Games for the Playground, Home, School and Gymnasium
by Jessie H. Bancroft
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Set up and electrotyped. Published, December, 1909.

Norwood Press J. S. Cushing Co.—Berwick & Smith Co. Norwood, Mass., U.S.A.











a. Specifications for Balls, Bean Bags, and Marking Grounds, etc. 297 b. Bean Bag and Oat Sack Games 303 c. Ball Games 319






a. Active Games 440 b. Quiet Games 442


a. Active Games 444 b. Quiet Games 445


a. Active Games 446 b. Quiet Games 447




RING A' ROSES Frontispiece


























PURPOSE AND PLAN.—This book aims to be a practical guide for the player of games, whether child or adult, and for the teacher or leader of games. A wide variety of conditions have been considered, including schools, playgrounds, gymnasiums, boys' and girls' summer camps, adult house parties and country clubs, settlement work, children's parties, and the environment of indoors or out of doors, city or country, summer or winter, the seashore, the woodland, or the snow. The games have been collected from many countries and sources, with a view to securing novel and interesting as well as thoroughly tried and popular material, ranging from traditional to modern gymnasium and athletic games. An especial effort has been made to secure games for particular conditions. Among these may be mentioned very strenuous games for older boys or men; games for the schoolroom; games for large numbers; new gymnasium games such as Nine Court Basket Ball and Double Corner Ball; games which make use of natural material such as stones, pebbles, shells, trees, flowers, leaves, grasses, holes in the sand or earth, and diagrams drawn on the ground.

The description, classification, and arrangement of the games have been made with the steadfast purpose of putting them into the most workable form, easily understood, with suggestions for getting the most sport and playing value out of them, and with means of ready reference to any class of games for use under any of the conditions mentioned. The series of indexes which accomplish this last-mentioned purpose make it possible to classify the games in many different ways, sparing the reader the necessity for hunting through much unrelated material to find that suited to his conditions. The index for schools is essentially a graded course of study in games.

The ball games requiring team play have been described according to an analytic scheme not before used for the class of games given in the present volume, which makes it possible to locate at a glance information about the laying out of the ground, the number, assignment, and duties of players, the object of the game, rules and points of play, fouls, and score. The various kinds of balls are described with official specifications. Diagrams for all kinds of games have been supplied unsparingly, wherever it seemed possible to make clearer the understanding of a game by such means, and pictorial illustration has been used where diagrams were inadequate. The music for all singing games is given with full accompaniment. Suggestions for the teaching and conduct of games are given, with directions for floor formations. Means of counting out and choosing sides and players are described, and one section is devoted to forfeits.

Under each of the main divisions chosen—miscellaneous active games, quiet games, singing games, bean-bag games, and ball games—the material has been arranged in alphabetic order to facilitate ready reference, although a general alphabetic index is appended. In short, the book aims to bring together all related material and every available device for making it readily accessible and easily understood.

* * * * *

[Sidenote: Original research]

SOURCES AND NATURE OF MATERIAL.—The material in this volume, aside from that accumulated through a long experience in the teaching and supervision of games, has been collected through (1) special original research, and (2) bibliographical research. The original research has been made among the foreign population of New York City, where practically the entire world is accessible, and in other sections of the United States. This has resulted in some entirely new games that the writer has not found elsewhere in print. From among these may be mentioned the Greek Pebble Chase, the Russian Hole Ball, the Scotch Keep Moving, the Danish Slipper Slap, and, from our own country, among others, Chickadee-dee from Long Island, and Hip from New Jersey. Entirely new ways of playing games previously recorded have been found, amounting not merely to a variation but to a wholly new form. Such is the method here given for playing Babylon, a form gathered from two different Scotch sources. Another example is the game of Wolf, for which additional features have been found that add greatly to its playing value, especially the rule whereby the wolf, when discovered by the sheep who are hunting for him, shall take a jump toward the sheep before his chase after them begins; or, should he discover them first, the requirement that they take three steps toward him before the chase begins. Such points add greatly to the sport of a game, and with the spoken formulas that accompany them form a rich find for both student and player.

One may not well refer to the original research without mention of the charm of the task itself. It has been one of the sunniest, happiest lines possible to follow, attended invariably with smiling faces and laughter on the part of old or young, native or foreign, the peasant people or those more sophisticated.

[Sidenote: Bibliographical research and results]

The bibliographical research has covered a wide field. Heretofore the principal sources in English for the collector of games have been the invaluable and scholarly folklore compilations of Mr. William Wells Newell (Songs and Games of American Children) and Mrs. Alice B. Gomme (Traditional Games in the Dictionary of British Folk Lore). The earlier British collection by Strutt (Sports and Pastimes of the English People) has also been a source of great value. In the United States considerable collecting and translating of games have from time to time been done by the physical training magazine, Mind and Body. For all modern athletic games an invaluable service has been rendered by Messrs. A. G. Spalding and Brothers in the publication, since 1892, of the Spalding Athletic Library, under the direction of Mr. A. G. Spalding and Mr. James E. Sullivan. The author is greatly indebted to all of these sources. In addition, hundreds of volumes have been consulted in many fields including works of travel, reports of missionaries, etc. This has resulted in games from widely scattered sources, including European countries, the Orient, the Arctic regions, and the North American Indians. While in such a mass of material there are some games that are found in almost all countries, so that one is continually meeting old friends among them, a very considerable harvest of distinctive material has been gathered, eloquent of environment, temperamental, or racial traits. Such, among many others, are the Japanese Crab Race; the Chinese games of Forcing the City Gates, and Letting Out the Doves; the Korean games with flowers and grasses; the North American Indian games of Snow Snake and Rolling Target; and the poetic game of the little Spanish children about the Moon and Stars, played in the boundaries marked by sunshine and shadow.

[Sidenote: Standard Material]

But the object of the book has been by no means to present only novel material. There is an aristocracy of games, classic by all the rights of tradition and popular approval, without which a collection would be as incomplete as would an anthology of English ballads without Robin Hood, Sally in our Alley, or Drink to me only with thine Eyes. These standard games are amply represented, mingled in the true spirit of American democracy with strangers from foreign lands and the new creations of modern athletic practice.

[Sidenote: Local color and humor in games]

The games, old and new, are full of that intimation of environment which the novelist calls local color, often containing in the name alone a comprehensive suggestiveness as great as that of an Homeric epithet. Thus our familiar Cat and Mouse appears in modern Greece as Lamb and Wolf; and the French version of Spin the Platter is My Lady's Toilet, concerned with laces, jewels, and other ballroom accessories instead of our prosaic numbering of players. These changes that a game takes on in different environments are of the very essence of folklore, and some amusing examples are to be found in our own country. For instance, it is not altogether surprising to find a game that is known under another name in the North called, in Southern States, "Ham-Ham-Chicken-Ham-Bacon!" The author found a good example of folklore-in-the-making in the game usually known as "Run, Sheep, Run!" in which a band of hidden players seek their goal under the guidance of signals shouted by a leader. As gathered in a Minnesota town, these signals consisted of colors,—red, blue, green, etc. This same game was found in the city environment of New York under the name of Oyster Sale, and the signals had become pickles, tomatoes, and other articles strongly suggestive of a delicatessen store. The butterfly verse for Jumping Rope is obviously another late production of the folklore spirit.

The lover of childish humor will find many delightful examples of it among the games, as where little Jacky Lingo feeds bread and butter to the sheep (Who Goes Round My Stone Wall?); or the Mother, trying the Old Witch's apple pie, discovers that "It tastes exactly like my child Monday!" The tantalizing "nominies" or "dares," as in Fox and Geese, and Wolf, and the ways in which players are trapped into false starts, as in Black Tom, are also highly amusing.

* * * * *

PRINCIPLES OF SELECTION.—In the selection of material for this work, a marked distinction has been made between games, on the one hand, and, on the other, the unorganized play and constructive activities included in many books of children's games. While the term "play" includes games, so that we "play games," it applies also to informal play activities, such as a child's "playing horse," "playing house," or playing in the sand. In such unorganized play there are no fixed rules, no formal mode of procedure, and generally, no climax to be achieved. The various steps are usually spontaneous, not predetermined, and are subject to individual caprice. In games, on the contrary, as in Blind Man's Buff, Prisoners' Base, or Football, there are prescribed acts subject to rules, generally penalties for defeat or the infringement of rules, and the action proceeds in a regular evolution until it culminates in a given climax, which usually consists in a victory of skill, speed or strength. In a strictly scientific sense, games do not always involve the element of sport or play, being used in many forms among primitive peoples for serious divinatory purposes. It is perhaps needless to say that all of the games in the present collection are for the purpose of sport and recreation.

[Sidenote: Playing values]

The four hundred games here published are selected from a far larger number. No game has been included that has not been considered to have strong playing values, by which term is meant, in addition to other qualities, and above all others, the amount of sport and interest attending it. The points of play that contribute to the success of a game have been secured from experience, and unfamiliar games have been thoroughly tested and the points of play noted for older or younger players, large or small numbers, or other circumstances.

[Sidenote: Elements of games]

Games may be analyzed into certain elements susceptible of classification, such as the elements of formation, shown in the circle form, line form, or opposing groups; other elements are found in modes of contest, as between individuals or groups; tests of strength or skill; methods of capture, as with individual touching or wrestling, or with a missile, as in ball-tag games; or the elements of concealment, or chance, or guessing, or many others. These various elements are like the notes of the scale in music, susceptible of combinations that seem illimitable in variety. Thus in the Greek Pebble Chase, the two elements that enter into the game—that of (1) detecting or guessing who holds a concealed article, and (2) a chase—are neither of them uncommon elements, but in this combination make a game that differs in playing value from any familiar game, and one affording new and genuine interest, as evidenced by the pleasure of children in playing it. Indeed, the interest and sport were fully as great with a group of adult Greek men who first demonstrated this game for the author. This element of guessing which player holds a concealed article is found again in a different combination in the Scotch game of Smuggling the Geg, where it is used with opposing groups and followed by hiding and seeking. This combination makes a wholly different game of it, and one of equal or even superior playing value to the Pebble Chase, though suited to different conditions.

Because of this wonderful variety in combinations, leading to entirely different playing values, the author has found it impossible to agree with some other students of games, that it is practicable to select a few games that contain all of the typical elements of interest. Such limitation seems no more possible than in painting, poetry, music, or any other field of spontaneous imitative or creative expression. There will doubtless always be some games that will have large popular following, playing on the "psychology of the crowd," as well as on that of the players. Thus we have the spectacle of so-called national games, Baseball and Football in America, Handball in Ireland, Pelota in Spain, and so on; but natural expression through games has always been and probably always will be infinitely varied, and should be if the psychology of the subject is to be taken as a guide.

In the arrangement of material there has many times been a strong temptation to classify the games by their historic, geographic, psychologic, or educational interests; by the playing elements contained in them; or by several other possible methods which are of interest chiefly to the academic student; but these have each in turn been discarded in favor of the original intention of making the book preeminently a useful working manual for the player or leader of games.

[Sidenote: Varying modes of play]

The same games are found not only in many different countries and localities, but under different names and with many variations in the form of playing them. This has necessitated a method of analytical study which has been followed with all of the games. A card catalogue has been made of them, and in connection with each game notation has been made of the various names under which it has been found, and details of the differences in the mode or rules of play. The choice of rules or directions has been determined chiefly by the playing values previously alluded to, those directions having been selected which experience has shown to make the most interesting game. Sometimes these differences are so great as to amount to a different game, or one suited to different ages of players. In a few instances, as with Prisoners' Base, Captain Ball, Zigzag Ball, etc., it has seemed best to present several typical forms of the same game with an analytic statement of the differences, leaving the leader to select the form best adapted to his conditions. At no time, however, has there been any attempt to present all games or all forms of any one game. That would be merely to make a compendium of all possible material. A purposeful selection has been made throughout.

The choice of names could not well be made on any one principle. Wherever feasible, the name that has seemed to have the widest vogue has been adopted. In other instances it has appeared best to make a different selection to avoid too great similarity in names. Some games, especially those from foreign sources, came without names and have had to be christened. In the case of several modern adaptations of old games, a name bestowed by some previous worker has been continued, if especially descriptive or appropriate.

[Sidenote: Games for boys and girls]

No distinction has been made in general between games for boys and girls. The modern tendency of gymnasium and athletic practice is away from such distinctions, and is concerned more with the time limits or other conditions for playing a game than with the game itself. This is a question that varies so much with the previous training and condition of players on the one hand, and on personal opinion or prejudice on the other, that it has been thought best to leave it for decision in each individual case.

* * * * *

THE USES OF GAMES.—The use of games for both children and adults has a deep significance for the individual and the community through the conservation of physical, mental, and moral vitality.

[Sidenote: Sense perceptions]

Games have a positive educational influence that no one can appreciate who has not observed their effects. Children who are slow, dull, and lethargic; who observe but little of what goes on around them; who react slowly to external stimuli; who are, in short, slow to see, to hear, to observe, to think, and to do, may be completely transformed in these ways by the playing of games. The sense perceptions are quickened: a player comes to see more quickly that the ball is coming toward him; that he is in danger of being tagged; that it is his turn; he hears the footstep behind him, or his name or number called; he feels the touch on the shoulder; or in innumerable other ways is aroused to quick and direct recognition of and response to, things that go on around him. The clumsy, awkward body becomes agile and expert: the child who tumbles down to-day will not tumble down next week; he runs more fleetly, dodges with more agility, plays more expertly in every way, showing thereby a neuro-muscular development.

[Sidenote: Social development]

The social development through games is fully as important and as pronounced. Many children, whether because of lonely conditions at home, or through some personal peculiarity, do not possess the power readily and pleasantly to cooeperate with others. Many of their elders lack this facility also, and there is scarcely anything that can place one at a greater disadvantage in business or society, or in any of the relations of life. The author has known case after case of peculiar, unsocial, even disliked children, who have come into a new power of cooeperation and have become popular with their playmates through the influence of games. The timid, shrinking child learns to take his turn with others; the bold, selfish child learns that he may not monopolize opportunities; the unappreciated child gains self-respect and the respect of others through some particular skill that makes him a desired partner or a respected opponent. He learns to take defeat without discouragement and to win without undue elation. In these and in many other ways are the dormant powers for social cooeperation developed, reaching the highest point at last in the team games where self is subordinated to the interests of the team, and cooeperation is the very life of the game.

[Sidenote: Will training]

Most important of all, however, in the training that comes through games, is the development of will. The volitional aspect of the will and its power of endurance are plainly seen to grow in power of initiative; in courage to give "dares" and to take risks; in determination to capture an opponent, to make a goal, or to win the game. But probably the most valuable training of all is that of inhibition—that power for restraint and self-control which is the highest aspect of the will and the latest to develop. The little child entering the primary school has very little of this power of inhibition. To see a thing he would like is to try to get it; to want to do a thing is to do it; he acts impulsively; he does not possess the power to restrain movement and to deliberate. A large part of the difficulty of the training of children at home and at school lies in the fact that this power of the will for restraint and self-control is undeveloped. So-called "willfulness" is a will in which the volitional power has not yet been balanced with this inhibitive power. One realizes in this way the force of Matthew Arnold's definition of character as "a completely fashioned will."

There is no agency that can so effectively and naturally develop power of inhibition as games. In those of very little children there are very few, if any, restrictions; but as players grow older, more and more rules and regulations appear, requiring greater and greater self-control—such as not playing out of one's turn; not starting over the line in a race until the proper signal; aiming deliberately with the ball instead of throwing wildly or at haphazard; until again, at the adolescent age, the highly organized team games and contests are reached, with their prescribed modes of play and elaborate restrictions and fouls. There could not be in the experience of either boy or girl a more live opportunity than in these advanced games for acquiring the power of inhibitory control, or a more real experience in which to exercise it. To be able, in the emotional excitement of an intense game or a close contest, to observe rules and regulations; to choose under such circumstances between fair or unfair means and to act on the choice, is to have more than a mere knowledge of right and wrong. It is to have the trained power and habit of acting on such knowledge,—a power and habit that mean immeasurably for character. It is for the need of such balanced power that contests in the business world reach the point of winning at any cost, by fair means or foul. It is for the need of such trained and balanced power of will that our highways of finance are strewn with the wrecks of able men. If the love of fair play, a sense of true moral values, and above all, the power and habit of will to act on these can be developed in our boys and girls, it will mean immeasurably for the uplift of the community.

[Sidenote: Evolution of play interests]

The natural interests of a normal child lead him to care for different types of games at different periods of his development. In other words, his own powers, in their natural evolution, seek instinctively the elements in play that will contribute to their own growth. When games are studied from this viewpoint of the child's interests, they are found to fall into groups having pronounced characteristics at different age periods.

[Sidenote: Games for various ages]

Thus, the little child of six years enjoys particularly games in which there is much repetition, as in most of the singing games; games involving impersonation, appealing to his imagination and dramatic sense, as where he becomes a mouse, a fox, a sheepfold, a farmer, etc.; or games of simple chase (one chaser for one runner) as distinguished from the group-chasing of a few years later. His games are of short duration, reaching their climax quickly and making but slight demand on powers of attention and physical endurance; they require but little skill and have very few, if any, rules, besides the mere question of "taking turns." In short, they are the games suited to undeveloped powers in almost every particular but that of imagination.

Two or three years later these games are apt to seem "babyish" to a child and to lose interest for him. His games then work through a longer evolution before reaching their climax, as where an entire group of players instead of one has to be caught before the game is won, as in Red Lion, Pom Pom Pullaway, etc. He can watch more points of interest at once than formerly, and choose between several different possible modes of play, as in Prisoners' Base. He gives "dares," runs risks of being caught, and exercises his courage in many ways. He uses individual initiative instead of merely playing in his turn. This is the age of "nominies," in which the individual player hurls defiance at his opponents with set formulas, usually in rhyme. Players at this time band together in many of their games in opposing groups, "choosing sides"—the first simple beginning of team play. Neuro-muscular skill increases, as shown in ball play and in agile dodging. Endurance for running is greater.

When a child is about eleven or twelve years of age, some of these characteristics decline and others equally pronounced take their place. "Nominies" disappear and games of simple chase (tag games) decline in interest. Races and other competitive forms of running become more strenuous, indicating a laudable instinct to increase thereby the muscular power of the heart, at a time when its growth is much greater proportionately than that of the arteries, and the blood pressure is consequently greater. A very marked feature from now on is the closer organization of groups into what is called team play. Team play bears to the simpler group play which precedes it an analogous relation in some respects to that between modern and primitive warfare. In primitive warfare the action of the participants was homogeneous; that is, each combatant performed the same kind of service as did every other combatant and largely on individual initiative. The "clash of battle and the clang of arms" meant an individual contest for every man engaged. In contrast to this there is, in modern warfare, a distribution of functions, some combatants performing one kind of duty and others another, all working together to the common end. In the higher team organizations of Basket Ball, Baseball, Football, there is such a distribution of functions, some players being forwards, some throwers, some guards, etc., though these parts are often taken in rotation by the different players. The strongest characteristic of team play is the cooeperation whereby, for instance, a ball is passed to the best thrower, or the player having the most advantageous position for making a goal. A player who would gain glory for himself by making a sensational play at the risk of losing for his team does not possess the team spirit. The traits of character required and cultivated by good team work are invaluable in business and social life. They are among the best possible traits of character. This class of games makes maximal demands upon perceptive powers and ability to react quickly and accurately upon rapidly shifting conditions, requiring quick reasoning and judgment. Organization play of this sort begins to acquire a decided interest at about eleven or twelve years of age, reaches a strong development in the high schools, and continues through college and adult life.

[Sidenote: Relation between development and play]

Such are the main characteristics of the games which interest a child and aid his development at different periods. They are all based upon a natural evolution of physical and psychological powers that can be only hinted at in so brief a sketch. Any one charged with the education or training of a child should know the results of modern study in these particulars.

The fullest and most practical correlation of our knowledge of the child's evolution to the particular subject of play that has yet been presented is that of Mr. George E. Johnson, Superintendent of Playgrounds in Pittsburgh, and formerly Superintendent of Schools in Andover, Mass., in Education by Plays and Games. The wonderful studies in the psychology of play by Karl Groos (The Play of Animals and The Play of Man), and the chapter by Professor William James on Instinct, show how play activities are expressions of great basic instincts that are among the strongest threads in the warp and woof of character—instincts that should have opportunity to grow and strengthen by exercise, as in play and games. We have come to realize that play, in games and other forms, is nature's own way of developing and training power. As Groos impressively says, "We do not play because we are young; we have a period of youth so that we may play."

The entire psychology of play bears directly on the subject of games. Indeed, although the study of games in their various aspects is of comparatively recent date, the bibliography bearing on the subject, historic, scientific, psychologic, and educational, is enormous and demands a distinct scholarship of its own.

[Sidenote: Age classification]

It is highly desirable that a teacher should know the significance of certain manifestations in a child's play interests. If they should not appear in due time, they should be encouraged, just as attention is given to the hygiene of a child who is under weight for his age. But it should not be inferred that any hard and fast age limits may be set for the use of different plays and games. To assign such limits would be a wholly artificial procedure, and yet is one toward which there is sometimes too strong a tendency. A certain game cannot be prescribed for a certain age as one would diagnose and prescribe for a malady. Nothing in the life of either child or adult is more elastic than his play interests. Play would not be play were this otherwise. The caprice of mood and circumstance is of the very soul of play in any of its forms.

The experience of the writer has been chiefly away from dogmatic limitations in the use of games. Very young players and adults alike may find the greatest pleasure and interest in the same game. Previous training or experience, conditions of fatigue, the circumstances of the moment, and many other considerations determine the suitableness of games. To illustrate, the author has known the game of Three Deep, which is one of the best gymnasium games for men, to be played with great interest and ability by a class of six-year-old boys; and the same game stupidly and uninterestedly bungled over by a class of much older boys who had not had previous training in games and were not alert and resourceful. Similarly, the comparatively simple game of Bombardment may be interesting and refreshing for a class of tired business men, while high-school pupils coming to care largely for team play may prefer Battle Ball, a more closely organized game of the same type. In general, boys and girls dislike the mode of play they have just outgrown, but the adult often comes again to find the greatest pleasure in the simpler forms, and this without reaching second childhood.

[Sidenote: Graded course of study on games]

The index of games for elementary and high schools contained in this volume constitutes a graded course based on experimental study of children's interests. This grading of the games for schools is made, not with the slightest belief or intention that the use of a game should be confined to any particular grade or age of pupils, but largely, among other considerations, because it has been found advantageous in a school course to have new material in reserve as pupils progress. The games have usually been listed for the earliest grade in which they have been found, on the average, of sufficient interest to be well played, with the intention that they be used thereafter in any grade where they prove interesting. This school index by grades, which includes most of the games, will be found a general guide for the age at which a given game is suitable under any circumstances.

[Sidenote: Relation of games to school life]

The relation of games to a school programme is many-sided. To sit for a day in a class room observing indications of physical and mental strain and fatigue is to be convinced beyond question that the schoolroom work and conditions induce a tremendous nervous strain, not only through prolonged concentration on academic subjects, but through the abnormal repression of movement and social intercourse that becomes necessary for the maintenance of discipline and proper conditions of study. As a session advances, there is needed a steady increase in the admonitions that restrain neuro-muscular activity as shown in the unnecessary handling of books and pencils and general restlessness; also restraint of a desire to use the voice and communicate in a natural outlet of the social instinct. One is equally impressed with the prolonged continuance of bad postures, in which the chest is narrowed and depressed, the back and shoulders rounded forward, and the lungs, heart, and digestive organs crowded upon one another in a way that impedes their proper functioning and induces passive congestion. In short, the nervous strain for both pupil and teacher, the need for vigorous stimulation of respiration and circulation, for an outlet for the repressed social and emotional nature, for the correction of posture, and for a change from abstract academic interests, are all largely indicated. Nothing can correct the posture but formal gymnastic work selected and taught for that purpose; but the other conditions may be largely and quickly relieved through the use of games. Even five minutes in the class room will do this,—five minutes of lively competition, of laughter, and of absorbing involuntary interest. The more physical activity there is in this the better, and fifteen minutes of even freer activity in the fresh air of the playground is more than fifteen times better.

The typical school recess is a sad apology for such complete refreshment of body and mind. A few pupils take the center of the field of play, while the large majority, most of whom are in greater need of the exercise, stand or walk slowly around the edges, talking over the teacher and the lesson. An organized recess, by which is meant a programme whereby only enough classes go to the playground at one time to give opportunity for all of the pupils to run and play at once, does away with these objections, if some little guidance or leadership be given the children for lively games. The best discipline the writer has ever seen, in either class room or playground, has been where games are used, the privilege of play being the strongest possible incentive to instant obedience before and after. Besides, with such a natural outlet for repressed instincts, their ebullition at the wrong time is not so apt to occur. Many principals object to recesses because of the moral contamination for which those periods are often responsible. The author has had repeated and convincing testimony of the efficacy of games to do away with this objection. The game becomes the one absorbing interest of recess, and everything else gives way before it. Dr. Kratz, Superintendent of Schools in Sioux City, Iowa, was one of the first school superintendents in the country to go on record for this benefit from games, and much fuller experience has accumulated since.

[Sidenote: Sociological and economic significance of games]

The growth of large cities has been so comparatively recent that we are only beginning to realize the limitations they put upon normal life in many ways and the need for special effort to counterbalance these limitations. The lack of opportunity for natural play for children and young people is one of the saddest and most harmful in its effects upon growth of body and character. The number of children who have only the crowded city streets to play in is enormous, and any one visiting the public schools in the early fall days may readily detect by the white faces those who have had no other opportunity to benefit by the summer's fresh air and sunshine. The movement to provide public playgrounds for children and more park space for all classes in our cities is one connected vitally with the health, strength, and endurance of the population. The crusade against tuberculosis has no stronger ally. Indeed, vital resistance to disease in any form must be increased by such opportunities for fresh air, sunshine, and exercise. This whole question of the building up of a strong physique is an economic one, bearing directly on the industrial power of the individual, and upon community expenditures for hospitals and other institutions for the care of the dependent and disabled classes.

The crippling of moral power is found to be fully as much involved with these conditions as is the weakening of physical power. Police departments have repeatedly reported that the opening of playgrounds has resulted in decrease of the number of arrests and cases of juvenile crime in their vicinity; also decrease of adult disturbances resulting from misdeeds of the children. They afford a natural and normal outlet for energies that otherwise go astray in destruction of property, altercations, and depredations of many sorts, so that the cost of a playground is largely offset by the decreased cost for detection and prosecution of crime, reformatories, and related agencies.

[Sidenote: Children of the rich]

It would be a mistake to think that the children of the poor are the only ones who need the physical and moral benefit of normal childish play. One is forced to the conclusion that many children of the rich are even more to be pitied, for the shackles of conventionality enslave them from the outset. Many are blase with opera and picture exhibits—typical forms of pleasure for the adult of advanced culture—without ever having had the free laughter and frolic of childhood. That part of the growing-up process most essential for character is literally expunged from life for them. One need spend but an hour in a city park to see that many children are restrained from the slightest running or frolic because it would soil their clothes or be otherwise "undesirable." The author recalls a private school for girls in which laughter was checked at recess because it was "unlady-like."

[Sidenote: Teachers of games]

In contrast to this barbarous repression are some delightful instances of provision for normal childish play and exercise for such children. In one of our large Eastern cities a teacher was employed for several seasons to play games with a group of children on a suburban lawn to which all repaired twice a week. This was genuine play, full of exercise and sport and laughter. In another Eastern city a teacher was similarly employed for many seasons to coach a Basket Ball team in the small rear area of the typical city residence. Teachers of physical training and others are doing much to organize this sort of exercise, including tramping clubs and teams for cross-country runs, and the encouragement of Tether Ball and other games suited to limited conditions.

[Sidenote: Investment-value of recreation]

As a nation we are slow to learn the value of recreation. We go to the extremes of using it either not at all or so excessively as to exhaust nervous energy to the point where "the day we most need a holiday is the day after a holiday." This may be different when we learn more fully that the recuperative power of short intervals of complete relaxation has a genuine investment value. The increased output of energy afterward, the happier spirits, prolonged endurance, clearer thinking, and the greater ease and pleasure with which work is done, more than compensate for the time required. It has been stated that one large manufacturing concern has found it greatly to its advantage to give a daily recess period to its employees at its own expense, the loss of working time being compensated in the quality of the output following, which shows, for instance, in the fewer mistakes that have to be rectified. The welfare work of our large stores and factories should provide opportunity, facilities, and leadership for recreative periods of this character.

[Sidenote: Brain workers]

For the brain worker such benefit from periods of relaxation is even more apparent. Our strenuous and complicated civilization makes more and more necessary the fostering of means for complete change of thought. When this can be coupled with invigorating physical exercise, as in active games, it is doubly beneficial; but whether games be active or quiet, the type of recreation found in them for both child and adult is of especial value. It affords an emotional stimulus and outlet, an opportunity for social cooeperation, an involuntary absorption of attention, and generally an occasion for hearty laughter, that few other forms of recreation supply.

The list in this volume of games for house parties and country clubs is given with the hope of making games more available for adults, though with the knowledge that guests on such occasions take in a wide range of ages, and many games for young people are included. These are equally appropriate for the home circle. In addition, the so-called gymnasium games offer some of the finest recreative exercise.

[Sidenote: Play of adults with children]

The author would like to make a special plea for the playing together of adults and children. The pleasure to the child on such occasions is small compared to the pleasure and benefit that may be derived by the grown-up. To hold, in this way, to that youth of spirit which appreciates and enters into the clear-eyed sport and frolic of the child, is to have a means of renewal for the physical, mental, and moral nature. In a large city in the Middle West there is a club formed for the express purpose of giving the parents who are members an opportunity to enjoy their children in this way. The club meets one evening a week. It is composed of a few professional and business men and their wives and children. It meets at the various homes, the hostess being responsible for the programme, which consists of musical or other numbers (rendered partly by the children and partly by the adults), of occasional dancing, and of games, some of which must always call for the mutual participation of the children and their elders. A more beautiful idea for a club could scarcely be devised. It is also a tragic fact that, lacking such an occasion, many parents have little opportunity to enjoy their children, or, alas! even to know them.

[Sidenote: Games in country life]

Another illustration may indicate even more strongly the benefits from such social gatherings of adults and children. In a small town where the young boys and girls spent more evenings than seemed wise in places of public amusement, a teacher of physical training not long ago opened a class for them expressly to meet this situation. The programme included games, dancing, and formal exercise, and a special effort was made to teach things of this sort that might be used for gatherings at home. The class fulfilled its object so well that the parents themselves became interested, began to attend the sessions and participate in the games, until they were an integral part of all that went on,—a wholesome and delightful association for all concerned, and one that practically ended the tendencies it was designed to overcome.

Mr. Myron T. Scudder, in his practical and stimulating pamphlet on games for country children (Country Play; A Field Day and Play Picnic for Country Children. Pub. by Charities, N.Y.), points out a very real factor in the failure of American country life to hold its young people when he cites the lack of stimulation, organization, and guidance for the play activities of the young. It is a mistaken idea that country children and youths have through the spaciousness of environment alone all that they need of play. Organization and guidance are often needed more than for the city children whose instincts for social combination are more acute.

* * * * *

ORIGINS.—One may not close even a brief sketch of games and their uses without reference to the topic of origins. This has been studied chiefly from two different viewpoints, that of ethnology, in which the work of Mr. Stewart Culin is preeminent, and that of folklore, in which in English Mrs. Gomme and Mr. Newell have done the most extensive work. Both of these modes of study lead to the conclusion that the great mass of games originated in the childhood of the race as serious religious or divinitory rites. Indeed, many are so used among primitive peoples to-day. Very few games are of modern invention, though the development of many to the high point of organization and skill in which we know them is very recent. Basket Ball was a deliberate invention, by Dr. James Naismith, then of Springfield, Mass., in 1892; Base Ball and Tennis, as we know them, were developed during the last half century from earlier and simpler forms; Indoor Base Ball was devised by Mr. George W. Hancock, of Chicago, in 1887; Battle Ball and Curtain Ball, both popular gymnasium games, were devised by Dr. Dudley Allen Sargent, of Harvard University.

In ethnology the study of the origin and distribution of games "furnishes," says Mr. Culin, "the most perfect existing evidence of the underlying foundation of mythic concepts upon which so much of the fabric of our culture is built." The most scientific work on the entire subject of games lies in this direction. As revealed by board and other implement games the element of sport does not originally inhere in a game, the procedure being a rite of magic or religion, pursued mainly as a means of divination. In Mr. Culin's opinion, "the plays of children must be regarded apart from games, being dramatic and imitative, although copying games as they [the children] copy other affairs of life, and thus often preserving remains of ceremonials of remote antiquity."

From the folklore viewpoint Mrs. Gomme and Mr. Newell have brought to bear on games a wealth of knowledge of old customs and beliefs, discerning thereby a significance that might otherwise pass unnoticed and unappreciated. Thus we have the recognition of old well-worship rites in the little singing game "Draw a Bucket of Water"; of ancient house ritual in some of the dramatic games; in others the propitiation of deities that preside over the fertility of the fields; survivals of border warfare; of old courtship and marriage observances, and many other rites and customs. Sometimes this recognition is merely one of analogy or association, leading to a surmise of the origin of a game; sometimes it is supported by old records and drawings or references found in early literature. While often not so exact as the strictly scientific method, this folklore study throws a flood of light on the heritage of games that passes from child to child, giving to the subject added dignity and worth. One comes to appreciate that the childhood bereft of this heritage has lost a pleasure that is its natural right, as it would if brought up in ignorance of Jack the Giant Killer, Beauty and the Beast, or Robinson Crusoe.

The class of games studied by the folklorists mentioned includes mainly those of active and dramatic character as distinguished from the board and implement games. Mrs. Gomme sees in their form, method of playing, the dialogue often included, and the fact of their continuance from generation to generation, an expression of the dramatic instinct, and considers them a valuable adjunct in the study of the beginnings of the drama. The student of games must find of great interest Mrs. Gomme's classification by formation, the line form being considered to represent, or to have grown out of, a contest between people from different countries or localities; the circle formation a representation of customs prevailing in one village, town, or tribe, and so on, with the arch form or tug of war, the winding-up games (as in Snail), etc.

Viewed in this light of their origin, games are especially fascinating. They take one back to the atmosphere that pervades romance: to quaint chronicles of kings and courtiers setting forth in brilliant train for some game that is the heritage of the child of to-day; to ladies-in-waiting on the Queen playing Babylon; to shepherds congregating on the moors, or early village communities dividing, over some forerunner of our college Football; to village lads and lasses dodging through the cornstalks with Barley Break, or milkmaids playing Stool Ball with their stools. For while it is rightly said that the serious occupations of adults at one period become the games of children at another, the statement omits an intermediate fact that strongly impresses the student of games: namely, that these activities, which at first were serious rites have been used for sport by adults themselves before being handed down to children; as though the grown folk should masquerade for a time in their outworn garments before passing them on to following generations. Considering the varied interests that find expression in these games, one is further impressed with the fact that humanity passes thus in review its entire range of experience, transmuting into material for sport the circumstances of love and hatred, sorrow and rejoicing, fear and veneration. Nothing is too exalted or humble, too solemn or fearsome, to be the subject of these frolic events. Nature in all her panoply is here in dramatized form or reference—earth, stone, fire, and water; verdure and the kingdom of living things from beast to man; the seasons and the planets. Industry, love and war, fiends and deities, death itself and the hereafter, all pass in review, for one who sees the hidden significance, like a panorama of existence, as they passed, a plaything and a jest, before the gods of Olympus. It would seem as though humanity, viewing in long perspective its own experiences, had found them all at last fit subjects to

"Beget the smiles that have no cruelty."

* * * * *

One dares to hope that this little craft, bearing as it does such a freight of gladness, may leave behind a wake of cheer, and laughter, and happiness.


MARCH, 1909.


Detailed acknowledgment is made throughout the volume to various authors and publishers. A general assurance of most grateful appreciation is here tendered to many who have responded with material and suggestions in the research, and to the numerous teachers whose resourcefulness has led to the adaptation of many games to school conditions. The author regrets the impracticability of mentioning all of these by name.

Especial acknowledgment is due Mrs. Marie Talbot Constant for most valuable and varied assistance, particularly in bibliographical research and cataloguing of games; and to Miss Lilian M. McConville for testing and adapting many foreign games collected for the present volume.


The following suggestions are made with a view to the use of games under any circumstances, though many of them apply especially to large numbers of players under the guidance of a teacher or leader, as in playgrounds and schools.

The leader or teacher of a playground should approach his or her work largely in the spirit of the host or hostess whose duty it is to see that each individual guest is happy and has opportunity to share all of the pleasures of the occasion. But much more than this is involved in the relation of teacher and pupil. The teacher of games, or leader of children's play, needs, like all teachers, to have a sympathetic personal understanding of the players; a quick insight into character and motive; a knowledge of what to look for in the child's development at different periods, as indicated in the Introduction; and to be, in short, guide, philosopher, and friend.

The teacher should never hesitate, from questions of personal dignity, to participate in the play of children. Nothing can more quickly gain the respect and affection of a child than such participation. Every adult can doubtless recall the extreme pleasure experienced in childhood when some grown person entered into the childish play. In schools, where there is necessarily so much of formal discipline and dealing with large numbers en masse, one of the most valuable effects of games is to produce a more natural and sympathetic relationship between teacher and pupil, and a fuller appreciation on the part of the teacher of child nature. This effect from the use of games has been noted by scores of teachers, even those who were at first opposed to such use.

Every teacher will have his or her individual methods for teaching, discipline, and management of games. The following general suggestions, however, are the result of experience, and may be of assistance to the novice, at least.

[Sidenote: How to teach a game]

The best method of teaching a game is to make a full explanation of it before the pupils take their places to play. If this be in a schoolroom, illustrative diagrams may often be drawn on the blackboard, and it is sometimes helpful, there or elsewhere, to have a few pupils go slowly (not running) through the general form of the game, to illustrate it to the others. In a playground the same method may be used by having the players sit, if that be feasible, or by halting them in a march or after gymnastic exercises, to listen to the explanation. Never try to teach and play a game at the same time. The only exception to this rule should be where there is a large and disorderly crowd with which to deal. Then it may occasionally be best to start a game to gain interest and attention, and then halt for further explanation.

[Sidenote: Class and group games]

It often becomes necessary for the sake of discipline and unity to unite all of the players in a playground in one game. Comparatively few games, however, are successful when played by very large numbers. A special index has been prepared of such games, however, and will be found at the end of the present volume. Classes may often be brought into order and attention in a playground by the simple device of marching, the march to end in one game for all of the players, or several games in groups.

An indication that too many players are taking part in a game is almost invariably to be found in a lack of interest on the part of the players, arising usually from the infrequency with which each player gets an opportunity to participate. The ultimate test of any game, however, from the recreative standpoint must be one of interest, and this is often found among players who are not participating in the action if competition be close. A teacher should watch closely for waning interest, and may often save the situation by dividing the players into two or more groups. Many games that are commonly listed for as many as sixty players are given in the present index as useful for "thirty or more." By this is meant that the best playing values of the game are lost when played by more than thirty, although it is possible to use the game with a larger number. Very frequently even these games are far better played by smaller groups.

A resourceful teacher will find many ways of adapting games to large numbers. Among such devices may be mentioned (1) increasing the number of runners and chasers; for instance, in the game of Cat and Rat, there may be several cats and several rats; (2) in the circle games of simple character, especially the singing games, the circle may be duplicated, thus having two concentric circles, one within the other; (3) in many ball games it will be found possible to put more than one ball in play, as in Bombardment or Circle Club Bowls. Such suggestions as this are often made in the present volume in connection with the description of the games.

Group play, by which is meant the division of a large number of players into smaller squads or groups, is undoubtedly the best method for getting the best sport and the greatest playing values out of most games. Such a division of players is not always an easy matter to inaugurate, untrained players being inclined to follow the teacher from point to point in the playground. This may be obviated by appointing group leaders, each of whom should understand the game to be played and be appointed to take charge of it. Older children, and almost invariably the children who are disorderly or inclined to disturb the general harmony and discipline of the playground, are the best ones to charge with such responsibility. This method serves the double purpose of quelling their disorderly propensities by occupying them in a position of responsibility, and takes care of a group of players at the same time. When the group method is used in schools, it is advisable to appoint the leaders of the groups, or allow the children to elect them, before leaving the class room for the playground.

[Sidenote: Choice of games]

The choice of games to be played should be left to a vote or suggestion of the players. The teacher's function in this regard is to suggest, not to dictate. In schools this choice may generally best be made in the class room, before a class goes to the playground.

A teacher should be ready with suggestions for new games or occupation of some sort when interest wanes in a game that is being played; but a new game should not be suggested until there is evidence that players are tired of the old one. Do not make the mistake of thinking that children want to play games incessantly during a half-day session of a playground. Children like quiet pursuits occasionally as well as do adults, and it is well to alternate games with such quiet periods and also with marching, gymnastics, folk dancing, or periods of free activity. So-called quiet games will be found useful under such circumstances.

[Sidenote: Discipline]

Each playground leader or teacher should be provided with a whistle. This saves a great deal of strain on the voice, and should be understood from the outset to command instant quiet, all play to be suspended when it is heard. The most joyous play goes always with the best discipline. Both children and adult players like strength and decision in a teacher or leader. Indeed, they instinctively place themselves under the leadership of the decided and dominant characters among themselves. It has been the experience of the author that discipline in schools is greatly helped by the playing of games, partly because the privilege of play or its loss is one of the strongest incentives to order at other times, but also because of the happy outlet afforded for normal tendencies and the disciplinary training of the games themselves.

[Sidenote: Playing values]

Get the playing values out of games. By this is meant, see that every child gets as much opportunity as possible for participation in the actual physical exercise of the game and in all the phases of play that make him a successful, alert, resourceful player. The result of this and the test of it will be the amount of interest and sport in the games. Do not make the games too serious. Get laughter and frolic out of them.

Encourage timid pupils to give dares and to take risks. No class of players needs more sympathetic or tactful understanding and help from a teacher than the timid. Such children often suffer greatly through their shyness. They should first be brought into play in some form of game that does not make them conspicuous; one, for instance, in which they do what all the other players do, or merely take turns. Such children should be encouraged by praise of their successful efforts, and especial care should be taken not to call attention to their failures.

See that the selfish or most capable children do not have the lion's share of the play; the opportunities should be equally distributed. It is often necessary for a teacher to distinguish between self-assertiveness, which is a natural phase of the development of the sense of individuality, or selfishness and "bullying," which are exaggerated forms of the same tendency. Both may need repression and guidance, but only the latter are reprehensible.

Encourage each pupil to be alert to see when it is his turn and to be quick in play. Every game should be a sense-training game, developing power for quick perception of external stimuli and quick and expert reaction to such stimuli.

In chasing games, encourage interesting chases, the runner to take unexpected turns and dodges, making capture difficult. The shortest distance between two points for a chase often makes a dull game, devoid of sport.

Young players will need to be helped to use reason and judgment in games, as to when to run risks of capture, how to attack the opponent's weakest point, etc.

Do not treat children as though they were made of glass and fear to see them tumble down. Every child, boy or girl, ought to be able to bear a few falls, knocks, and bruises. This is nature's way of training a child to be more observant or agile. Besides, physical hardihood is one of the best possible results from the playing of games. Do not coddle a child who has received an injury. Cultivate a stoic spirit. If it be a slight injury, have the child go on with his play and he will soon forget it. If it require treatment of any sort, take the player at once away from the playground or vicinity of the other players and apply first-aid remedies until medical assistance can be obtained.

[Sidenote: Team play]

Team play is one of the highest forms of play. The teacher should look for the beginning of the tendency toward it as shown in a fondness for the play of opposing groups, manifest from ten to twelve years of age. This tendency should be encouraged and developed into more closely organized types of team games. The greatest value of team play lies in the cooeperation of the players, all working together for a common end, a player's thought and effort being to do what is best for his team rather than to use his skill for individual glory.

[Sidenote: Enforcement of rules]

The number and difficulty of rules and regulations governing a game go through a steady increase as children grow older. The games for very little children have practically no rules except the following of turns in rotation. Later come such games as those in which a player's turn comes only on a given signal, and it is a foul to start before this signal, as in relay races. Many other types of rules appear as the games progress. These reach their culmination in ball games where, amid the excitement of a game, a player must exercise heedfulness and restraint in the method of playing upon a ball, the range of movement allowed from a given base, and many other points.

A teacher should understand clearly that the inhibitive power of the will necessary for the observation of rules is a slow and late development, and that its training by means of rules is one of the most important educational features in the use of games. (See Introduction.) Players should therefore not be expected to take part in a game that is much beyond their power in this regard. A teacher should not announce a rule unless sure that it is reasonable to expect the players to observe it. Having announced a rule, however, enforce it to the full extent. To condone the infringement of a rule is equivalent to a lie in its injury to the moral nature of a player. It is a weak-willed teacher who does not enforce rules. Players will respect far more a strict disciplinarian than a weak one. Every player who infringes a rule should suffer the full penalty therefor. Only by such means can there be trained the strength of will to avoid such infringement in the future, for it should be repeated that such infringements are not always the result of intentional cheating. They indicate very often an undeveloped power of will, and the teacher should be able to discriminate between the sneaking cowardice that would win unfairly and mere lack of power. Both causes, however, should lead to the same result of suffering the full penalty for any infringement of rules.

[Sidenote: Honor]

Teach players to play to win—with all their might. But with this cultivate a sense of honor. Have them realize that any victory not earned strictly by their own merits or those of their team is a disgrace rather than a cause for congratulation. No better opportunity can ever be found for inculcating the knowledge that to be trusted is far greater than to be praised. A player should scorn rewards not based on merit, and should be led to feel that a defeat resulting from an honest trial of strength is an honorable defeat; that the real issue is as much concerned with the amount of effort put forth as with the comparative results of it measured with some other player. A defeated player should be led to recognize and do honor to the prowess of his adversary, and so to congratulate him honestly. A sense of superior power should never degenerate into gloating over a defeated adversary or into contempt for his weaker ability. Many thrilling examples of honest mutual admiration between victor and vanquished may be gleaned from the history of warfare, as when Grant handed back the sword of surrender to Lee.

In athletic games players should learn that to question or dispute the decision of judges or other officials presiding over games is thoroughly unsportsmanlike and a species of dishonor. Having once placed themselves under officials, decisions must be accepted without cavil at the time. The natural desire to learn how a decision was reached in an athletic event must be held in check until the judges have opportunity to announce fouls or other features of scoring that determine the result. It should always be borne in mind, by both players and coaches, that the officials, who are each concentrating on some one feature of the play, know what happens far more accurately than the general observer. It is also thoroughly unsportsmanlike, and counts as a foul, disqualifying a player, if he receive directions or coaching of any sort from an instructor during a game.

FLOOR FORMATION.—The terms "formation" and "floor formation" are commonly used to designate the placing of players in the playground and gymnasium in the lines, circles, groups, or opposing sides, necessary for the starting of a game. To accomplish this disposition of the players quickly and without confusion requires a clear knowledge of methods on the part of the teacher. Some methods are here offered, but before giving them in detail a word should be said of the differing psychological effects of the various formations.

The circle or ring formation has a pronounced tendency toward a spirit of unity among players. Each player may see and become somewhat acquainted with all other players in a group, in a way not practicable in any other formation. Any one who has met strangers at a dinner party or committee meeting gathered at a round table will comprehend the significance of this. In the kindergarten, this principle is used largely, each day's exercises opening with the pupils in a circle. A game in circle formation is therefore often one of the best means of making acquainted players who are strangers to each other, and of giving a sense of united interest to a heterogeneous group.

The sense of being united in a common interest, or esprit de corps, may be gained to some extent in some general forms of playground activities such as marching. As children grow into the tendency to enjoy group or team play, the competitive spirit becomes very strong, and games in which the players work in competitive teams, as in relay races, or in opposing sides, as in Bombardment, may serve the purpose of continuous mutual interest. As a rule the competitive spirit is strong in games in the line and group formations, and, indeed, is usually the basis of such formations.

For all formations pupils should be trained to move quickly. Formations made from marching order may often be done on the double-quick.

RING FORMATION.—For small numbers of players no formal procedure is needed to get the players into a ring formation. For very little children the teacher should simply stretch his or her own hands sideways, taking a child by either hand to show what is wanted, and telling the others to form a circle. All will naturally clasp hands in the same way. Children should be urged to move quickly for such formations. For some games the hands remain clasped. For others the hands are dropped (unclasped) after the ring is formed. The distance between players may be gauged by the stretch of the arms when the hands are clasped, making the ring larger or smaller. With older players the teacher's participation in the formation of the circle is not necessary, the mere command to "Form circle!" being adequate.

For large numbers the ring formation is best achieved from a line standing in single file. The players should march or run, the leader of the file describing a circle and joining hands with the rear player of the file, all of the others joining hands similarly with their neighbors.

CONCENTRIC CIRCLES.—Where players are to be placed in two circles, one within the other, as in Three Deep, Zigzag Ball, or some of the singing games for large numbers, players should march in a column of twos (two by two), and the leaders should describe a circle until the ends meet. All then face inward.

Another method of forming concentric circles is to form a single circle, and have every alternate player step inwards. Or the players may number off by twos, and those bearing the odd (or even) numbers take one or two steps toward the center of the circle. All numbering-off methods, however, are comparatively slow.

OPPOSING TEAMS OR LINES.—For assigning large numbers of players quickly in opposing teams or lines, the following methods are among the most orderly:—

I. The players "fall in" for a march in single file. They march up the center of the room or ground; the first player turns to the right and the next to the left, and so on alternately, taking stations at the sides of the ground; they are thus separated into two opposing groups, those which turn to the right forming one group or team, and those to the left another.

This method is even quicker if players march in columns of twos or fours, alternate ranks turning to alternate sides.

II. Players may be required to march in columns of twos (two abreast), halt, and those in one file of the column step to one side of the playground instead of marching to the front and separating, as in I, and those in the other file to the opposite side.

Where an even division of running ability, or height for catching balls, is necessary, players should be sized when lining up for either of the above methods.

III. When players in a gymnasium or playground have already been numbered for gymnastic purposes, the odd numbers may be directed to one end of the playground to form one team, and the even numbers to the opposite end for the other team.

GROUP FORMATIONS.—To get players into many small groups, a division may often best be made from the marching formations. Players may be brought for this purpose into columns of four or more (marching four abreast), halted, and each file in turn directed to some particular location in the playground.

Where time is not a consideration, or the number of players is smaller, more deliberate methods of counting out, choosing sides, etc., may be used, described in the chapter on "Counting out."



Counting-out rhymes and other methods of choosing players for games form one of the most interesting topics in the whole study of children's games. Such rhymes and methods are found in use all over the world and are prehistoric, having descended like the great mass of children's games from the serious practices of adults in the childhood of the race. Classic literature has innumerable references to such customs, as where in the Iliad the heroes cast lots in the cap of Atrides Agamemnon to know who shall go forth to battle with Hector, or choose by similar means their places in the funeral games for Patroclus. Many instances of the use of these practices are recorded in Scripture, including the famous one of the casting of lots for the seamless garment. Much collecting and investigating have been done as to these methods, several collections of counting-out rhymes, covering hundreds of examples, having been made in the interests of folklore, the history of magic, etc. Such rhymes are found in Asia, Africa, Europe, and America, not to mention the Sandwich Islands and other places presenting primitive conditions. The largest collection and most thorough study published in America was that made by Mr. H. Carrington Bolton of the Smithsonian Institute. These rhymes unquestionably originated in old superstitions and rites, including incantations of the old magicians and practices of divination by lot. The doggerel of counting-out rhymes is often traceable to old Latin formulas used for these purposes, a fact that shows the absurdity and artificiality of purposely manufactured rhymes.

In the majority of games it is necessary to assign various players to their parts in some manner that shall be strictly impartial. Thus, one player may have to be chosen to be "It"—that is, to take the prominent, arduous, or often disadvantageous or disagreeable part; for example, the part of "Black Tom" in the game of that name, the "blind man" in blindfold games, etc. In many other games the players have to determine who shall have the first turn, or the order of rotation in which all shall play, as who shall be the first back in leapfrog, etc. In still other games, such as Prisoners' Base, Black and White, and many ball games, opposing sides or teams have to be chosen. Some games have their own distinctive methods of assigning parts, but in most cases any method may be used. A few of the most popular, practical, and useful methods are given here. (See also Floor Formations in previous chapter.)

For very little children, the teacher or leader should choose or assign the players for the different parts, such as who shall be the first cat or mouse in the game of "Kitty White," or who shall go into the center in many of the singing games. This method is often used for parlor games in children's parties by the hostess, though many other methods may be used. For older players, the following methods will be found helpful.

COUNTING-OUT.—This is a very popular method among children. One player in the group, generally self-appointed, but sometimes chosen by popular consent, does the "counting out." He repeats a rhyme or jingle, touching one player on the chest for each accent of the verses. He always begins with himself and then touches the first one on his left, and so on around the circle or group in regular order. Any player to whom falls the last word is "out"; that is, he is eliminated from the succeeding counting and is not to be "It," generally a matter for rejoicing. Such a player steps out of the group at once. This counting is continued, the verses being repeated over and over, until only two players are left, when the formula is again gone over, the one to whom the last word falls being free, and the remaining player "It." When a verse is not long enough to go around the entire group, the player at his discretion may lengthen it by adding "One, two, three,—out goes he!" (or she); or "O-U-T spells out!"

From many verses the following, without which no collection could well make its appearance, are chosen as typical for the purpose:—

"Onery, twoery tickery tee, Hanibal, Crackible, turnablee. Whing, whang, muskadan, Striddledum, straddledum, twenty-one!"

The following counting-out rhyme is famous in literary annals as having been taught to Sir Walter Scott before his open fire by that dainty little maiden, Marjorie Fleming:—

"Wonery, twoery, tickery seven; Alibi, crackaby, ten and eleven; Pin, pan, muskydan; Tweedle-um, twoddle-um, Twenty-wan; eeerie, ourie, owrie, You, are, out!"

The following are old and popular forms:—

"Enna, mena, mina, mo, Catch a nigger by the toe; If he hollers, let him go, Enna, mena, mina, mo!"

"Monkey, monkey, bottle of beer; How many monkeys are there here? One, two, three, out goes he (or she!)"

"Aina, maina, mona, mike, Bassalona, bona, strike; Hare, ware, frown, hack; Halico, balico, wee, wo, wy, whack!"

"Little fishes in a brook, Father caught them with his hook. Mother fried them in a pan, Father ate them like a man."

HOLDERS.—A favorite method of choosing players, especially with boys, is that called "holders" or "hand holders." When a group of boys decides to play a game, one suddenly shouts, "Picker up!" picks up a pebble and hands it to another boy. The one who picks it up is called the stone picker, and is "out" to start with; that is, he does not have to take part in the guessing of hands which follows.

Mr. Beard, who has recorded from observation this method of choosing players, gives an additional point which the writer has not happened upon. He says that the first player has scarcely shouted "Picker up!" before another cries "Wipe-'er-off!" and a third, "Stone holder!" "Picker-up hands the stone to Wipe-'er-off. Picker-up is then free. Wipe-'er-off makes a great show of wiping the stone off on his trouser leg, and hands it to Stone-holder. Wipe-'er-off is then free, and Stone-holder puts his hands behind him," etc. This preliminary of handing the stone is often omitted, especially where a large group is to play, as the first holder of the stone has in a large group a good chance to go "out" as the guessing proceeds.

The person who holds the stone (a coin, button, or any small object may be used) places his hands behind his back so that the other players may not know in which hand he disposes the stone and then holds his closed fists out in front of him, with the backs of the hands (knuckles) upward. The first player on his left steps forward and touches the hand in which he thinks there is no stone. The holder opens that hand; if the guess has been correct, the guesser is "out" and the holder must go through the same performance with the next guesser. Should the one who guesses touch the hand which holds the stone instead of the empty hand, then he must become holder, taking the stone and going through the same play with it, the holder from whom he took it being "out." In other words, the object of the guessing is to choose the hand which is empty, a successful guess putting the guesser out, a wrong guess making him the next holder and putting the preceding holder out.

DRAWING CUTS.—In this method of choosing players, a blade of grass or hay or a slip of paper is provided for each player in the group. These should all be cut of approximately the same length, with the exception of one which should be quite short. One player, the holder, holds these in a bunch in one hand, first getting even all of the ends that are to show. The other ends are concealed in the hand, so that it is impossible, by looking at the extended ends, to tell which is the short piece. Each player in the group then draws one of the slips or pieces, the one who gets the short piece being "It."

If desired, the slips may be put in a hat or box, the players drawing without looking in. This method is quite suitable for parlor games, where it is much used.

TOSS-UP.—The toss-up is a very simple and popular method of choosing players. It consists in tossing a coin in the air and allowing it to land on the ground, to see which side will fall uppermost, each player having previously chosen a side, or, in other words, taken his chance on that side landing upward. Generally a coin is used, but a stone will do as a substitute, one side being marked. Shells may also be used, the throw to be determined by the light or dark side or the convex or concave side falling upward. The method of tossing is the same for any of these articles. One player tosses the coin in the air, the players having chosen "heads" or "tails"; the side of the coin having the date on it is called "heads," the other side "tails." The side wins which falls uppermost. If a coin or shell does not lie flat on the ground, but rests edgewise, the toss does not count. When this method is used by a group of players, each player is considered out who makes a lucky guess. Any player who guesses the wrong side takes the next turn for tossing the coin. Sometimes it is required that the choice (of heads or tails) shall be made while the coin is in the air, probably to avoid any juggling on the part of the tosser.

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