed through the centre of the room—a chair for every player except one.

Some one at the piano plays a lively air, first fast, then slow, very loud, then low—while the children march around the chairs without touching them, keeping time with the music. When the music suddenly stops, all rush for a seat. A chair must be taken away each time the marching recommences—until but two chairs remain, when the excitement becomes intense. The one who at the moment that the music ceases has the good fortune to seat himself or herself in the one chair remaining wins the game and perhaps a prize.


The person who is to play the part of Cat should stand outside of the door of the room where the company is assembled. The boys and girls, in turn, come to the other side of the door and call out "miaou."

If the Cat outside recognizes a friend by the cry, and calls out her name correctly in return, he is allowed to enter the room and embrace her, and the latter then takes the place of Cat.

If, on the contrary, the Cat cannot recognize the voice, he is hissed, and remains outside until he is able to do so.


One of the company is chosen as Grand Mufti. The others then form a circle with the Grand Mufti in the centre, and every action which he performs, if preceded by the words, "Thus says the Grand Mufti," must be imitated by every member of the circle.

The Grand Mufti, in order to lead one of the company astray, will sometimes omit to say the words: "Thus says the Grand Mufti;" in this case if any member of the company imitate his action, he is compelled to pay a forfeit.


The players join hands in a circle, with one of their number in the middle, who is supposed to be a captive, longing for freedom and reduced to diplomatic means to secure it.

The prisoner touches one pair of joined hands in the circle saying, "Here I Bake." Then, passing to the other side, says, "Here I Brew," as she touches another pair of hands. Suddenly, then, in a place least suspected, perhaps whirling around and springing at two of the clasped hands behind her, or at the pair which she had touched before, if their owners appear to be off guard, she exclaims "Here I mean to break through!" and forces her way out of the circle if she can.

The players must be on the alert and strongly resist the captive's effort to escape.

Those who permitted her to regain her freedom—through inattention or weakness—must then make use of the "counts" familiar to all generations of children, to decide which of them shall take the place of the prisoner.


One of the players has two hats, one he places on his own head and the other he hands to one of the company. The person who has received the hat must then make every action contrary to the action of the person who handed him the hat. For instance, if No. 1 sits down, No. 2 must stand up. If No. 1 takes his hat off, No. 2 must put it on. If No. 2 fails he must pay a forfeit. The time of trial is limited to three minutes, or less if the players wish, after that No. 1 is bound to take the hat and be tried in his turn.


One person represents the huntsman, the other players call themselves after some part of a huntsman's belongings; for instance, one is the cap, another the horn, others the powder-flask, gun, whip, etc.

A number of chairs are arranged in the middle of the room, and there must be one chair less than the number of players, not counting the huntsman.

The players then seat themselves round the room, whilst the huntsman stands in the center and calls for them one at a time, in this way: "Powder-flask!" At once "Powder-flask" rises and takes hold of the huntsman's coat.

"Cap," "Gun," "Shot," "Belt," the huntsman cries; each person who represents these articles must rise and take hold of the player summoned before him, until at length the huntsman has a long line behind him. He then begins to run round the chairs, until he suddenly cries: "Bang," when the players must sit down. Of course, as there are not sufficient chairs, one player will be left standing and he must pay a forfeit. The huntsman is not changed throughout the game, unless he grows tired, when he may change places with one of the others.


One of the players takes a stick in his left hand and thumps the floor with it, saying, "He can do little who can't do this." Then he hands the stick to another player, who will most probably use his right hand when holding the stick and thumping the ground. If he does he is told he has failed in the simple task, and the stick is handed to another. The game goes on until someone discovers that the secret of the trick is to copy the leader exactly, and therefore the stick must be held in the left hand.


As many chairs as there are players must be arranged down the middle of the room. The girls then all sit down so that each has a vacant chair next her, and the boys retire from the room. During their absence the girls all decide which particular boy is to occupy the vacant chair next her, and the boys are summoned in turn. On entering the room the boy must walk straight to the chair next the girl whom he imagines to have chosen him, and sit down. If he has guessed correctly he is loudly clapped by all the girls present, and another boy is called in. But if he makes a mistake, and sits down on the wrong chair, he is hissed so vehemently that he is only too glad to escape from the room. Another player is called in, and the process is repeated, until finally all the boys have guessed correctly, and all the vacant chairs are occupied.


For this game the company must divide themselves into parties with four in each group, and one odd player who must issue commands and lead the game. Each party of four must hold a handkerchief cornerwise, one player at each corner. The leader of the game then takes up his position in the middle of the room from which he issues his commands in sharp, quick, decisive tones, when he shouts "Let go!" the players must all hold tightly on to the handkerchief. And when, almost with the same breath, he calls "Hold fast!" they must drop it as if it burnt the tips of their fingers. The fun of the game lies in the leader issuing his commands so rapidly one on top of the other that the players become bewildered. The players who make a mistake retire from the game, until finally only one of the four is left and he becomes leader.


The chief participator in this game must be ignorant of the trick about to be played. He is told to kneel down whilst a lady knights him, naming him "Knight of the Whistle." During the process someone fastens a small whistle to his coat tails by means of a piece of ribbon. He is then bidden to rise up and search for the whistle. The hunt begins; all the players combine to deceive the searcher; they must blow the whistle whenever they can do so without being detected. When the searcher discovers the trick the game is, of course, at an end.


A ring is formed with one child in the middle, who is called the "drummer-man." Whatever this child does the others mimic, moving round as they do so, and singing the following words:—

"I sell my bat, I sell my ball, I sell my spinning-wheel and all; And I'll do all that e'er I can To follow the eyes of the drummer-man."

Anyone who does not at once imitate the "drummer-man" must pay a forfeit and take his place as "drummer-man."


The company should be seated in two lines facing each other, and one of the party should then be elected to act as judge. Each person has to remember who is sitting exactly opposite, because when the judge asks a question of anyone, it is not the person directly asked who has to reply, but the person opposite to the judge. For instance, if the judge, addressing one of the company asks: "Do you like apples?" the person spoken to must remain silent, whilst the person who is opposite to him must reply, before the judge can count ten; the penalty on failing to do this or answering out of one's turn is a forfeit. A rule with regard to the answers is that the reply must not be less than two words in length, and must not contain the words: "Yes," "no," "black," "white," or "grey." For the breaking of this rule a forfeit may also be claimed.


For all those children who are fond of a little exercise no better game than this can be chosen. When the chairs are placed in order round the room the first player commences by saying: "My master bids you do as I do," at the same time working away with the right hand as if hammering at his knees. The second player then asks: "What does he bid me do?" in answer to which the first player says: "To work with one as I do." The second player, working in the same manner, must turn to his left-hand neighbor and carry on the same conversation, and so on until everyone is working away with the right hand.

The second time of going round the order is to work with two; then both hands must work; then with three; then both hands and one leg must work; then with four, when both hands and both legs must work; lastly with five, when both legs, both arms, and the head must be kept going. Should any of the players fail in keeping in constant motion a forfeit may be claimed.


One of the players is sent out of the room, and the rest then agree upon some simple task for her to perform, such as moving a chair, touching an ornament, or finding some hidden object. She is then called in and some one begins to play the piano. If the performer plays very loudly the "seeker" knows that she is nowhere near the object she is to search for. When the music is soft, then she knows she is very near, and when the music ceases altogether, she knows that she has found the object she was intended to look for or has found the task she is to perform.


The players sit in a circle and one who is acquainted with the trick takes a small stick in his right hand, makes some funny movements with it, and then, having taken it in his left hand, passes it to his neighbor, saying: "Malaga raisins are very good raisins, but I like Valencias better." He then tells his neighbor to do the same. Should any of the players pass on the stick with the right hand, they must pay a forfeit, but of course they must not be told what mistake they have made until the stick has been passed right round the circle.


All the players sit in a row, except one, who sits in front of them and says to each one in turn; "Our old Grannie doesn't like T; what can you give her instead?"

Perhaps the first player will answer, "Cocoa," and that will be correct; but if the second player should say, "Chocolate," he will have to pay a forfeit, because there is a "T" in chocolate. This is really a catch, as at first everyone thinks that "tea" is meant instead of the letter "T." Even after the trick has been found out it is very easy to make a slip, as the players must answer before "five" is counted; if they cannot, or if they mention an article of food with the letter "T" in it, they must pay a forfeit.


Two of the players join hands, facing each other, having agreed privately which is to be "Oranges" and which "Lemons." The rest of the party form a long line, standing one behind the other, and holding each other's dresses or coats. The first two raise their hands so as to form an arch, and the rest run through it, singing as they run:—

"Oranges and Lemons, Say the bells of St. Clement's; You owe me five farthings, Say the bells of St. Martin's; When will you pay me? Say the bells of Old Bailey. I do not know, Says the big bell of Bow. Here comes a candle to light you to bed Here comes a chopper to chop off your head!"

At the word "head" the hand archway descends, and clasps the player passing through at that moment; he is then asked in a whisper, "Oranges or Lemons?" and if he chooses "oranges," he is told to go behind the player who has agreed to be "oranges" and clasp him round the waist.

The players must be careful to speak in a whisper, so that the others may not know what has been said.

The game then goes on again, in the same way, until all the children have been caught and have chosen which they will be, "oranges" or "lemons." When this happens, the two sides prepare for a tug-of-war. Each child clasps the one in front of him tightly and the two leaders pull with all their might, until one side has drawn the other across a line which has been drawn between them.


Old Soldier is a game for young children, and though it seems very simple, yet there is a good deal of fun in it. One of the children pretends to be an old soldier, and goes round begging of each of the other players in turn, saying that he is "poor, and old, and hungry," and asking what they will do for him or give him. In answering the Old Soldier no one must say the words: "Yes," "No," "Black," or "White," and he must be answered at once without hesitation. Anyone who does not reply at once, or who uses any of the forbidden words, must pay a forfeit.


One player begins the game by going out of the room, and then giving a double (or postman's) knock at the door; it is the duty of one of the other players to stand at the door inside the room to answer the knocks that are made, and to ask the postman for whom he has a letter.

The postman names some member of the company, generally of the opposite sex; he is then asked, "How many stamps are to be paid?" Perhaps he will say "six"; the person for whom the letter is supposed to be must then pay for it with kisses, instead of stamps; after which he or she must take a turn as postman.


This is an amusing game for children. A blackboard is needed upon which the verse, "Peter Piper," etc., is illustrated or written so that the words are mixed up and it will be difficult to point out. Some older person will be needed to superintend the game.

One child is given a pointer and as the others sing, to any familiar tune:

"Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers, Now if Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers, Where is that peck of pickled peppers, Peter Piper picked?"

she must point out each word or drawing as quickly as it is sung.

If a mistake is made in pointing, the child takes her place with the rest and another child is out. Each one is given a turn.

It is an achievement, if done successfully, and some suitable gift should be given as a prize.


The players seat themselves in a circle, one of the number remaining in the center to represent the "Sea." Each player takes the name of some fish and the Sea walking around the circle calls each person by the name they have adopted. As they are called they must rise and follow the "Sea." When all have left their seats the "Sea" begins to run about crying: "The Sea is troubled." Suddenly she seats herself, when all her companions must try to do the same; but there will be one seat short, so there will be one player left over and this player becomes the "Sea." No player must seat himself until the "Sea" has taken a chair, and she can create some fun by running about and pretending she is about to seat herself. Any player seating himself before the "Sea" must pay a forfeit.


The leader tells every member of the company to choose as a name some article connected with a stage coach; the wheels, the horses, the whip, the bridle, etc., may be chosen. These the leader jots down on a piece of paper and then begins to tell a thrilling story. "The stage coach left the old Stag Inn, amidst the thundering of the horses' hoofs and the cracking of the driver's whip." Some member will probably have chosen to be the horses, another the whip, and as their names are mentioned they must rise, twirl round and sit down again. Then the narrator continues: "For some miles all went well, then a bridle gave way (the bridle must rise and twirl round) and the driver put down the reins, jumped from his seat and ran to the horses' heads. It was found necessary to take the horses out of the shafts before the stage coach could proceed on its way." As each member's name is mentioned he must rise and twirl round; but when the Stage Coach is mentioned every one must rise and change seats, when the narrator, who has been standing, tries to secure one. If he succeeds the person left out becomes narrator. The great point is for the narrator to tell such a thrilling story that the members forget to acknowledge the mention of their names, when they must pay a forfeit.


A splendid game, and one specially suitable for a large party. A sheet or white tablecloth is first of all stretched right across the room, and on a table behind it is placed a bright lamp. All the other lights in the room are then extinguished, and one of the players takes a seat upon a low stool midway between the lamp and the sheet. The other players endeavor to disguise themselves as much as possible, by distorting their features, rumpling their hair, wearing wigs, false noses, etc., and pass one by one behind the player seated on the stool. Their shadows are thus thrown upon the sheet. The aim of the seated player is to guess the identity of the shadows as they pass before him; and the aim of the others is to endeavor by every means in their power to keep him from recognizing them. As may be imagined, the task of the single player is not an easy one, the distorted shadows being vastly different from the originals as seen before the lights were extinguished.


The blindfolded player is placed in the middle of the room, and the other players all place themselves at various distances round him. The blind-man is then told how many steps he must take in order to be able to touch a certain player. This game does, I know, sound rather simple in writing; but try it, and you will find that it is not so easy as you imagine. It will also have the effect of making the dullest party lively, because the blind-man makes such absurd mistakes as to the direction and length of steps that he has to take.


Each player in this game has what are called three "lives," or chances. When the company is seated in a circle, the first player mentions a letter as the beginning of a word. The game is for each of the company, in turn, to add a letter to it, keeping the word unfinished as long as possible.

When a letter is added to the former letters and it makes a complete word, the person who completed it loses a "life." The next player then begins again.

Every letter added must be part of a word, and not an odd letter thought of on the spur of the moment. When there is any doubt as to the letter used by the last player being correct, he may be challenged, and he will then have to give the word he was thinking of when adding the letter. If he cannot name the word, he loses a "life"; but if he can, it is the challenger who loses.

This is an example of how the game should be played. Supposing the first player commences with the letter "p"; the next, thinking of "play," would add an "l"; the next an "o," thinking of "plough"; the person, not having either of these words in his mind, would add "v"; the next player perhaps, not knowing the word of which the previous player was thinking, might challenge him, and would lose a "life" on being told the word was "plover." The player next in turn would then start a new word, and perhaps put down "b," thinking of "bat," the next, thinking, say, that the word was "bone," would add an "o," the next player would add "n"; the player whose turn it would now be, not wanting to lose a "life" by finishing the word, would add another "n"; the next player for the same reason would add "e," and then there would be nothing else for the next in turn to do but to complete the word by adding "t" and thus losing a "life."

It will be seen that there are three ways of losing a "life." First, the player may lay down a letter, and on being challenged be unable to give the word. Secondly, he may himself challenge another player who is not at fault. Thirdly, he may be obliged to add the final letter to a word, and so complete it.


Seat yourselves in a circle and choose one of the company to be the leader, or Simon. His duty is to order all sorts of different things to be done, the funnier the better, which must be obeyed only when the order begins with "Simon says." As, for instance, "Simon says: 'Thumbs up!'" which, of course, all obey; then perhaps comes: "Thumbs down!" which should not be obeyed, because the order did not commence with "Simon says."

Each time this rule is forgotten a forfeit must be paid. "Hands over eyes," "Stamp the right foot," "Pull the left ear," etc., are the kind of orders to be given.


One player represents the Sergeant, and the others the soldiers, whom he is supposed to be drilling. When the Sergeant says "Do this," all the players must imitate him. But when he says "Do that," they must take no notice.

If a soldier makes a mistake he has to pay a forfeit, and takes the Sergeant's place.


This game can be played by any number of children. They proceed by first choosing one of the party to act as the Sea King, whose duty it is to stand in the centre of a ring, formed by the players seating themselves round him. The circle should be as large as possible. Each of the players having chosen the name of a fish, the King runs round the ring, calling them by the names which they have selected.

Each one, on hearing his name called, rises at once, and follows the King, who, when all his subjects have left their seats, calls out, "The sea is troubled," and seats himself suddenly. His example is immediately followed by his subjects. The one who fails to obtain a seat has then to take the place of King, and the game is continued.


The leader begins by saying the first sentence, which is repeated by each player in turn. The leader in every case adds the new line, which is repeated by the other players in succession. Anyone making a mistake or omission drops out of the contest. As the ranks grow thinner, the players are required to repeat the sentences more rapidly, and no time for hesitation allowed. The one who makes no mistake is entitled to a prize.

The sentences are as follows:

1. One old ox opening oysters.

2. Two tall Turks twirling twisted turbans.

3. Three tinkering tailors totally tired.

4. Four fat Frenchmen fanning a fainting fly.

5. Five funny farmers feeding feathered fowls.

6. Six slippery snails slid slowly seaward.

7. Seven shy soldiers shooting salted salmon.

8. Eight eccentric Englishmen exhibiting educated elephants.

9. Nine nimble noblemen nibbling nasturtiums.

10. Ten tipsy tailors toddling timidly together.


Each player must choose a trade and pretend to be working at it. For instance, if he is a tailor he must pretend to sew or iron; if a blacksmith, to hammer, and so on. One is the king, and he too, chooses a trade. Everyone works away as hard as he can until the king suddenly gives up his trade, and takes up that of some one else. Then all must stop, except the one whose business the king has taken, and he must start with the king's work. The two go on until the king chooses to go back to his own trade, when all begin working again. Any one who fails either to cease working or to begin again at the right time, must pay a forfeit.

A somewhat more elaborate and livelier game of Trades is played by each boy in the party choosing a trade which he is supposed to be carrying on.

The leader must invent a story, and standing in the middle, must tell it to the company. He must manage to bring in a number of names of trades or businesses; and whenever a trade is mentioned, the person who represents it must instantly name some article sold in the shop.


In this game the leader tells one of the players to think of any number he likes, but not to say it aloud. He next tells him to double it; this done, the player is told to add eight to the result, and then halve it. After doing this he must halve the whole, and from what is left take away the number first thought of. If correctly worked out the answer will be four, which is just half the number which the leader told the player to add after the original number was doubled. For instance, we will suppose the number thought of to have been twenty. When doubled, the result will be forty. The player then adds eight, which gives him a total of forty-eight. He halves this, and has twenty-four left. When he has taken away the number first thought of (twenty) he has a total of four—which is half the number the leader told him to add in the beginning of the game.


A confederate is necessary for this trick. The one performing the trick goes out of the room and the confederate agrees with the audience to touch a certain article. The person outside is recalled and his confederate begins to question him. "Did I touch this music book?" "No." "Did I touch this table?" "No." "Did I touch this knife?" "No." "Did I touch that fork?" "Yes." The secret consists in saying the word "that" before the article touched, instead of "this."


The players seat themselves in a row and the leader of the game takes his place behind them, beginning at the top of the row. He makes some absurd gesture and then asks the person behind whom he is standing "What am I doing?" If the player replies incorrectly, and he generally does, he is doomed to stand up and imitate in silence the gesture he could not guess, until he has leave to sit down.


It is necessary that only two of the party should have a knowledge of this game, and then "wonderment" is sure to be the result.

The two players agree that a certain word shall be regarded as a signal word. As an illustration, imagine this word to be "and."

One of the players asserts his belief that he is gifted with second sight, and states that he is able, through a closed door, to name any article touched by any person in sympathy with him, notwithstanding the said person may attempt to mystify him by mentioning a lot of other articles. He then chooses his confederate, as being one with whom he may be in sympathy, and goes outside.

The player in the room then proceeds to call out, perhaps as follows:—Table, Hearthrug, Piano, Footstool and Chair, Lamp, Inkstand. He then places his hand on the back of a chair and asks: "What am I touching now?" the answer will, of course, be "Chair," because the signal word "and" came immediately before that article.

If the players are skilful there is no need for the trick to be discovered.


All the girls sit in a circle, and the boys stand outside, one boy behind each girl's chair. One chair is left vacant, but a boy stands behind it, and by winking at the girls one at a time, tries to get one for his empty chair.

As soon as a girl is winked at, she tries to leave her seat, and take the vacant one, but if the boy behind her touches her before she leaves the seat, she cannot go. Each boy has to keep his eye on the one who is winking and on the girl in his chair, for if he is not watching, she may escape before he has time to touch her, and then it is his turn to do the winking and get a girl for his chair.

If the winking is done quickly it adds to the interest of the game. No boy can keep hold of a girl all the time; he must only touch her when she starts to leave her place, and then if she is beyond arm's length he cannot call her back.


Few children think they will ever tire of playing games; but all the same, towards the end of a long evening, spent merrily in dancing and playing, the little ones begin to get too weary to play any longer, and it is very difficult to keep them amused.

Then comes the time for riddles! The children may sit quietly around the room, resting after their romps and laughter, and yet be kept thoroughly interested, trying to guess riddles.

It is, however, very difficult to remember a number of good and laughable ones, so we will give a list of some, which will be quite sufficient to puzzle a roomful of little folk for several hours.

Why are weary people like carriage-wheels?—Answer: Because they are tired.

An old woman in a red cloak was passing a field in which a goat was feeding. What strange transformation suddenly took place?—Answer: The goat turned to butter (butt her), and the woman into a scarlet runner.

Why does a duck go into the water?—Answer: For divers reasons.

Spell "blind pig" in two letters? P G; a pig without an I.

Which bird can lift the heaviest weights?—The crane.

Why is a wise man like a pin?—He has a head and comes to a point.

Why is a Jew in a fever like a diamond?—Because he is a Jew-ill.

Why may carpenters reasonably believe there is no such thing as stone?—Because they never saw it.

What is that which is put on the table and cut, but never eaten?—A pack of cards.

Why does a sculptor die horribly?—Because he makes faces and busts.

When does a farmer double up a sheep without hurting it?—When he folds it.

What lives upon its own substance and dies when it has devoured itself?—A candle.

Why is a dog biting his tail a good manager?—Because he makes both ends meet.

What thing is it that is lower with a head than without one?—A pillow.

Which is the left side of a plum-pudding?—That which is not eaten.

What letter of the alphabet is necessary to make a shoe?—The last.

If all the seas were dried up, what would everybody say?—We haven't a notion (an ocean).

Why is it certain that "Uncle Tom's Cabin" was not written by the hand of its reputed author?—Because it was written by Mrs. Beecher's toe (Stowe).

Why is a fishmonger never generous?—Because his business makes him sell fish (selfish).

What is that which works when it plays and plays when it works?—A fountain.

What is that from which you may take away the whole and yet there will be some remaining?—The word wholesome.

Why are fowls the most economical things a farmer can keep?—Because for every grain they give a peck.

What coin doubles its value by taking away a half of it?—Halfpenny.

Why is it dangerous to walk in the meadows in springtime?—Because the trees are shooting and the bulrush is out (bull rushes out).

Why is a vine like a soldier?—Because it is listed and has ten drills (ten-drils) and shoots.

Why is an opera-singer like a confectioner?—Because she deals in ice-creams (high screams).

If a man who is carrying a dozen glass lamps drops one, what does he become?—A lamp lighter.

What belongs to yourself, but is used more by your friends than by yourself?—Your name.

Why is a spider a good correspondent?—Because he drops a line at every post.

When is the clock on the stairs dangerous?—When it runs down.

Why is the letter "k" like a pig's tail?—Because it comes at the end of pork.

What is the keynote to good manners?—B natural.

Why is a five-pound bank-note much more profitable than five sovereigns?—Because when you put it in your pocket you double it, and when you take it out you will find it in-creases.

Why is a watch like a river?—Because it doesn't run long without winding.

What is that which flies high, flies low, has no feet, and yet wears shoes?—Dust.

When has a man four hands?—When he doubles his fists.

What trees has fire no effect upon?—Ash-trees; because when they are burned, they are ashes still.

What is the difference between a schoolmaster and an engine-driver?—One minds the train and the other trains the mind.

A man had twenty sick (six) sheep, and one died; how many were left?—19.

What is that which everybody has seen but will never see again?—Yesterday.

Which is the best day for making a pancake?—Friday.

Which is the smallest bridge in the world?—The bridge of your nose.

What four letters would frighten a thief?—O I C U.

What is that which goes from London to York without moving?—The road.

Which is easier to spell—fiddle-de-dee or fiddle-de-dum?—Fiddle-de-dee, because it is spelt with more "e's."

When may a chair be said to dislike you?—When it can't bear you.

What animal took most luggage into the Ark, and which two took the least?—The elephant, who took his trunk, while the fox and the cock had only a brush and a comb between them.

Which of the English kings has most reason to complain of his washer-woman?—King John, when he lost his baggage in the Wash.

If a bear were to go into a linen-draper's shop, what would he want?—He would want muzzlin'.

Why is B like a hot fire?—Because it makes oil Boil.

Why was the first day of Adam's life the longest?—Because it had no Eve.

If an egg were found on a music-stool, what poem would it remind you of?—"The Lay of the Last Minstrel."

Why is a schoolmaster like a shoe-black?—Because he polishes the understanding of the people.

Why is a washer-woman like a navigator?—Because she spreads her sheets, crosses the line, and goes from pole to pole.

Why is an author the queerest animal in the world?—Because his tale comes out of his head.

Why is it that a tailor won't attend to business?—Because he is always cutting out.

When can a horse be sea-green in color?—When it's a bay.

Why were gloves never meant to sell?—Because they were made to be kept on hand.

When are we all artists?—When we draw a long face.

Why are watch-dogs bigger by night than by day?—Because they are let out at night and taken in in the morning.

When is a tradesman always above his business?—When he lives over his shop.

Which is the liveliest city in the world?—Berlin; because it's always on the Spree.

Why is a water-lily like a whale?—Because they both come to the surface to blow.

Why is a shoemaker the most industrious of men?—Because he works to the last.

What is book-keeping?—Forgetting to return borrowed volumes.

Why is scooping out a turnip a noisy process?—Because it makes it hollow.

Why are teeth like verbs?—Because they are regular, irregular, and defective.

What ships hardly ever sail out of sight?—Hardships.

When is an artist a dangerous person?—When his designs are bad.

Why are tortoiseshell-combs like citadels?—They are for-tresses.

Why is the Isthmus of Suez like the first "u" in cucumber?—Because it is between two "c's" (seas).

What motive led to the invention of railroads?—The locomotive.

Why are deaf people like Dutch cheeses?—Because you can't make them here.

When is the best time to get a fresh egg at sea?—When the ship lays to.

Who was the first whistler?—The wind.

What tune did he whistle?—Over the hills and far away.

Why need a traveller never starve in the desert?—Because of the sand which is (sandwiches) there.

Why is sympathy like blindman's-buff?—Because it is a fellow feeling for a fellow creature.

If a Frenchman were to fall into a tub of tallow, in what word would he express his situation?—In-de-fat-i-gabble. (Indefatigable.)

Why is a diner on board a steam-boat like Easter Day?—Because it is a movable feast.

Why is a little man like a good book?—Because he is often looked over.

Why is a pig in a parlor like a house on fire?—Because the sooner it is put out the better.

What is the difference between a soldier and a bombshell?—One goes to war, the other goes to pieces.

Why is it dangerous to sleep in a train?—Because every train runs over all the sleepers on the line.

Spell "enemy" in three letters?—F O E.

Which is the only way that a leopard can change his spots?—By going from one spot to another.

Why did Eve never fear the measles?—Because she'd Adam.

When is a tall man a little short?—When he hasn't got quite enough cash.

What houses are the easiest to break into?—The houses of bald people; because their locks are few.

Why is a watch the most difficult thing to steal?—Because it must be taken off its guard.

Why is there never anybody at home in a convent?—Because it is an (n)uninhabited place.

Why does a person who is not good-looking make a better carpenter than one who is?—Because he is a deal plainer.

What is the best tree for preserving order?—The birch.

Why is shoemaking the easiest of trades?—Because the boots are always soled before they are made.

What plant stands for No. 4?—IV.

How can a gardener become thrifty?—By making the most of his thyme, and by always putting some celery in the bank.

Why is it probable that beer was made in the Ark?—Because the kangaroo went in with hops, and the bear was always bruin.

"What was the biggest thing you saw at the World's Fair?" asked a wife of her husband.—"My hotel bill!" said he.

Why is C like a schoolmistress?—Because it forms lasses into classes.

What is that which never asks any questions and yet requires many answers?—The street-door.

If a man bumped his head against the top of a room, what article of stationery would he be supplied with?—Ceiling whacks. (Sealing-wax.)

Which is the longest word in the English language?—Smiles; because there is a mile between the first and last letters.

Which is the oldest tree in England?—The Elder Tree.

How many sides are there to a tree?—Two, inside and out.

What is that which happens twice in a moment and not once in a thousand years?—The letter M.

What sea would a man most like to be in on a wet day?—A dry attic. (Adriatic.)

Why is coffee like an axe with a dull edge?—Because it must be ground before it is used.

What is the difference between a bottle of medicine and a troublesome boy?—One is to be well shaken before taken, and the other is to be taken and then shaken.

What makes more noise than a pig under a gate?—Two pigs.

When is a door not a door?—When it is a-jar.

What is the difference between a naughty boy and a postage-stamp?—Because one you stick with a lick, and the other you lick with a stick.

Why did William Tell shudder when he shot the apple from his son's head?—Because it was an arrow escape for his child.

What is that which the more you take from it the larger it grows?—A hole.

What is the best land for little kittens?—Lapland.

Why should a man always wear a watch when he travels in a waterless desert?—Because every watch has a spring in it.

Of what trade is the sun?—A tanner.

What relation is a doormat to a door?—Step-fa(r)ther.

What is that which you cannot hold ten minutes, although it is as light as a feather?—Your breath.

What is the worst weather for rats and mice?—When it rains cats and dogs.

What is that which never uses its teeth for eating purposes?—A comb.

When are two apples alike?—When pared.

What is the difference between a blind man and a sailor in prison?—One cannot see to go and the other cannot go to sea.

Why is a plum-cake like the ocean?—Because it contains so many currants.

What pudding makes the best cricketer?—A good batter.

When is a sailor not a sailor?—When he's a-board.

Why is the snow different from Sunday?—Because it can fall on any day in the week.

What trade would you mention to a short boy?—Grow sir (grocer).

What tree is nearest the sea?—The beech.

Why is a game of cards like a timber-yard?—Because there are always a great many deals in it.

Why is a tight boot like an oak tree?—Because it produces a corn (acorn).

Why is a city in Ireland likely to be the largest city in the world?—Because each year it is Dublin (doubling).

What is the easiest way to swallow a door?—Bolt it.

Why could a negro slave not be caught if he ran away?—Because he would be sure to keep dark at all times.

Why is a dancing-master like a tree?—Because of his bows (boughs).

Name a word of five letters from which if you take two but "one" remains—Stone.



Each player is given a slip of paper and asked to write a piece of advice—the ladies write to the gentlemen and vice versa. The slips are collected and again distributed and each player is asked to read the advice which has been given him. Before looking at the paper he must tell what sort of advice it is—good, bad, unnecessary, etc., and whether or not he intends to profit by it.


A slip of paper and a pencil is given to each player, who must then write a number of adjectives upon it. The slips are collected and given to the principal player, who has undertaken to read out a short story, substituting the adjectives on the slips for those already in the story. The adjectives must be taken as they come and not picked out to suit the story. The result is sometimes very laughable; as for instance—"The pretty rhinoceros is a very amiable animal. It is very attractive in its habits, and lives near lakes or rivers. Its delicate skin is so soft that special bullets are needed to pierce it, etc."


This is a capital game for a large party, for it is both instructive and amusing. One player is selected who has to guess what word or sentence the remainder of the company has chosen. He goes out of the room, and when the subject has been decided upon, returns and asks a question of each of the company in turn. The answer must be either "Yes" or "No," and in no case should more words be used, under penalty of paying a forfeit. The first important point to be found out is whether the subject is "Animal," "Vegetable," or "Mineral." Supposing, for instance, the subject chosen is a cat which is sleeping in the room by the fire, the questions and answers might be like the following:—"Is the subject chosen an animal?" "Yes." "Wild animal." "No." "Domestic animal?" "Yes." "Common?" "Yes." "Are there many to be seen in this town?" "Yes." "Have you seen many this day?" "Yes." "In this house?" "No." "Have you seen many in the road?" "Yes." "Do they draw carts?" "No." "Are they used for working purposes?" "No." "Is the subject a pet?" "Yes." "Have they one in the house?" "Yes." "In this room?" "Yes." "Is it lying in front of the fire at the present time?" "Yes." "Is the subject you all thought of the cat lying in front of the fire in this room?" "Yes." The subject having been guessed, another one is chosen and the game proceeds.


For this game, half the players go outside the door, whilst those who stay in the room choose a word of one syllable, which should not be too difficult. For instance, suppose the word chosen be "Flat," those who are out of the room are informed that a word has been thought of that rhymes with "Cat," and they then have to act, without speaking, all the words they can think of that rhyme with "Cat." Supposing their first idea be "Bat," they come into the room and play an imaginary game of cricket. This not being correct, they would be hissed for their pains, and they must then hurry outside again. They might next try "Rat," most of them going into the room on their hands and feet, whilst the others might pretend to be frightened. Again they would be hissed. At last the boys go in and fall flat on their faces, while the girls pretend to use flat-irons upon their backs. The loud clapping that follows tells them that they are right at last. They then change places with the audience, who, in turn, become the actors.


To play this game you must first decide which one of you is to be the Bird-catcher; the other players then each choose the name of a bird, but no one must choose the owl, as it is forbidden. All the players then sit in a circle with their hands on their knees, except the Bird-catcher, who stands in the center, and tells a tale about birds, taking care to specially mention the ones he knows to have been chosen by the company. As each bird's name is called, the owner must imitate its note as well as he can, but when the owl is named, all hands must be put behind the chairs, and remain there until the next bird's name is mentioned. When the Bird-catcher cries "all the birds" the players must together give their various imitations of birds. Should any player fail to give the cry when his bird is named, or forget to put his hands behind his chair, he has to change places with Bird-catcher.


This is a very old game, but is always a very great favorite. The more the players, the greater the fun. The way to play it is as follows. The players sit in a circle and begin to count in turn, but when the number 7 or any number in which the figure 7 or any multiple of 7 is reached, they say "Buzz," instead of whatever the number may be. As, for instance, supposing the players have counted up to 12, the next player will say "13," the next "Buzz," because 14 is a multiple of 7 (twice 7)—the next player would then say "15," the next "16" and the next would of course say "Buzz" because the figure 7 occurs in the number 17. If one of the players forgets to say "Buzz" at the proper time, he is out. The game then starts over again with the remaining players, and so it continues until there is but one person remaining. If great care is taken the numbers can be counted up to 70, which, according to the rules before mentioned, would of course be called Buzz. The numbers would then be carried on as Buzz 1, Buzz 2, etc., up to 79, but it is very seldom that this stage is reached.


In this game every one in the company has to describe in a riddle, first a bird, then a fruit, and finally a flower. The others must guess. Whoever guesses the most is the winner of the game.

Here are examples of the riddles:

BIRD. Although a bird I am part of a plant. STORK. (Stalk).

FRUIT. Although a single specimen, I am really two. PEAR.

FLOWERS. Although usually white, I am always described as rose colored in hue. PINK.


Materials required.—As many sheets of paper and pencils as there are players.

The players seat themselves round a table, and each one is provided with a sheet of paper and a pencil. The hostess then asks them to write at the head of the paper the name of the town in which they were born. A time limit of fifteen minutes is then given them in which to make up a sentence, each word of which must begin with the letters composing the name of the town. The sentence must be either suggestive, or descriptive of the town which each has written on his or her paper. For example:—


Sentence—Came home in carriage after going out.


One of the players commences the game by saying to his neighbor, "I have a cook who doesn't like peas (p's); what will you give her for dinner?" The person addressed must avoid the letter P in his answer. For instance, he may answer, "Artichokes," "Onions," "Cabbage," and "Carrots," but he must not say "Spinach," "Asparagus," "Potatoes." The question is then asked of the second player, and so on until all have replied. If a player mentions a word containing the letter P he has to pay a forfeit.


One of the most popular games at a party is certainly "Consequences"; it is a very old favorite, but has lost none of its charms with age. The players sit in a circle; each person is provided with a half sheet of notepaper and a pencil, and is asked to write on the top—(1) one or more adjectives, then to fold the paper over, so that what has been written cannot be seen. Every player has to pass his or her paper on to the right-hand neighbor, and all have then to write on the top of the paper which has been passed by the left-hand neighbor (2) "the name of the gentleman"; after having done this the paper must again be folded and passed on as before; this time must be written (3) one or more adjectives; then (4) a lady's name; next (5), where they met; next (6), what he gave her; next (7), what he said to her; next (8), what she said to him; next (9), the consequence; and lastly (10), what the world said about it.

Be careful that every time anything has been written the paper is folded down and passed on to the player on your right.

When every one has written what the world says, the papers are collected and one of the company proceeds to read out the various papers, and the result may be somewhat like this:—

(1) The horrifying and delightful (2) Mr. Brown (3) met the charming (4) Miss Philips (5) in Westminster Abbey; (6) he gave her a flower (7) and said to her: "How's your mother?" (8) She said to him: "Not for Joseph;" (9) the consequence was they danced the hornpipe, and the world said: (10) "Just what we expected."


To play this game it is best to sit in a circle, and until the end of the game no one must speak above a whisper.

The first player whispers a question to his neighbor, such as: "Do you like roses?"

This question now belongs to the second player, and he must remember it.

The second player answers: "Yes, they smell so sweetly," and this answer belongs to the first player. The second player now asks his neighbor a question, taking care to remember the answer, as it will belong to him. Perhaps he has asked his neighbor, "Are you fond of potatoes?" And the answer may have been, "Yes, when they are fried!"

So that the second player has now a question and an answer belonging to him, which he must remember.

The game goes on until everyone has been asked a question and given an answer, and each player must be sure and bear in mind that it is the question he is asked, and the answer his neighbor gives, which belongs to him.

At the end of the game each gives his question and answer aloud, in the following manner.

"I was asked: 'Do you like roses?' and the answer was 'Yes, when they are fried!'"

The next player says: "I was asked: 'Are you fond of potatoes?' and the answer was: 'Yes, they are very pretty, but they don't wear well.'"


A player is chosen to represent "The Curate." The other players are assigned such names as printer, plumber, jeweler, butcher, druggist, shoemaker, etc. "The Curate" starts the game by saying,

"Mr. Butcher (or any other name) I called to see you this morning but you were not at home."

The Butcher: "I had just gone over to the jeweler's."

Curate: "And what business had you at the jeweler's?"

(The jeweler is the next to speak but he must not do so until the question is answered.)

"I went to get a bracelet for Mrs. Butcher."

The Jeweler: "I was not at home for I had gone to the printer's."

The Curate: "And what was your business at the printer's?"

(The printer is the next to speak but he must not do so until the question is answered.)

The game may be made very interesting by bringing into it little personal references and bits of innocent scandal, as

"I was at the jeweler's to help Mr. —— select a ring for Miss ——."


A subject is given to the company by the "teacher" and those joining in the game are each to define the subject in as terse a manner as possible, in epigram or verse, written on a slip of paper. The cards are then signed, turned in and the "teacher" reads the definitions. Then the company are to decide which one of the definitions has the greatest merit. For instance, the word "Friendship" is given and the answers might run like these:

"A feather from love's wing."

"The greatest of boons."

"Something akin to glue," etc.

Or the word "Gold" might evoke:

"That which I have not."

"The root of all evil."

"What goes to the plumber," etc.


To play this game seat yourselves in a circle, take a clean duster or handkerchief, and tie it in a big knot, so that it may easily be thrown from one player to another. One of the players throws it to another, at the same time calling out either of these names: Earth, Air, Fire, or Water. If "Earth" is called, the player to whom the ball is thrown has to mention something that lives on the earth, as lion, cat; if "Air" is called, something that lives in the air; if "Water," something that lives in the water; but if "Fire" is called, the player must keep silence. Always remember not to put birds in the water or animals or fishes in the air; be silent when "Fire" is called, and answer before ten can be counted. For breaking any of these rules a forfeit must be paid.


This game, if carried out properly, will cause great amusement. One of the party announces that he will whisper to each person the name of some animal, which, at a given signal, must be imitated as loudly as possible. Instead, however, of giving the name of an animal to each, he whispers to all the company, with the exception of one, to keep perfectly silent. To this one he whispers that the animal he is to imitate is the donkey.

After a short time, so that all may be in readiness, the signal is given. Instead of all the party making the sounds of various animals, nothing is heard but a loud bray from the one unfortunate member of the company.


The idea of this game is to try how many sentences can be spoken without containing a certain letter which has been agreed upon. Supposing, for instance, the letter "f" is not to be introduced, the first player might ask: "Is this a new game to you?" The second player could answer: "Oh, no! I played it years ago when quite a youngster."

He would perhaps turn to the third player, and ask: "You remember it, do you not?" The third player might answer: "Yes, but we used to play it differently." This player, having used a word with an "f" in it, must pay a forfeit and remain out.

The answers must be given at once, without hesitation, and the player who avoids for the greatest length of time using a word containing the forbidden letter wins the game.


The players seat themselves and are questioned by the leader of the game and must answer without bringing in a word containing a forbidden vowel. Say the vowel "a" is forbidden, the leader asks—"Are you fond of playing the piano?" The answer "Yes, very much," would be correct as the words do not contain the letter "a." But if the answer were—"Yes, and I am fond of singing too," the speaker would have to pay a forfeit. Any vowel may be forbidden, or if the players choose to make the game very difficult, two vowels may be forbidden. Say "a" and "e" are forbidden, and the question is, "Will your father be late home?" "I do not know" would be a correct answer.


The Fortune Teller must provide the person who is to have his or her fortune told with a piece of paper and a pencil and then proceed to say:

1. Write "Yes" or "no."

2. "State a gentleman's or a lady's name." (If a lady's fortune is to be told she must write a gentleman's name and vice versa.)

3. "Give a number."

4. "Length of time."

5. "Yes or no."

6. "Yes or no."

7. "Yes or no."

8. "A color."

9. "A color."

10. "Yes or no."

11. "Yes or no."

12. "A shape."

13. "A measure."

14. "A sum of money."

15. "A sum of money."

16. "A virtue."

17. "A profession."

18. "The name of a place."

19. "A lady's or gentleman's name."

20. "The name of a place."

21. "A number."

22. "Yes or no."

23. "State a time."

When these have all been written down, the Fortune Teller proceeds to read out the list of questions he has, with the answers corresponding in number. Below is appended the list of questions, which, of course, must not be shown to the person whose fortune is being told until he or she has written the answers.

1. Have you a lover?

2. What is his or her name?

3. How old is he or she?

4. How long have you known him or her?

5. Does he or she know you love him or her?

6. Is your affection returned?

7. Have you or has he proposed?

8. What color is his or her hair?

9. What color are his or her eyes?

10. Is he or she handsome?

11. Is he or she conceited?

12. What shape is his or her nose?

13. What size is his or her mouth?

14. What is his or her fortune?

15. How much will he or she allow you?

16. What is his or her chief virtue?

17. What is his or her profession?

18. Where did you first meet?

19. What is your rival's name?

20. Where do you intend to live?

21. How many other proposals have you had, or made?

22. Will the marriage be a happy one?

23. When will you be married?


To play this game successfully two of the company privately agree upon a word that has several meanings. The two then enter into a conversation, which is obliged to be about the word they have chosen, whilst the remainder of the company listen.

When a member of the party imagines that he has guessed the word, he may join in the conversation, but if he finds he is mistaken, must immediately retire.

To give an illustration: Supposing the two players who start the conversation decide upon the word box. They might talk about the people they had seen at the theatre and the particular part of the house in which they were sitting. Then they might say how nice it looked in a garden, and one might mention that it grew into big trees. Perhaps one of the company might imagine that he had guessed the word correctly and join in, when the conversation would be immediately changed, and the two would begin to converse about a huge case in which a very great number of things were packed away. By this time possibly the person who joined in the conversation will leave off, completely mystified.

If, however, the word should be correctly guessed, the person guessing it chooses a partner, and they together select a word, and the game begins again.


One of the company gets himself up to represent the old man of the woods, the rest take the names of various animals, such as lion, tiger, leopard and so on.

The players seat themselves round the room, and the old man standing in the centre tells them that some of their number have committed a crime and he is about to question them, in order that he may discover the guilty ones. He then begins—"Now, Mr. Lion, where have you been hunting, and what have you eaten to-day?" "I hunted in the forest and caught an antelope." "Then you are twice guilty and must pay two forfeits," says the old man; and the lion must pay his forfeit without being told the crime he has committed. The old man passes on to a Polar Bear. "Where did you hunt and what have you eaten?" he asks.—"I hunted in the water and had a fine fish to eat." The Polar Bear is pronounced innocent. The real game is that no animal may bring in the letter "o" either in their hunting ground or the food they eat. "Forest" and "Antelope" both have an "o" in them, so the lion has to pay two forfeits whereas "Water" and "Fish" having no "o" the bear was declared innocent. The great fun is for the old man to keep the secret of "guilty" or "innocent" to himself; but even if the other players know the secret, it is very difficult not to make a slip, as the answers must be given promptly.

When the game is over the players must pay for their forfeits in any way the old man decides.


Into bits of muslin should be tied samples of groceries—tea, coffee, starch, rice, beans, spices, etc. The players are allowed one guess for each sample, depending entirely upon the sense of feeling, and the one guessing the largest number correctly is given a prize. The hostess should have the samples numbered in order to keep count of the guesses. One young lady has a lot of pretty little silk bags filled with these samples and uses them again and again, and they always bring the same amount of fun.


The leader writes out a short story. It may be a bit of gossip, a newspaper incident or anything he wishes, it should however be rather excitable in character. He reads the story over, that he may whisper it to one of his neighbors without the aid of the paper. The neighbor listens attentively and in turn whispers it to another neighbor, and it is whispered from one to the other until everyone has heard it. The last person to whom the story was told is asked to relate it and then the person who originated the story is asked to read his written copy. It will be almost unbelievable how the facts of the story have changed in the telling. Scarcely ever will the story be accurate in any particular.


One of the players goes out of the room and the players decide upon an object. Let us suppose that the word chosen is chest. The word being agreed upon, the other player is called in. The game is for this player to guess the word by asking the three questions "How do you like it? When do you like it? Where do you like it?" of each person until the word is guessed. For instance, one player is asked:

"How do you like it?"

"Full of gold coins."

"When do you like it?"

"When I am traveling."

"Where do you like it?"

"In a safe place where robbers cannot find it."

And so the game goes on until the guesser knows the word. If he fails to guess it after asking every one of the players the three questions, "How do you like it? When do you like it? Where do you like it?" he must pay a forfeit. The guesser next time is the person who, in making his answer gave away the word decided upon.


To play this game it is best for the players to arrange themselves in a half-circle round the room. Then one begins: "I love my love with an 'A,' because she is affectionate; I hate her with an 'A,' because she is artful. Her name is Alice, she comes from Aberdeen, and I gave her an apricot." The next player says: "I love my love with a 'B,' because she is bonnie; I hate her with a 'B,' because she is boastful. Her name is Bertha, she comes from Bath, and I gave her a book." The next player takes "C," and the next "D," and so on through all the letters of the alphabet.


One of the players is asked to go outside whilst the company think of some person in the room, and on his return he has to guess of whom the company has thought.

The players then arrange themselves in a circle, and agree each to think of his or her right-hand neighbor; it is best to have a girl and boy alternately, as this adds much to the amusement.

The one outside is then called in, and commences to ask questions. Before replying, the player asked must be careful to notice his or her right-hand neighbor, and then give a correct reply. For instance, supposing the first question to be: "Is the person thought of a boy or a girl?" the answer would possibly be "A boy"; the next person would then be asked the color of the complexion, the next one the color of the hair, if long or short, etc., to which questions the answers would, of course, be given according to the right-hand neighbor.

Nearly all the answers will contradict the previous ones, and something like this may be the result: "A boy," "very dark complexion," "long yellow hair," "wearing a black Eton jacket," "with a dark green dress," "five feet high," "about six years old," etc. When the player guessing gives the game up, the joke is explained to him.


A match or small piece of wood is lighted and when well afire blown out. It is then passed from one player to another with the words, "Jack's alive," and may be handed about so long as a live spark remains. The trick is to dispose of Jack while he is still alive but no player needs to take him unless the words, "Jack's alive" are quoted. Jack may not be handed along after he is dead but the player in whose hands he dies must pay a forfeit or have a mustache drawn on his face with the end of the burned stick.


To each member of the company is given the name of a bird or animal by the "Keeper" who is to relate a story of adventure in which the names of the birds and animals are frequently mentioned. At the mention of the word the member of the company bearing that name is to imitate the noise made by the creature named. Failing to do so promptly or imitating the noise of a creature assigned to some one else he or she is required to pay a forfeit. The "keeper" may demand the delinquent player's seat instead of a forfeit and assume his menagerie name while the unseated one becomes the "keeper" and must continue the story.


This game is very similar to that of "I love my love." Each of the players must describe the minister's cat, going right through the alphabet to do so. "The minister's cat is an angry cat," says one; "an anxious cat," says another; and so on until everyone has used an adjective beginning with "A." Then they take the "B's." "The minister's cat is a big cat," and so on.

The leader of the game must see that no one hesitates for a word. If any one should take longer than half a minute he must pay a forfeit.


In this game a confederate is necessary. The player states to the company, after a few remarks on ancient sign-language, that he is able to read signs made with a stick on the floor, and agrees to leave the room whilst the company decide upon some word or sentence.

The game is played as follows:—It is agreed by the player and his confederate that one tap on the floor shall represent A, two taps E, three taps I, four taps O, and five taps U, and that the first letter of each remark the confederate makes shall be one of the consonants of the word or sentence decided upon by the company. The consonants must be taken in order. On the player's return, supposing the word chosen to be "March," his confederate would commence:—"Many people think this game a deception" (initial letter M). One tap on the floor (A). "Really it is very simple" (initial letter R). "Coming to the end soon" (initial letter C). "Hope it has been quite clear" (initial letter H).

A few more signs are made so as not to finish too abruptly, and the player then states the word to be "March." If carefully conducted, this game will interest the audience for a considerable time.


This is a game which causes much amusement to a company of children, and even grown-ups may join in.

All the players, with the exception of two, leave the room. One of the outside party is then called in, and told that a new club has been formed and his name enrolled, but that he cannot be formally admitted unless he can guess the name of the club from the movements of the two members who have remained in the room.

The candidate for admission is then offered a chair, and everything said and every movement made is mimicked by the other two.

Sometimes the new member guesses at once, but when unable to do this it is very funny to watch the effect that the copying of his every movement has upon him, especially when six or seven have been admitted.

When the name of the club has been guessed another candidate is invited in and the same performance takes place.


The leader gives to each of the party the name of some article used by a lady—a glove, fan, handkerchief, slippers, veil, belt, ribbon, brooch, back comb, collar, hairpins, cloak, etc. The players to whom the names of the articles have been given arrange themselves in a circle; one stands in the center and spins a plate. An ordinary tin pie plate may be used. As he spins the plate he says, "My lady is going to the theatre and needs her ——," naming one of the articles assigned to the players. At the mention of this article, the person to whom it has been given comes forward and catches the plate while it is still spinning. If he fails to catch the plate before it falls to the floor he must pay a forfeit. He now takes his turn with the plate, spinning it and using the name of another of the articles.


The players divide themselves into ladies and gentlemen, if the ladies predominate they must personate gentlemen, and vice versa. The gentlemen then proceed to choose lady partners. One of the players next undertakes to question the couples. The fun consists of the questions being put to the lady and the gentleman answering for her. "Do you like your partner?" the lady is asked, and the gentleman may reply, "Yes, I adore him." Whatever the reply the lady is forbidden to deny it; if she does, or if she answers for herself, she must pay a forfeit. But retaliation comes, for when all the ladies have been questioned the gentleman's turn arrives, and the ladies answer for their partners. "What is your favorite occupation?" the question may be, and the lady may answer "Dressing dolls," or "Making mud pies," or anything ridiculous that occurs to her.

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