The Project Gutenberg eBook, My Book of Indoor Games, by Clarence Squareman

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Title: My Book of Indoor Games

Author: Clarence Squareman

Release Date: July 25, 2004 [eBook #13022]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1


E-text prepared by Clare Boothby, David Newman, William Flis,
and the Project Gutenberg Online Distributed Proofreading Team


My Book of Indoor Games


Clarence Squareman


With full page
illustrations from
loaned by The
Chicago Park

[pg 4]
Plate 1 (click to view).

The publishers gratefully acknowledge their thanks to the Chicago Park Commission for the loan of the photographs of which the half tone illustrations used in this book are copies.

[pg 5]


Acting Proverbs 37

Acting Rhymes 54

Adventurers 41

All Fours 64

Alphabet Game 84

Animal, Vegetable or Mineral 45

Ants and the Grasshopper 91

Balancing Spoon 114

Band Box (Charade) 29

Beggar My Neighbor 69

Bingo 96

Birds, Beasts and Fishes 61

Bird Catcher 26, 105

Birds Fly 100

Blackboard Relay 102

Blind Man's Buff 18

Blind Man's Wand 47

Bob Major 24

Bridge of Knives 112

Buff Says Buff 18

Buzz 16

Card Games 13

Cat and Mouse 17

Cat and Rat 104

Cat's Cradle 81

Charades 28

Checkers 56

Changing Seats 102

Chinese Shadows 118

Coach and Four 93

Cock Fighting 83

Consequences 43

Circle Ball 106

Crambo 44

Coin Trick 115

Cross Questions and Crooked Answers 11

Crows' Race 104

Cushion Dance 77

Dancing Egg 111

Dancing Pea 114

Dead Ball 106

Diamond Ring 78

Dodge 107

Dominoes 58

Draw a Pail of Water 87

Drop the Handkerchief 15

Duck Under the Water 88

Dumb Crambo 24

Dwarf 21

Earth, Air, Fire and Water 44

Eraser Game 106

Eraser Relay 108

Family Coach 14

Farmyard 77

Feather 50

Find an Object While Blindfolded 117

Fives and Threes 60

Flag Race 103

Flowers 80

Flying 47

[pg 6]

Forbidden Letter 78

Force of a Water Drop 115

Fox and Chickens 107

Fox and Geese 83

Fox Chase 103

French Roll 27

Frog in the Middle 100

Gallery of Statutes 51

Game of Cat 34

Game of Conversation 50

Garden Gate 27

Giant 83

Grand Mufti 79

Green Gravel 59

Hand Shadows 118

Hands Up 48

Hide the Thimble 103

Honey Pots 85

Hot Boiled Beans and Bacon 52

How to Light a Candle Without Touching It 112

How, When and Where 21

Huckle, Buckle, Beanstalk 102

Huntsman 51

Hunt the Ring 49

Hunt the Slipper 48

I Apprenticed My Son 17

I Love My Love With an A 43

I Point 78

I Say Stoop 100

I Sell My Bat, I Sell My Ball 81

I Suspect You 68

It 53

Jolly Miller 55

Judge and Jury 48

Jumping the Rope 105

Last Man 102

Little Lady 99

Living Pictures 34

Living Shadows 119

Lodgings to Let 49

Lost and Found 45

Lubin Loo 97

Magic Music 16

Magic Thread 111

Magic Whistle 92

Magic Writing 79

Malaga Raisins 93

Man and Object 54

Man With His Head the Wrong Way 117

Mother, Mother, the Pot Boils Over 89

My Master Bids You Do as I Do 52

Mysterious Ball 117

Noughts and Crosses 61

Oats and Beans and Barley 95

Obstinate Cork 112

Old Maid 66

Old Soldier 22

Oranges and Lemons 12

Our Old Grannie Doesn't Like Tea 42

Paper and Pencil Games 61

Personations 83

Pigeon House Game 95

Poison 103

Pope Joan 67

Postman 20

Postman's Knock 42

Preliminary Ball 107

[pg 7]

Proverbs 38

Puss in the Corner 20

Questions and Answers 88

Racing and Counting Scores 101

Red Cap and Blue Cap 53

Revolving Pins 116

Riddles 69

Riding the Bicycle 104

Rule of Contrary 26

Running Maze 92

Ruth and Jacob 56

Sally Water 94

Schoolmaster 25

School Room Basket Ball 101

School Room Tag 108

Sea King 17

Seat Tag 106

Sentinel Drop 115

Serpentine Maze 110

Shadows 118

Shouting Proverbs 38

Simon Says 26

Six and Five Make Nine 113

Slap Jack 104

Slow Poke 110

Snap 65

Snip, Snap, Snorum 66

Speculation 63

Spelling Game 86

Stool of Repentance 49

Squirrel and Nut 101

Suggestive Breathing Work 103

Swimming Needles 111

Tag Me or Heads Up 105

Tag the Wall Relay 110

Teacher 105

Teacher and Class 109

Think of a Number 119

Third Man 107

Thought Reading 70

Tit, Tat, Toe 61

To Balance a Coffee Cup 112

To Guess Two Ends of a Line of Dominoes 120

To Tell the Age of Any Person 120

Trades 61

Travelers' Alphabet 14

Tricks and Puzzles 110

Twirl the Trencher 11

Vanishing Dime 113

What's My Thought Like? 81

Wonderment 89

[pg 9]


"Let the child imbibe in the full spirit of play. There is nothing like it to keep him on the path of health, right thinking and mind development."

That is the guiding purpose of the author. The reader will find in this book a collection of old and present day games. The student of Play has long realized that there are no new games, that all our games of today are built on the old timers.

The purpose of My Book of Indoor Games is to furnish amusement, entertainment and to be the means of sociability. So very often the question comes up—"What shall we do?" In many cases this book serves only as a reminder, the games and parlor tricks are well known but cannot be recalled at the critical moment. A combination, such as this, of the best of the old-fashioned games and a carefully compiled list of the games of today will furnish much help to the young in their search of entertainment and amusement.

But the book will be equally useful to grownups. The author has seen staid, respectable people play "Lubin Loo" with as much zest and spirit as the youngest group of children. All of us have played "Going to Jerusalem." The spirit must be there; there is nothing so contagious as the spirit of play.

[pg 10]
Hide—then go seek

[pg 11]


Twirl the Trencher

This is a game which almost any number of children can play.

The players seat themselves in a circle, and each takes the name of some town, or flower, or whatever has been previously agreed upon. One of the party stands in the middle of the circle, with a small wooden trencher, or waiter, places it upon its edge, and spins it, calling out as he does so the name which one of the players has taken. The person named must jump up and seize the trencher before it ceases spinning, but if he is not very quick the trencher will fall to the ground, and he must then pay a forfeit. It is then his turn to twirl the trencher.

A very similar game to this is "My Lady's Toilet." The only difference is that each player must take the name of some article of a lady's dress, such as shawl, earring, brooch, bonnet, etc.

Cross Questions and Crooked Answers

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.

[pg 12]

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 every one 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 belong to him.

At the end of the game each player 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.'"

Oranges and Lemons

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,

[pg 13]

Says the big bell of Bow.

Here comes a chopper 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.

[pg 14]

Musical Chairs or Going to Jerusalem

This game must be played in a room where there is a piano.

Arrange some chairs, back to back, in the center of the room, allowing one chair less than the number of players. Some one begins to play a tune, and at once the players start to walk or run round the chairs, to the sound of the music.

When the music stops, each player must try to find a seat, and as there is one chair short, some one will fail to do so, and is called "put." He must carry a chair away with him, and the game goes on again until there is only one person left in, with no chair to sit upon. This person has won the game.

The Traveler's Alphabet

The players sit in a row and the first begins by saying, "I am going on a journey to Athens," or any place beginning with A. The one sitting next asks, "What will you do there?" The verbs, adjectives, and nouns used in the reply must all begin with A; as "Amuse Ailing Authors with Anecdotes." If the player answers correctly, it is the next player's turn; he says perhaps: "I am going to Bradford." "What to do there?" "To Bring Back Bread and Butter." A third says: "I am going to Constantinople." "What to do there?" "To Carry Contented Cats." Any one who makes a mistake must pay a forfeit.

The Family Coach

This is a very good old game, and is most amusing if you can find some one who is a good story-teller.

The players sit in a circle and every one, except the story-teller, takes the name of some part of a coach or its equipments; for instance, door, step, wheels, reins, box-seat, and so on.

When all are ready, the story-teller begins a tale about an old coach and what happened to it, how it went on a journey, came to grief, was mended, and started off again. [pg 15] The story should be told fluently, but not too quickly. Every time any part of the coach is mentioned, the player who has taken that name must rise from his seat and then sit down again.

Whenever "the coach" is mentioned, all the players, with the exception of the story-teller, must rise. Any one who fails to keep these rules must pay a forfeit.

Drop the Handkerchief

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:

"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.

[pg 16]

It wasn't you, it wasn't you,

It wasn't you—but it was you."

When he says "It was you," he must drop the handkerchief behind one of the players, who picks it up and chases him round the ring, outside and under the joined hands, until he can touch him with the handkerchief. As soon as this happens, the first player joins the ring, whilst it is now the turn of the second to "drop the handkerchief."

Magic Music

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.


Plate 2 (click to view).

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, [pg 17] 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.

"I Apprenticed My Son."

The best way of describing this game is to give an illustration of how it is played. The first player thinks of "Artichoke," and commences: "I apprenticed my son to a greengrocer, and the first thing he sold was an A."

Second player: "Apple?" "No."

Third player: "Almonds?" "No."

Fourth player: "Asparagus?" "No."

Fifth player: "Artichoke?" "Yes."

The last player, having guessed correctly, may now apprentice his son. No player is allowed more than one guess.

Cat and Mouse

The children sit in two rows opposite each other with a space between. One child takes the place of "cat," being blindfolded, and one takes the place of "mouse," and is also 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.

The Sea King

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 center of a ring, formed by the players seating themselves round him. The circle should be as large as possible. [pg 18] 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.

Buff Says "Baff"

This is a game in which no one is allowed to smile or laugh. All the players, except one, sit in a row or half circle; one goes out of the room and returns with a stick or poker in his hand, and a very grave and solemn face. He is supposed to have just returned from a visit to Buff. The first player asks him: "Where do you come from?" "From Buff." The next asks: "Did he say anything to you?" To which the reply is:

"Buff said 'Baff,'

And gave me this staff,

Telling me neither to smile nor to laugh.

Buff says 'Baff,' to all his men,

And I say 'Baff' to you again.

And he neither laughs nor smiles,

In spite of all your cunning wiles,

But carries his face with a very good grace,

And passes his staff to the very next place."

If he can repeat all this without laughing, he delivers up his staff to some one else, and takes his seat; but if he laughs, or even smiles, he pays a forfeit before giving it up.

Blind Man's Buff

In the olden times this game was known by the name of "Hood-man Blind," as in those days the child that was chosen to be "blind [pg 19] man" had a hood placed over his head, which was fastened at the back of the neck.

In the present day the game is called "Blind Man's Buff," and very popular it is among young folk.

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 got?" The answer is "Three," and to the question: "What color are they?" he replies: "Black, white, and gray." All the players then cry: "Turn round three times and catch whom you may." Buff accordingly spins round and then the fun commences. He tries to catch the players, while they in their turn do their utmost to escape "Buff," all the time making little sounds to [pg 20] 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.

Puss in the Corner

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, while the fifth 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 every one.

The fun consists in the players trying to change places without being caught; but they are bound to call "Puss, puss," first, and to beckon to the one they wish to change with. Directly they leave their corners, the player in the center tries to get into one of them.

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

The Postman

For this game all the players, except two, seat themselves in a circle. One of the two left out is blindfolded and is called the "Postman," the other is called the "Postmaster-General." Each of the players seated in the circle chooses the name of a town, which the "Post-master-General" writes down on a slip of paper, so that he may not forget it. He then calls out the names of two towns, thus: "The post from Aberdeen to Calcutta." At once, the players who have taken those names must change places, and while doing so the "Postman" must try to catch one of them. If he succeeds in doing so he takes his place in the circle, having chosen a town for his name, and the one caught becomes "Postman" in place of him. Sometimes "General post" is called, when all have to change places, and the "Postman" is then almost sure to gain a seat.

[pg 21]

The Dwarf

This is a most amusing game if well carried out. The two performers must be hidden behind two curtains in front of which a table has been placed.

One of the performers slips his hands into a child's socks and little shoes. He must then disguise his face, by putting on a false mustache, painting his eyebrows, sticking pieces of black court plaster over one or two of his teeth, which will make it appear as though he has lost several teeth. This, with a turban on his head, will prove a very fair disguise. The second performer must now stand behind the first and pass his arms round him, so that the second performer's hands may appear like the hands of the dwarf, while the first performer's hands make his feet. The figure must, of course, be carefully dressed, and the body of the second performer hidden behind the curtains.

The front player now puts his slippered hands upon the table and begins to keep time, while the other performer follows suit with his hands.

The dwarf can be used either to tell fortunes, make jokes, or ask riddles, and if the performers act their parts well, the guests will laugh very heartily.

How, When, and Where

One of the company goes out of the room, while the others choose a word to be guessed, one with two or three different meanings being the best.

[pg 22]

We will suppose that the word "Spring" has been thought of. When the person who is outside the room is recalled, he (or she) asks each one in succession: "How do you like it?" The answers may be "Dry" (meaning the season), "Cold and clear" (a spring of water), "Strong" (a watch-spring), and "High" (a jump). The next question is: "When do you like it?" The answers may be: "When I am in the country," "When I am thirsty," "When my watch is broken."

The next question is: "Where do you like it?" and the answers may be: "Anywhere and everywhere," "In hot weather," "In the clock." The game is to try and guess the word after any of the answers, and if right, the player last questioned takes the place of the one who is guessing; if wrong, the questioner must try again.

Old Soldier

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," [pg 23] 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. Any one who does not reply at once, or who uses any of the forbidden words, must pay a forfeit.

[pg 24]

Bob Major

Two of the players sit down, and a cloth, large enough to prevent their seeing anything, is put over their heads. Then two other persons tap them on the head with long rolls of paper, which they have in their hands, and ask, in feigned voices, "Who bobs you?" If either of those who have been tapped answers correctly, he changes places with the one who has tapped him.

Dumb Crambo

Divide the company into two equal parts, one-half leaving the room; the remaining players should then select a word, which will have to be guessed by those outside the door. When the word has been chosen—say, for instance, the word "will"—the party outside the room are told that the word they are to guess rhymes with "till." A consultation then takes place, and they may think that the word is "ill." The company then enter and begin to act the word "ill," but without speaking a word. The audience, when they recognize the word that is being performed, will immediately hiss, and the actors then retire and think of another word.

Thus the game goes on until the right word is hit upon, when the company who have remained in the room, clap their hands. The audience then change places with the actors.


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. Every one 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 [pg 25] 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.

The Schoolmaster

This is always a favorite game. One of the players is chosen schoolmaster, and the others, ranged in order in front of him, form the class. The master may then examine the class in any branch of learning. Suppose him to choose Geography, he must begin with the pupil at the head of the class, and ask for the name of a country or town beginning with A. If the pupil does not reply correctly before the master has counted ten, he asks the next pupil, who, if he answers [pg 26] rightly—say, for instance, "America," or "Amsterdam," in time, goes to the top of the class. The schoolmaster may go on in this way through the alphabet either regularly or at random, as he likes. Any subject—names of kings, queens, poets, soldiers, etc.—may be chosen. The questions and answers must follow as quickly as possible. Whoever fails to answer in time, pays a forfeit.

Rule of Contrary

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 pretense 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. Any one who fails must pay a forfeit.

Simon Says

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.

The Bird-Catcher

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 [pg 27] 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.

French Roll

A good many children may play at this game. One player is called the buyer, the rest form a line in front of him and take hold of each other. The first in this line is called the baker, the last the French roll. Those between are supposed to be the oven. When they are all in place the buyer says to the baker, "Give me my French roll." The baker replies, "It is at the back of the oven." The buyer goes to fetch it, when the French roll begins running from the back of the oven, and comes up to the baker, calling all the while, "Who runs? Who runs?" The buyer may run after him, but if the French roll gets first to the top of the line, he becomes baker, and the last in the line is French roll. If, however, the buyer catches the French roll, the French roll becomes buyer, and the buyer takes the place of the baker.

The Garden Gate

The Garden Gate is a very pretty game. A ring is formed of all the players except one, who stands in the middle. The others dance round her three times, and when they stop she begins to sing:

"Open wide the garden gate, the garden gate, the garden gate,

Open wide the garden gate and let me through."

The circle then dances round her again, singing:

[pg 28]

"Get the key of the garden gate, the garden gate, the garden gate,

Get the key of the garden gate and open and let yourself through."

The girl inside the circle, pretending to sob, replies:

"I've lost the key of the garden gate, the garden gate, the garden gate,

I've lost the key of the garden gate, and cannot let myself through."

But the dancers dance round and round her, singing:

"Then you may stop all night within the gate, within the gate, within the gate,

You may stop all night within the gate, unless you have strength to break through."

The captive then rushes to the weakest part of the ring, and tries to break through by throwing her whole weight upon the clasped hands of the children, and generally contrives to break through, the one whose hand gives way being made captive in her stead.


A back drawing-room with folding doors makes a very nice theater for acting charades. Almost anything may be used for dressing up—shawls, anti-macassars, table-cloths, handkerchiefs, cast-off dresses, or a dressing-gown. The latter is a very useful garment in representing an old gentleman, while tow or white fire shavings make excellent wigs.

The great thing in a charade is to try and puzzle your audience as much as you can. You must choose a word of two or more syllables, such as "Bagpipe." First you must act the word "Bag," and be sure that the word is mentioned, though you must be careful to bring it in in such a way that the audience shall not guess it is the word you are acting.

Next comes the word "Pipe," and this must be brought in in the same manner. When you have acted the two syllables, you must act the whole: "Bagpipe."

Before beginning the charade, you should arrange who is to bring [pg 29] in the charade word or syllable. You must also settle what you are going to say, or at least, what the act is to be about. Let every scene be well thought out and be as short as possible. You must be as quick as ever you can between the acts, for all the fun will be spoiled if you keep your audience waiting. If you have no curtain or screen, the actors must simply walk off the stage at the end of the scenes.

To act charades well, one requires a little practice and plenty of good temper, for, of course, only one or two can take principal parts, and therefore some of the children must be content to take the smaller ones. It is a good plan to take it in turns to play the best parts, and if the elder children are kind and thoughtful, they will try to make some easy little parts, so that their younger brothers and sisters may also join in the fun. Here we give you a very simple charade, the words of which you may learn, and then act, after which you will very likely be able to make up charades for yourselves.

The "Band-Box" Charade

Scene 1: A Street

This can be made by placing a row of chairs with open backs near the wall facing the audience; a child is stationed behind each chair, and, looking through the open back, pretends to be looking out of a window.


First Child behind chair.—Oh! dear, how dull our street always is. I declare nothing nice ever comes this way.

Second Child.—No, I quite agree with you. Why, I haven't seen a "Punch and Judy" for months. I wish my mother would go and live in another street.

Third Child.—Never mind, let us go out and have a game.

(Enter five or six children—or a lesser number, if more convenient—carrying toy musical instruments.)

First Child.—Hurrah! Here comes a German band. Come along, children; let's go and listen to it.

[pg 30]

(The band groups itself at the end of the street, and the children stand round. After tuning up, the band begins to play.)

Second Child.—Now, Mary Jane, we can dance. I'll dance with you.

Third Child.—No, I want to dance with Mary Jane.

First Child.—I don't want to dance at all.

Second Child.—You must.

Third Child.—Yes, you must.

(Band ceases playing and one of the bandsmen comes round for money.)

First Child.—I haven't any money.

Second Child.—But we haven't begun to dance yet.

Bandsman.—You shouldn't have been so long arguing then. Surely you'll give the band a nickel, after all the pretty music it has played?

First Child.—I won't.

Second Child.—I won't.

Third Child.—And I won't.

Bandsman.—Well, you are mean. Come along. (Beckoning to the rest of the band.) We'll go, and it will be a long time before we come down this street again.

(Curtain falls.)


Scene 2: A Room

Tommy (hopping about the room, waving a letter in his hand.)—Hurrah! hurrah! Uncle Dick is coming. Hurrah! hurrah!

(Enter Tommy's brother and sister and papa and mamma.)

Papa.—What's the matter, Tommy?

Tommy.—Uncle Dick has written to say he is coming to spend Christmas with us, and he is bringing me a Christmas box.

Mamma.—How kind of him! But be sure you are careful not to offend him, Tommy. He is rather a touchy old gentleman.

Sister.—I wonder what it will be, Tommy.

Brother.—I hope it will be a set of cricket things, and then we can play cricket in the summer.

[pg 31]

Tommy.—Oh! yes, I hope it will be, but whatever it is, it is sure to be something nice.

(Begins hopping about again. Enter Uncle Dick, a very old gentleman with a gouty foot. Tommy does not see him and goes banging into him, treading on his gouty foot.)

Uncle Dick.—Oh! oh! oh! oh, my toe!

Tommy.—Oh! Never mind your toe! Where's my Christmas box?

Uncle Dick.—Your Christmas box, you young scamp! Think of my toe.

Tommy.—Please, uncle, I'm very sorry, but I do so want to know what you have brought me for a Christmas box.

Uncle Dick (roaring).—Here's your Christmas box, and may it teach you to be more careful in future. (Boxes Tommy's ears.)

(Curtain falls.)

Here is a list of words which will divide easily into charade words:

Brides-maids. Sea-side. Car-pen-try.

Cur-tail. Nose-gay. In-do-lent.

Hand-i(I)-craft. Turn-key. Hand-some.

Key-hole. Rail-way. Sweet-heart.

Port-man-teau(toe). Mad-cap. A-bun-dance.

In-no-cent. Fox-glove. Pat-riot.

To make your charades a real success, you will, of course, require a curtain. A very effective one can be made with a little trouble and at a small cost; indeed, the materials may be already in the house.

First you must fix a couple of supports on each side of the room, taking care that they are screwed firmly into the wall, and also taking care not to damage the paper.

If you are a neat workman, you will find on taking out the screws that the two small screw-holes on each side will scarcely be noticed, as of course the supports must be fixed near the ceiling.

You must then put up your curtain-pole, which should be as thin as possible, so that the rings may run easily. A cheap bamboo pole is the best.

[pg 32]

Two wide, deep curtains are required; very likely the nursery curtains may be suitable.

On to these curtains you sew a number of small brass rings, which you can buy for about 20 cents a dozen, or even less. The rings should be sewn on the curtains, as you see in the illustration, right across the top, and from the extreme top corner of the curtain, slantingwise across to the middle.

The top rings are passed along the curtain-pole, a string (marked in the illustration A1) is sewn on to the curtain, and threaded through the rings until it reaches A2. It is then threaded through the rings on the pole until it reaches A3, when it is allowed to fall loose.

The same arrangement is gone through with string B. The bottom of the curtain must be weighted with shot, or any other weights that may be convenient.

When the curtain is to be raised, the stage manager and his assistant stand on each side of the stage with the strings ready in their hands, and at a given signal—the ringing of a bell is the usual sign that all is ready—they each pull a string, and the curtains glide to each side, and may be fixed to hooks, put up on purpose.

When the curtain is to fall, the two in charge of it must simply loosen the strings and let them go, and the weights cause the curtains to fall to the center.

All sorts of useful and ornamental "properties" may be made at home for a very small cost. Cardboard, and gold and silver paper, and glue go a long way toward making a good show.

Swords, crowns, belts, gold-spangled and gold-bordered robes can be made from these useful materials, and look first-rate at a distance.

An old black dress with little gold stars glued or gummed to the material would make an excellent dress for a queen. The swords or belts must first be cut out in cardboard, then covered with gold or silver paper.

To make a good wig, you should shape a piece of calico to fit the head; then sew fire shavings or tow all over it. If you wish for a curly wig, it is a good plan to wind the shavings or tow tightly round a ruler, and tack it along with a back stitch, which will hold the curl in position after you have slipped it off the ruler. [pg 33] These few hints will give you some idea of the very many different costumes which can be made by children out of the simplest materials.


[pg 34]

The Game of Cat

The person who is to play the part of Cat should stand outside 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 does.

Living Pictures

Living pictures are very amusing if well carried out, and even with little preparation may be made very pretty or very comical, whichever may be desired. It is perhaps better to attempt comical ones if you have not much time in which to arrange them, as the costumes are generally easier to manage, and if you are obliged to use garments not quite in keeping with the characters, it does not [pg 35] matter much; indeed, it will probably only make the audience laugh a little more.

The great thing in living pictures is to remain perfectly still during the performance. You should select several well-known scenes either from history or fiction, and then arrange the actors to represent the scenes as nearly as possible.

Simple home living pictures are a great source of fun, and many a wet afternoon will pass like magic while arranging scenes and making dresses to wear. Newspaper masks, newspaper cocked hats, old shawls, dressing-gowns, and sticks are quite sufficient for home charades.

Suppose, for instance, you think of "Cinderella" for one tableau. One girl could be standing decked out with colored tissue paper over her frock, and with paper flowers in her hair, to represent one of the proud sisters, while Cinderella in a torn frock is arranging the other proud sister's train, which may consist of an old shawl. Bouquets of paper flowers should be in the sister's hands.

"Little Red Riding Hood" is another favorite subject for a living picture. The wolf may be represented by a boy on his hands and knees, with a fur rug thrown over him. Red Riding Hood only requires a scarlet shawl, arranged as a hood and cloak, over her ordinary frock and pinafore, and she should carry a bunch of flowers and a basket.

All living pictures look better if you can have a frame for them. It is not very difficult to make one, especially if you have four large card-board dress-boxes.

Having carefully cut out the bottoms of the boxes, place the frames as here shown:

[pg 36]

Cut out the center framework, leaving a large square, so:

You must then fasten the four pieces together by gluing cardboard on each side of the joints, and you will have a very good frame, which you can cover with colored paper or ornament with muslin.

This frame will last a very long time if carefully treated. It should stand upright by itself; but if it is a little unsteady, it is better to hold it upright from the sides. Of course, this will only make a very small frame, but you can increase the size by using more boxes.

If you have no time to make a frame, arrange your figures close to a door, outside the room in which the audience is seated.

When quite ready, some one must open the door, when the doorway will make a kind of frame to the living picture.

It is always well to have a curtain if you can; a sheet makes an excellent one. Two children standing upon chairs hold it up on each side, and at a given signal drop it upon the floor, so that, instead of the curtain rising, it drops. When it has been dropped, the two little people should take the sheet corners in their hands again, so that they have only to jump upon the chairs when it is time to hide the picture.

Of course, these instructions are only for living pictures on a very small scale; much grander arrangements will be needed if the performance is to take place before any but a "home audience."

As I told you before, comic living pictures are the easiest to perform on account of the dresses being easier to make, but there are other living pictures which are easier still, and which will cause a great deal of fun and merriment. They are really catches, and are so simple that even very little children can manage them.

You can arrange a program, and make half a dozen copies to hand round to the audience.

[pg 37]

The first living picture on the list is "The Fall of Greece" and sounds very grand, indeed; but when the curtain rises (or rather, if it is the sheet curtain, drops), the audience see a lighted candle set rather crookedly in a candlestick and fanned from the background so as to cause the grease to fall.

Here are some other similar comic tableaux which you can easily place before an audience:

"Meet of the Hounds."—A pile of dog biscuits.

"View of the Black Sea."—A large capital C blackened with ink.

"The Charge of the Light Brigade."—Half a dozen boxes of matches labeled: "10 cents the lot."

These are only a few of the many comic living pictures you can perform; but, no doubt, you will be able to think of others for yourselves.

Acting Proverbs

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.

[pg 38]

Shouting Proverbs

This is rather a noisy game. One of the company goes outside the door, and during his absence a proverb is chosen and a word of it is given to each member of the company. When the player who is outside re-enters the room, one of the company counts "One, two, three," then all the company simultaneously shout out the word that has been given to him or her of the proverb that has been chosen.

If there are more players present than there are words in the proverb, two or three of them must have the same word. The effect of all the company shouting out together is very funny. All that is necessary is for the guesser to have a sharp ear; then he is pretty sure to catch a word here and there that will give him the key to the proverb.


This is a very interesting game, and can be played by a large number at the same time. Supposing there are twelve persons present, one is sent out of the room, while the others choose a proverb. When this is done, the "guesser" is allowed to come in, and he asks each person a question separately. In the answer, no matter what question is asked, one word of the proverb must be given. For illustration we will take "A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush."

1. John must use the word "A" in his answer.

2. Gladys must use the word "bird" in hers.

3. Nellie must use the word "in" in hers.

4. Tommy must use the word "the" in his.

5. Estelle must use the word "hand" in hers.

6. Ivy must use the word "is" in hers.

7. Wilfrid must use the word "worth" in his.

8. Lionel must use the word "two" in his.

9. Vera must use the word "in" in hers.

10. Bertie must use the word "the" in his.

11. Harold must use the word "bush" in his.

The fun becomes greater if the answers are given quickly and without allowing the special word to be noticed. It often happens that [pg 39] the "guesser" has to try his powers over several times before succeeding. The one who by giving a bad answer gives the clue, in turn becomes guesser, and is then obliged to go out of the room while another proverb is chosen.

Here is a list of proverbs:

A bad workman quarrels with his tools.

A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.

A cat may look at a king.

Aching teeth are ill tenants.

A creaking door hangs long on the hinges.

A drowning man will catch at a straw.

After dinner sit a while, after supper walk a mile.

A friend in need is a friend indeed.

A good servant makes a good master.

A good word is as soon said as an evil one.

A little leak will sink a great ship.

All are not friends that speak us fair.

All are not hunters that blow the horn.

All is fish that comes to the net.

All is not gold that glitters.

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

A pitcher goes often to the well, but is broken at last.

A rolling stone gathers no moss.

A small spark makes a great fire.

A stitch in time saves nine.

As you make your bed, so you must lie on it.

As you sow, so you shall reap.

A tree is known by its fruit.

A willful man will have his way.

A willing mind makes a light foot.

A word before is worth two behind.

A burden which one chooses is not felt.

Beggars have no right to be choosers.

Be slow to promise and quick to perform.

Better late than never.

Better to bend than to break.

Birds of a feather flock together.

Care killed a cat.

Catch the bear before you sell his skin.

Charity begins at home, but does not end there.

Cut your coat according to your cloth.

Do as you would be done by.

Do not halloo till you are out of the wood.

Do not spur a willing horse.

[pg 40]

Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.

Empty vessels make the greatest sound.

Enough is as good as a feast.

Faint heart never won fair lady.

Fine feathers make fine birds.

Fine words butter no parsnips.

Fire and water are good servants, but bad masters.

Grasp all, lose all.

Half a loaf is better than no bread.

Handsome is as handsome does.

Happy is the wooing that is not long in doing.

He that goes a-borrowing goes a-sorrowing.

Hiders are good finders.

Home is home though it be ever so homely.

Honesty is the best policy.

If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.

It is an ill wind that blows nobody good.

It is never too late to learn.

It is not the cowl that makes the friar.

It is a long lane that has no turning.

It's a good horse that never stumbles.

It's a sad heart that never rejoices.

Ill weeds grow apace.

Keep a thing for seven years, and you will find a use for it.

Kill two birds with one stone.

Lazy folk take the most pains.

Let sleeping dogs lie.

Let them laugh that win.

Make hay while the sun shines.

Many a true word is spoken in jest.

Many hands make light work.

Marry in haste, repent at leisure.

Never look a gift horse in the mouth.

Necessity is the mother of invention.

Old birds are not to be caught with chaff.

Old friends and old wine are best.

One swallow makes not a spring, nor one woodcock a winter.

People who live in glass houses should never throw stones.

Possession is nine points of the law.

Procrastination is the thief of time.

Short reckonings make long friends.

Safe bind, safe find.

Strike while the iron is hot.

Take care of the pennies and the dollars will take care of themselves.

The more the merrier, the fewer the better cheer.

The darkest hour is just before the daylight.

[pg 41]

The cobbler's wife is the worst shod.

There's many a slip 'twixt the cup and the lip.

There's a silver lining to every cloud.

Those who play with edge tools must expect to be cut.

Time and tide wait for no man.

Too many cooks spoil the broth.

Union is strength.

Waste not, want not.

What the eye sees not, the heart rues not.

When rogues fall out honest men get their own.

When the cat's away, the mice play.

Willful waste makes woful want.

You cannot eat your cake and have it also.

The Adventurers

This is a very good game and will combine both instruction and amusement. The idea is that the company imagines itself to be a party of travelers who are about to set out on a journey to foreign countries. A good knowledge of geography is required, also an idea of the manufactures and customs of the foreign parts about to be visited. It would be as well, if not quite certain about the location of the part, to refer to a map.

A place for starting having been decided upon, the first player sets out upon his journey. He tells the company what spot he intends to visit (in imagination) and what kind of conveyance he means to travel in. On arriving at his destination, the player states what he wishes to buy, and to whom he intends to make a present of his purchase on returning home.

[pg 42]

This may seem very simple, but it is not nearly so easy as it appears. The player must have some knowledge of the country to which he is going, the way he will travel, and the time it will take to complete the journey. To give an instance, it will not do for the player to state that he is going to Greenland to purchase pineapples, or to Florida to get furs; nor will it do for him to make a present of a meerschaum pipe to a lady, or a cashmere shawl to a gentleman.

More fun is added to this game if forfeits are exacted for all mistakes.

The game continues, and the second player must make his starting point from where the first leaves off. Of course, all depends upon the imagination or the experience of the player; if he has been a traveler or has read a good deal, his descriptions should be very interesting.

Postman's Knock

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 cents 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 cents; after which he or she must take a turn as postman.

"Our Old Grannie Doesn't Like Tea."

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 every one thinks that "tea" is meant instead of the [pg 43] 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.

"I Love My Love with an A."

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 Alabama, 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 Boston, 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 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 [pg 44] and one of the company proceeds to read out the various papers, and the result may be something like this:

(1) The horrifying and delightful (2) Mr. Brown (3) met the charming (4) Miss Philips (5) in Lincoln Park; (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."

Earth, Air, Fire, and Water

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.


One of the party leaves the room, and on his return he is asked to find a word which has been chosen by the other players in his absence; and in order to help him, another word is mentioned rhyming with the word to be guessed. Questions may then be asked by the guesser, and [pg 45] the players must all introduce, as the final word of their answer, another word rhyming with the word chosen. For instance, suppose the word "way" is selected. The guesser would then be told that the word chosen rhymes with "say." He might then ask the first one of the party: "What do you think of the weather?" and the answer might be: "We have had a lovely day." The second question might be: "Have you enjoyed yourself?" and the answer might be: "Yes; I have had lots of play." The game would proceed in this way until the guesser gave the correct answer, or one of the party failed to give the proper rhyme, in which case the latter would then be called upon to take the place of the guesser.

Lost and Found

A very similar game to "Consequences" is that of "Lost and Found," which is played in an exactly similar manner, but the questions are quite different: (1) Lost, (2) by whom, (3) at what time, (4) where, (5) found by, (6) in what condition, (7) what time, (8) the reward.

The answers may be something like the following: (1) Lost a postage-stamp, (2) by sister Jane, (3) at three in the morning, (4) at St. Louis, (5) it was found by a policeman, (6) rather the worse for wear, (7) at dinner-time; (8) the reward was a kiss.

"Animal, Vegetable, or Mineral?"

This is a capital game for a large party, for it is both instructive and amusing. Two sides are picked, one has to guess what word or sentence the remainder of the company has chosen. They go out of the room, and when the subject has been decided upon, return and ask a question of each of the other side 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 [pg 46] 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. The questions are limited to twenty, but it is hardly ever necessary to use that number.

Hunt the Slipper

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 fetch it he is told that it is not ready. He pretends to get angry and says he will take it [pg 47] as it is. He must then try to find it, and the cobbler who has it must try to pass it to his neighbor without its being seen by the customer. The person upon whom the shoe is found must become the customer, while the customer takes his place in the circle on the floor.


This game requires for the leader a person who can tell a story or make a little amusing speech. Each one who plays must place the right hand upon the left arm. The leader then tells a story, during the telling of which whenever he mentions any creature that can fly, every right hand is to be raised and fluttered in the air to imitate the action of flying. At the name of a creature that does not fly, the hands must be kept quiet, under pain of a forfeit. Thus:

The little wren is very small,

The humming-bee is less;

The ladybird is least of all,

And beautiful in dress.

The pelican she loves her young,

The stork its parent loves;

The woodcock's bill is very long,

And innocent are doves.

In Germany they hunt the boar,

The bee brings honey home,

The ant lays up a winter store,

The bear loves honeycomb.

The Blind Man's Wand

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 center 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. Some one then plays a [pg 48] 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.

Judge and Jury

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 any one, 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, while the person who is opposite to him must reply before the judge can count ten; the penalty on failing to do this 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 "Gray." For the breaking of this rule a forfeit may also be claimed.

"Hands Up!"

Plate 3 (click to view).

The company in this game must divide, one-half taking seats on one side of the table, and the other half on the other side; the players on one side being called the "guessers" and the players on the other side being called the "hiders." A button or any small object is produced, and the hiders have to pass it from hand to hand, under the table, so that those sitting opposite may not know who holds it. When it is hidden, one of the guessers cries out, "Hands up!" Immediately the hiders must place their closed hands on the table; the guessers [pg 49] have then to find out which hand holds the button. If successful, the hiders take their turn at guessing. The person in whose hand the button is found must pay a forfeit.

Lodgings to Let

The company sit in a circle, and a player stands in the center. There is one spare chair, and the game is for this player to get possession of a vacant seat. When the game begins, every one moves as quickly as possible to the chair next beside him or her, and as this is done all the time, it is difficult for the person who is looking for "lodgings" to find a place by slipping in among them, and his attempts will cause much amusement.

Hunt 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, while 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, while the person who held the ring becomes the "hunter."

The Stool of Repentance

The players sit in a circle, in the center of which a stool is placed. One of the company goes out of the room, and the rest say all sorts of things about him. For instance, one will say he is handsome, another that he is clever, or stupid, or vain. The "culprit" is then called back into the room and seats himself on the stool, which is called "the stool of repentance," and one of the players begins to tell him the different charges which have been made against him. "Some one said you were vain; can you guess who it was?" If the culprit guesses correctly, he [pg 50] takes his seat in the circle and the person who made the accusation becomes the "culprit" in his stead. If, however, the "culprit" is unable to guess correctly, he must go out of the room again while fresh charges are made against him.

The Feather

Having procured a small flossy feather, the players sit in a circle as closely together as possible. One of the party then throws the feather as high as possible into the air, and it is the duty of all the players to prevent it from alighting on them, by blowing at it whenever it comes in their direction. Any player whom it falls upon must pay a forfeit.

It is almost impossible to imagine the excitement that is produced by this game when it is played with spirit, and the fun is not altogether confined to the players, as it gives almost as much enjoyment to those who are looking on.

The Game of Conversation

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, while 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 theater 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 [pg 51] 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.

The Gallery of Statues

For this game all the company leave the room with the exception of two. One of these then stands like a statue, with perhaps the assistance of a tablecloth or something similar as drapery, while the other acts as showman.

When the position is decided upon, one of the company is called in and taken on one side by the showman, and is asked his or her opinion as to the merits of the statue. It is almost certain that some suggestion will be made; in that case he or she is made to assume the attitude suggested, and another player is called in, to whom the same question is put, and another suggestion made and adopted. As each statue is added to the gallery, a great deal of merriment is caused, and in a short time a large collection will be obtained.

The Huntsman

One person represents the huntsman, the other players call themselves after some part of the 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, while 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 [pg 52] 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.

Hot Boiled Beans and Bacon

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 of very far away from the object that is hidden; while 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."

"My Master Bids You Do as I Do."

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 every one 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 [pg 53] 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.

Red Cap and Blue Cap

The players seat themselves in a circle to represent tailors at work on a piece of cloth—a handkerchief or a duster will answer the purpose. A leader or foreman is chosen, and every one of the company is named in turn Red Cap, Blue Cap, Black Cap, Yellow Cap, Brown Cap, etc. The leader then takes the piece of cloth and pretends to examine the work which is supposed to have been done by the workmen. He is supposed to discover a bad stitch and asks: "Who did it, Blue Cap?" The latter immediately answers: "Not I, sir." "Who then, sir?" "Yellow Cap, sir." Yellow Cap must then answer at once in the same manner and name another workman. Any one who fails to answer to his name pays a forfeit. If carried on in a brisk manner, this game will cause endless amusement.


One of the players is asked to go outside while the company thinks 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 [pg 54] something like this may be the result: "A boy," "very dark complexion," "long yellow hair," "wearing a black velvet 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.

Acting Rhymes

For this game, half the players go outside the door, while 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 get 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, while 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 their turn, become the actors.

Man and Object

Two persons go out of the room, and after agreeing together as to what they shall represent, they come back again, and sit side by side in front of the company. One of the two takes the part of some well-known person, and the other represents an object which is closely connected with that person; for instance, say one represents the governor, and the other the mayor. When the two return to the room, the other players take it in turns to ask each of them a question, to which both the man and the object must reply either "Yes" or "No," until the right person and the right object have been guessed.

The first player will perhaps ask the "man:" "Are you alive?"

[pg 55]

The man will reply, "Yes;" then the object is asked: "Are you of wood?" "No." The second player next questions him, and then the third, and so on until every one has had a turn at questioning, or the person and the object have been guessed.

The Jolly Miller

The players decide among themselves which one of their number shall act the part of the Jolly Miller. This being done, each little boy [pg 56] chooses a little girl as partner; the Jolly Miller having taken his stand in the middle of the room, they all commence to walk arm-in-arm round him, singing the following lines:

There was a jolly miller who lived by himself;

As the wheel went round he made his wealth;

One hand in the hopper, and the other on the bag;

As the wheel went round he made his grab.

At the word "Grab" all must change partners, and while the change is going on the miller has the opportunity given him of securing a partner for himself. Should he succeed in doing so, the one left without a partner must take the place of the Jolly Miller, and must occupy the center of the room until fortunate enough to get another partner.

Ruth and Jacob

One player is blindfolded, the rest dance in a circle round him till he points at one of them. This person then enters the ring, and when the blindman calls out "Ruth," answers "Jacob," and moves about within the circle so as to avoid being caught by the blindman, and continues to answer "Jacob," as often as the blindman calls out "Ruth." This continues until "Ruth" is caught. "Jacob" must then guess who it is he has caught; if he guesses correctly, "Ruth" takes his place, and the game goes on; if he guesses wrongly, he continues to be "Jacob."


This is a splendid game and one very easily learned. It is played upon a special board with thirty-two white and thirty-two black squares.

Two persons play at the game, who sit opposite to each other. The players have each a set of twelve pieces, or "men," the color of the [pg 57] sets being different, so that the players can distinguish their own men easily. The men are round and flat, and are usually made of boxwood or ebony and ivory, one set being white and the other black.

Before placing the men upon the board, it must be decided whether the white or the black squares are to be played on, as the whole must be put on one color only. If the white squares are selected, there must be a black square in the right-hand corner; if the black squares are to be played upon, then the right-hand corner square must be a white one.

The movements in checkers are very simple; a man can be moved only one square at a time, except as explained hereafter, and that diagonally, never straight forward or sideways. If an opponent's man stand in the way, no move can take place unless there be a vacant square beyond it, into which the man can be lifted. In this case the man leaped over is "taken" and removed from the board.

The great object of the game, then, is to clear the board of the opponent's men, or to hem them in in such a way that they cannot be moved, whichever player hems in the opponent or clears the board first gains the victory. As no man can be moved more than one step diagonally at a time (except when taking opponent's pieces), there can be no taking until the two parties come to close quarters; therefore, the pushing of the men continuously into each other's ground is the principle of the game.

In beginning the game, a great advantage can be obtained by having the first move; the rule, therefore, is, if several games are played, that the first move be taken alternately by the players.

When either of the players has, with his men, reached the extreme row of squares on the opposite side (the first row of his opponent), those men are entitled to be crowned, which is done by placing on the top of each another man, which may be selected from the men already removed from the board. The men so crowned are called "Kings" and have a new power of movement, as the player may now move them either backward or forward, as he wills, but always diagonally as before.

The Kings having this double power of movement, it is an important point for a player to get as many men crowned as possible. If each player should be fortunate enough to get two or three Kings, the [pg 58] game becomes very exciting. Immediately after crowning, it is well for a player to start blocking up his opponent's men, so as to allow more freedom for his own pieces, and thus prepare for winning the game.

It is the rule that if a player touch one of his men he must play it. If player A omit to take a man when it is in his power to do so, his opponent B can huff him; that is, take the man of the player A off the board. If it is to B's advantage, he may insist on his own man being taken, which is called a "blow." The usual way is to take the man of the player A who made the omission, and who was huffed, off the board.

It is not considered right or fair for any one watching the game to advise what move to be made, or for a player to wait longer than five minutes between each move.

Great care should be taken in moving the men, as one false move may at any time endanger the whole game.

With constant practice any one can soon become a very fair player, but even after the game has been played only a few times it will be found very interesting.


There are several ways of playing Dominoes, but the following game is the most simple:

The dominoes are placed on the table, face downward, and each player takes up one, to decide who is to play first. The one who draws the stone with the highest number of pips on it takes the lead. The two stones are then put back among the rest; the dominoes are then shuffled, face downward, and the players choose seven stones each, placing them upright on the table, so that each can see his own stones, without being able to overlook those of his opponent.

As there are twenty-eight stones in an ordinary set, there will still be fourteen left from which to draw.

The player who has won the lead now places a stone, face upward, on the table. Suppose it be double-six, the other player is bound to put down a stone on which six appears, placing the six next to the double-six. [pg 59] Perhaps he may put six-four; the first player then puts six-five, placing his six against the opposite six of the double-six; the second follows with five-four, placing his five against the five already on the table; thus, you see, the players are bound to put down a stone which corresponds at one end with one of the end numbers of those already played. Whenever a player has no corresponding number he must draw from the fourteen that were left out for that purpose. If, when twelve of these fourteen stones are used up, he cannot play, he loses his turn, and his opponent plays instead of him. The two remaining dominoes must not be drawn.

When one of the players has used up all his dominoes, his opponent turns up those he has left, the pips are then counted, and the number of pips is scored to the account of the player who was out first.

If neither player can play, the stones are turned face upward on the table, and the one who has the smallest number of pips scores as follows: If the pips of one player count ten and those of the other player five, the five is deducted from the ten, leaving five to be scored by the player whose pips only counted five.

The dominoes are shuffled again, the second player this time taking the lead, and the game proceeds in this way until one or other has scored a hundred, the first to do so winning the game.

This game is generally played by two only, though it is possible for four, five, or even six to join in it; but, in that case, they cannot, of course, take seven stones each, so they must divide the stones equally between them, leaving a few to draw from, if they prefer it; if not they can divide them all.

Green Gravel

In this game the children join hands and walk round in a circle, singing the following words:

Green gravel, green gravel, your grass is so green,

The fairest young damsel that ever was seen.

I'll wash you in new milk and dress you in silk,

And write down your name with a gold pen and ink.

Oh! (Mary) Oh! (Mary) your true love is dead;

He's sent you a letter to turn round your head.

[pg 60]

When the players arrive at that part of the song, "Oh, Mary!" they name some member of the company; when the song is finished, the one named must turn right round and face the outside of the ring, having her back to all the other players. She then joins hands in this position and the game continues as before until all the players face outward. They then recommence, until they all face the inside of the ring as at first.

Fives and Threes

This is another game that is played with dominoes, and is one of the most popular. It is excellent practice for counting, and to be successful at it depends, in a very great measure, upon skill in doing this. Two, three or four players may take part in this game. After the dominoes have been shuffled, face downward, each player takes an equal number of stones, leaving always three, at least, upon the table; no player, however, may take more than seven, and it is perhaps better to limit the number to five.

In playing dominoes, it should always be borne in mind that one end of the domino to be played must always agree in number with the end of the domino it is to be placed against.

The object of the game is to make as many "fives" and "threes" as are possible; for instance, a player should always make the domino show fifteen if he can, as three divides into fifteen five times, and five divides into fifteen three times, and he would thus score 8 (three and five). The way to count is to add the two extreme ends together, always, of course, trying to make the number as high as possible, and to make it one into which either three or five will divide, as if a number be formed into which these numbers will not divide, no score will result.

Suppose there are two players, A and B. A starts the game by playing the double-six, for which he scores 4 (three dividing into twelve four times). B then plays the six-three, making fifteen, and thus scores 8 (the highest score possible, as explained above). A next plays the double-three, which makes eighteen, and scores 6 (three dividing into eighteen six times). B then plays six-blank onto the [pg 61] double-six on the left-hand side and scores 2 (three dividing into six twice). A holding the blank-three, places it onto the blank end, making the number nine, and scores 3. B next plays the three-four, which makes ten, and 2 is added to his score (five dividing into ten twice). Thus the game proceeds, each player trying to make as many fives and threes as possible.


Birds, Beasts, and Fishes

Take your pencil and write upon the top of your paper the words, "Birds, Beasts, and Fishes." Then tell your companion that you are going to think of, for instance, an animal. Put down the first and last letters of the name, filling in with crosses the letters that have been omitted. For example, write down on the paper C*******e. Your companion would have to think of all the animals' names that he could remember which contained nine letters, and commenced with the letter C and ended with "e." If the second player after guessing several times "gives it up," the first player would tell him that the animal thought of was "Crocodile," and would then think of another Bird, Beast, or Fish, and write it down in a similar manner. If, however, the name of the animal be guessed, then it would be the second player's turn to take the paper and pencil.

Noughts and Crosses

This is a game every boy or girl thoroughly enjoys. Take paper, and with a pencil draw four cross lines as shown:

Two persons only can play at this game, one player taking "noughts," the other "crosses." The idea is for the one player to try and draw three "noughts" in a line before the other player can do the same with three "crosses." Supposing the player who [pg 62] places his "O" in the right-hand top corner, the player who has taken the "crosses" will perhaps place an "X" in the left-hand top corner. The next "O" would be placed in the bottom left-hand corner; then to prevent the line of three "noughts" being completed, the second player would place his "X" in the center square. An "O" would then be immediately placed in the right-hand bottom corner, so that wherever the "X" was placed by the next player, the "noughts" would be bound to win. Say, for instance, the "X" has chosen the "noughts" commences and was placed in the center square on the right-hand side, the place for the "O" to be put would be the center square at the bottom, thus securing the game. The diagram would then appear as illustrated:

"Tit, Tat, Toe"

There can be two, three, or four players for this game. First take paper and pencil and write the players' names across the top of the paper in the order in which they are to play. Next draw a large circle, in the center of which draw a smaller one, placing the number 100 within it. The space between the inner and outer circles must be divided into parts, each having a number, as shown in the diagram.

This having been done, the first player closes his eyes, takes the pencil, and places his hand over the paper, the point of the pencil just touching it. He then repeats the following rhyme, moving the pencil round and round while doing so:

Tit, tat, toe,

My first go,

Four jolly butcher boys

[pg 63]

All in a row.

Stick one up,

Stick one down,

Stick one in

The old man's crown.

At the word "crown" the player must keep the point of the pencil firmly on the paper, and open his eyes. If the pencil is not within the circle, or if within but with the point of the pencil resting upon a line, then the player gives the pencil to the next player, having scored nothing.

If, on the contrary, at the end of the rhyme, the pencil is found to be resting in a division of the circle, for instance, marked "70," that number is placed beneath the player's name, and the section is struck by drawing a line across it. If afterward the pencil rest in a division of the circle that has been struck out, the player loses his turn in the same way as if the pencil were not in the circle at all, or had rested upon a line of the diagram.

The game continues until all the divisions of the circle have been scored out, when the numbers gained by each of the players are added up, and the one who has scored the highest number of points wins the game.



Speculation is a game at which any number of persons may play. The stakes are made with counters or nuts, and the value of the stakes is settled by the company. The highest trump in each deal wins the pool.

When the dealer has been chosen, he puts, say, six counters in the pool and every other player puts four; three cards are given to each person, though they must be dealt one at a time; another card is then turned up, and called the trump card. The cards must be left upon the table, but the player on the left-hand side of the dealer turns up his top card so that all may see it. If it is a trump card, that is to say, if it is of the same suit as the card the dealer turned up, the owner [pg 64] may either keep his card or sell it, and the other players bid for it in turn. Of course, the owner sells it for the highest price he can get.

The next player then turns up his card, keeps it or sells it, and so the game goes on until all the cards have been shown and disposed of, and then the player who holds the highest trump either in his own hand or among the cards he has bought, takes the pool, and there is another deal.

Should none of the other players have a trump card in his hand, and the turn-up card not having been purchased by another player, the dealer takes the pool.

If any one look at his cards out of turn, he can be made to turn all three up, so that the whole company can see them.

All Fours

This game takes its name from the four chances or points of which it consists, namely, "High," "Low," "Jack," and "Game." It may be played by two or four players, but the same rules apply to each.

The four points, which have been already mentioned, count as follows: "High," the highest trump out; the holder scores one point. "Low," the lowest trump out; the original holder of it scores one point even if it is taken by his adversary. "Jack," the knave of trumps; the holder scores one point, unless it be won by his adversary, in which case the winner scores one. "Game," the greatest number of tricks gained by either party; reckoning for each Ace four toward game, each King three toward game, each Queen two toward game, each Jack one toward game, each Ten ten toward game.

The other cards do not count toward game; thus it may happen that a deal may be played without either party having any to score for "Game."

When the players hold equal numbers, the dealer does not score.

Plate 4 (click to view).

Begging is when the player next the dealer does not like his cards and says, "I beg," in which case the dealer must either let him score one, saying, "Take one," or give three more cards from the pack to all the players and then turn up the next card for trumps; if the trump turned up is the same suit as the last, the dealer must give another [pg 65] three cards until a different suit turns up trumps. In playing this game the ace is the highest card and the deuce (the two) is the lowest.

Having shuffled and cut a pack of cards, the dealer gives six to each player. If there be two playing, he turns up the thirteenth card for trumps; if four are playing, he turns up the twenty-fifth. Should the turn-up be a jack, the dealer scores one point. The player next the dealer looks at his hand and either holds it or "begs," as explained.

The game then begins by the player next the dealer leading a card, the others following suit, the highest card taking the trick, and so on until the six tricks have been won. When the six tricks are played, the points are taken for High, Low, Jack, and Game.

Should no player have either a court card or a ten, the player next to the dealer scores the point for the game. If only one trump should be out, it counts both High and Low to the player who first has it. The first great thing in this game is to try and win the jack; next you must try and make the tens; and you must also try and win the tricks.


The pack of cards is dealt round, face downward, and each player packs his cards together, without looking at them, and then places them in front of him.

The first player then turns up the top card of his pack, the next does the same, and so on in turn; but, as soon as a player turns up a card corresponding in number to the one already lying, uncovered, on the table, one of the two to whom the cards belong cries, "Snap."

Whichever succeeds in saying it first takes, not only the snap card of the other player, but all the cards he has already turned up, and also those he has himself turned up. The cards he wins must be placed at the bottom of his own pack.

The one who succeeds in winning all the cards wins the game. It is necessary to be very attentive and very quick if you want to be successful at this game.

There is a game very similar to the above called "Animal Snap." Each player takes the name of an animal, and instead of crying "Snap," he must cry the name of the animal chosen by the player who [pg 66] turned up the last card. For instance, suppose a five be turned up and a player who has chosen the name of "Tiger" turn up another five, instead of crying "Snap," "Tiger" would be called if "Tiger" did not succeed in crying the other player's name first.

Snip, Snap, Snorum

This is a first-rate game and very exciting. Any number of players may take part in it, and the whole of the fifty-two cards are dealt out.

Each player has five counters, and there is a pool in the middle, which is empty at the commencement of the game.

The first player plays a card—say it is a six—then the one next to him looks through his cards, and if he has another six he puts it down and says, "Snip"; the first player must then pay a counter into the pool.

If the next player should chance to have another six, he plays it and says "Snap," and the one who is snapped must pay in his turn, but the fine is increased to two counters. Should the fourth player have the fourth six, he plays it, and says, "Snorum," and the third player must now pay; his fine is three counters to the pool. No person may play out of his turn, and every one must "snip" when it is in his power. When any one has paid the whole of his five counters to the pool he retires from the game; the pool becomes the property of the one whose counters last the longest.

Old Maid

From a pack of cards take out one queen, shuffle the cards and deal them, face downward, equally among all the players. The cards should then be taken, the pairs sorted out and thrown upon the table. By "pairs" is meant two kings, or two fives, and so on. When all the pairs have been sorted out, the dealer offers the remainder of his cards to his felt-hand neighbor, who draws any card he chooses to select, though he is only allowed to see the backs of them. The player who has drawn then looks at the cards to see if he can pair it with one he [pg 67] holds in his hand; if he can, he throws out the pair; if not, he must place it with his other cards. It is now his turn to offer his cards to his neighbor, and so the game goes on until all the cards are paired, except, of course, the odd card which is the companion to the banished queen. The holder of this card is "the old maid."

Pope Joan

This amusing game is for any number of players, and is played with a wooden board which is divided into compartments or pools, and can be bought cheaply at any toy shop for a small sum. Failing a board, use a sheet of paper marked out in squares.

Before dealing, the eight of diamonds is taken out of the pack, and the deal is settled by cutting the cards, and whoever turns up the first jack is dealer.

The dealer then shuffles the cards and his left-hand neighbor cuts them. The dealer must next "dress the board," that is, he must put counters into the pools, which are all marked differently. This is the way to dress the board: One counter to each ace, king, queen, jack, and game, two to matrimony (king and queen), two to intrigue (queen and jack), and six to the nine of diamonds, which is the Pope. On a proper board you will see these marked on it.

The cards are now dealt round to the players, with the exception of one card, which is turned up for trumps, and six or eight, which are put aside to form the stops; the four kings and the seven of diamonds are also always stops.

If either ace, king, queen, or jack happen to be turned up for trumps, the dealer may take whatever is in the compartment with that mark; but when Pope is turned up for trumps, the dealer takes all the counters in Pope's compartment as well as those in the "game" compartment, besides a counter for every card dealt to each player, which must, of course, be paid by the players. There is then a fresh deal.

It is very seldom, however, that Pope does turn up for trumps; when it does not happen, the player next to the dealer begins to play, trying to get rid of as many cards as possible. First he leads cards which he knows will be stops, then Pope, if he has it, and afterward [pg 68] the lowest card in his suit, particularly an ace, for that can never be led up to. The other players follow when they can; for instance, if the leader plays the two of diamonds, whoever holds the three plays it, some one follows with the four, and so on until a stop occurs; whoever plays the card which makes a stop becomes leader and can play what he chooses.

This goes on until some person has parted with all his cards, by which he wins the counters in the "game" compartment and receives from the players a counter for every card they hold. Should any one hold the Pope he is excused from paying, unless he happens to have played it.

Whoever plays any of the cards which have pools or compartments takes the counters in that pool. If any of these cards are not played, the counters remain over for the next game.

"I Suspect You"

This game may be played by any number of persons. As soon as the cards have been dealt and the players have examined their hands, the one on the left of the dealer plays the lowest card he has (the ace counting lowest). He must place the card face downward on the table, at the same time calling out what it is. The next player also puts down a card, face downward, and calls the next number; for instance, if No. 1 puts down a card and says "One," No. 2 says "Two," No. 3 "Three," and so on.

It is not necessary for the card laid down to be actually the one called out. The fun of the game is to put down the wrong card without, any one suspecting you. Naturally, it is not often that the cards run straight on, as no one may play out of turn, and if one player thinks another has put down the wrong card, he says, "I suspect you." The player must then show his card, and if it should not be the one he said, he must take all the cards laid down and add them to his pack; if, however, the card happens to be the right one, then the accuser must take the cards. The player who first succeeds in getting rid of his cards wins the game.

[pg 69]

Beggar My Neighbor

The cards are dealt equally to the players. The first player puts down a card, face upward, upon the table. If it be a common card, that is, a two, or three, or anything but a picture card or an ace, his neighbors put down in turn their cards until a court card (that is, a picture card or an ace) turns up.

If at last an ace be played, the neighbor of the one who plays it must pay him four cards; if a king three cards, if a queen two, and if a jack one. The one who played the court card also takes all the cards that have been played, and puts them under his own pack. If, however, in playing for a court card, one of the players puts down another court card, then his neighbor must pay him, and he takes the whole pack instead of the previous player. Sometimes it happens that a second player in paying puts down a court card, and the third player in paying him puts down another, and so on, until perhaps the fourth or fifth player actually gets the cards in the end.


Few children think they will ever tire of playing games; but all the same, toward 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 can sit quietly round 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.

[pg 70]

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.

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 like 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.

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

[pg 71]

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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 dollar bill much more profitable than five silver dollars? 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.

[pg 72]

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

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.

What is that which goes from Chicago to Philadelphia without moving? The road.

Which is easier to spell—fiddle-de-dee or fiddle-de-dum? Fiddle-de-dee, because it is spelled 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.

If a bear were to go into a dry goods store, what would he want? He would want muzzlin'.

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

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

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.

[pg 73]

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

Why is a schoolmaster like a bootblack? Because he polishes the understandings of the people.

When is a store-keeper always above his business? When he lives over his store.

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 loco-motive.

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.

Why need a traveler 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 dinner on board a steamboat like Easter Day? Because it is a movable feast.

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

[pg 74]

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 wars, the other goes to pieces.

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 shoes 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 Panama Exposition?" 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 supplies with? Ceiling whacks (sealing-wax).

Which is the oldest tree in the country? The elder tree.

[pg 75]

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

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

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

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.

[pg 76]

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 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.

Why is A like twelve o'clock? It is the middle of "day"

When is a man thinner than a lath? When he is a-shaving.

Thought Reading

This is a very good game, which always causes considerable amusement, and if skillfully carried out will very successfully mystify the whole company.

It is necessary that the player who is to take the part of thought-reader should have a confederate, and the game is then played as follows:

The thought-reader, having arranged that the confederate should write a certain word, commences by asking four members of the company to write each a word upon a piece of paper, fold it up in such a manner that it cannot be seen, and then to pass it on to him. The confederate, of course, volunteers to make one of the four, and writes the word previously agreed upon, which is, we will suppose, "Ohio."

The thought-reader places the slips of paper between his fingers, taking care to put the paper of his confederate between the third and little finger; he then takes the folded paper from between his thumb [pg 77] and first finger and rubs it, folded as it is, over his forehead, at each rub mentioning a letter, as O, rub, H, rub, I O, after which he calls out that some lady or gentleman has written "Ohio." "I did," replies the confederate.

The thought-reader then opens the paper, looks at it, and slips it into his pocket; he has, however, looked at one of the other papers.

Consequently he is now in a position to spell another word, which he proceeds to do in the same manner, and thus the game goes on until all the papers have been read.

The Cushion Dance

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 upward, in the middle of the room. Suddenly one party endeavors 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.

The Farmyard

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.

[pg 78]

"I Point"

It is necessary in this game for the player acting the part of guesser to have a confederate; he is then able to leave the room, and on his return to mention what person was pointed at during his absence. It is done in this way: It is agreed between the guesser and his confederate that whoever speaks last before the door is closed upon the guesser shall be the person who is to be pointed at. It is very seldom that any one discovers this trick.

Diamond Ring

The players sit in a circle with their hands placed palm to palm, the little fingers downward, between the knees. One of the company is chosen to act the part of maid. She takes a ring between her palms, which she keeps flat together in the same way as the rest. She then visits each person in turn and places her hands between the palms of each, so that she is able to slip the ring into some one's hands without the others knowing. When she has visited each, she touches one child, and says:

"My lady's lost her diamond ring;

I fix upon you to find it."

The child touched must then guess who has the ring. If she guess correctly, she becomes the maid; if not, she must pay a forfeit. The maid then touches some one else and repeats the two lines given above. Each guesser may be allowed three trials.

The Forbidden Letter

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."

[pg 79]

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.

Grand Mufti

One of the company is chosen as Grand Mufti. The others then form a circle with the Grand Mufti in the center, 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.

Magic Writing

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 while 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).

[pg 80]

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 an audience for a considerable time.


The company divides itself into equal sides, and each side must have a "home" in opposite corners of the room. The sides retire to their own "homes," and one side privately chooses a flower, then crosses over to the other corner and gives the initial letter of that flower. The children on the second side must try and guess the name of the flower, and when they have done so they catch as many as they can of the opposite side before they reach their "home."

Those caught must go over to the other side, and the game goes on until one side has won all the children. The sides take it in turns to give the name of the flower. This game may also be played in the garden.

Fox and Geese

One of the party, called the Fox, goes to one end of the room, and the rest of the children arrange themselves in a ring, one behind the other, the tallest first and the smallest last. The first one is called Mother Goose. The game begins by a conversation between the Fox and Mother Goose. "What are you after this fine morning?" says she. "Taking a walk," the Fox answers. "What for?" "To get an appetite for breakfast." "What will you have for breakfast?" "A nice fat goose." "Where will you get it?" "Well, as your geese are so handy, I will take one of them." "Catch one if you can."

Mother Goose then stretches out her arms to protect her geese and not let the Fox catch one. The Fox tries to dodge under, right and left, until he is able to catch the last of the string. Of course, the brood must try and keep out of reach of the Fox. As the geese are caught they must go over to the den of the Fox, and the game continues until all are caught.

[pg 81]

"I Sell My Bat, I Sell My Ball"

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."

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

"What's My Thought Like?"

The players sit in a circle, and one of them asks the others: "What's my thought like?" One player may say: "A monkey;" the second, "A candle;" the third, "A pin," and so on. When all the company have compared the thought to some object, the first player tells them the thought—perhaps it is "the Cat"—and then asks each, in turn, why it is like the object he compared it to.

"Why is my cat like a monkey?" is asked. The other player might answer: "Because it is full of tricks." "Why is my cat like a candle?" "Because its eyes glow like a candle in the dark." "Why is my cat like a pin?" "Because its claws scratch like a pin."

Any one who is unable to explain why the thought resembles the object he mentioned must pay a forfeit.

Cat's Cradle

Take a piece of string and knot the ends together and slip it over your hands, as in Fig. 1.

Next wind the string round your hands, not including the thumb, as in Fig. 2.

[pg 82]

Slip the second fingers through the string on your hands and you have your cat's cradle, as in Fig. 3.

You must now ask a second person to put his thumbs and first fingers through the cradle, as in Fig. 4.

Draw out the string and take it under the cradle, and you will have Fig. 5.

Slip the thumbs and first fingers again into the side pieces of the cradle, draw the string sideways and take it under the cradle, and you will have Fig. 6.

Now curl the little fingers round the string, slipping one under the other as shown, and draw out the side pieces.

Slip the thumb and first fingers under the side string, bring them up the middle, and you have your original cat's cradle again.

[pg 83]


To play this game the company seat themselves in a circle, while one of the players commences to describe some person with whom most of the other players are familiar, and continues until one or other of the company is able to guess from the description who the person may be.

The one guessing correctly then commences to describe some one. If, however, the company are unable to make a correct guess, the player goes on until some one is successful.

Frog in the Middle

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

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


This game must be arranged in the nature of a surprise for the company assembled. The giant is formed by two youngsters, one of whom seats himself on the shoulders of his friend. A large cloak should then be thrown over them, to make it appear as if it were only one person, and the top boy might wear a mask to prevent recognition. The giant then enters the room and commences dancing. Great amusement is afforded the little folk by this game.

Cock Fighting

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.

[pg 84]

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.

Games with the Alphabet

It is necessary for these games that a large boxful of letters should be provided, which can be purchased at any toy store or made by the young people themselves by being cut out of newspapers. The [pg 85] children should seat themselves round the table; the letters should then be well shuffled and dealt round to the players. Each child has to form a word or sentence out of the letters which he has received. Another variation is to select a long word, and then in a given time to try to form several words from it. Names of well-known men, places, etc., can also be given. These games are not only amusing, but serve at the same time to instruct the young folk.

Honey Pots

For little ones there is scarcely a more popular game than "Honey Pots." Small children of three and four can be included in this game, but there should be two bigger children for the "Buyer" and the "Merchant." The children, with the exception of the Buyer and Merchant, seat themselves upon the floor of the room, with their knees raised and their hands clasped together round them. These children are called "Honey Pots." The Merchant and the Buyer then talk about the quality and quantity of the Honey, and the price of each Pot. It is agreed that the price to be paid shall be according to the weight of the "Honey" and the "Pot." The children are carefully "weighed" by raising them two or three times from the floor and swinging them by the arms, one arm held by the Merchant and the other by the Buyer.

[pg 86]

When the "Honey Pots" are all weighed, the Buyer says he will purchase the whole of the stock, and asks the Merchant to help him carry the Pots home. Then the Merchant and the Buyer carry the children, one by one, to the other end of the room.

When all are safely at the Buyer's house, the Merchant goes out of the room, but suddenly returns and says to the Buyer: "I believe you have carried off my little daughter in one of the Honey Pots." The Buyer replies: "I think not. You sold me all the Pots full of Honey, but if you doubt me you can taste them."

The Merchant then pretends to taste the Honey, and after having tried two or three Pots exclaims: "Ah! this tastes very much like my little daughter." The little girl who represents the Honey Pot chosen by the Merchant then cries out: "Yes, I am your little girl," and immediately jumps up and runs away, the Buyer at the same time endeavoring to catch her.

When the one Honey Pot runs away, all the others do the same, the Buyer catches whom he can, and the game recommences.

The Spelling Game

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 [pg 87] next 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.

This is a most amusing game for a large party, for as the different persons lose their three "lives," the players gradually dwindle down to two or three, when it gets very exciting to see who will be the last person left in, for he or she will be declared the winner.

"Draw a Pail of Water."

"Draw a pail of water

For my lady's daughter;

My father's a king and my mother's a queen,

My two little sisters are dressed in green;

Stamping grass and parsley,

Marigold leaves and daisies,

One rush, two rush,

Pray thee, fine lady, come under my bush."

Two children stand face to face, holding each other's hands. Two others also face each other holding hands across the other two. They seesaw backward and forward, singing the above lines.

When they come to the line, "Pray thee, fine lady, come under my bush," another child pops under and comes up between one child's [pg 88] arms. They sing the verse again and another child creeps under another pair of arms, and so on until there are eight children standing facing each other. The must then jump up and down until one falls down, when she is almost sure to pull the others over.

Questions and Answers

Each player is furnished with a pencil and two slips of paper. On the first slip a question must be written. The papers are then collected and put into a bag or basket.

Then the players write an answer on their second slip. These are put into a different bag, and the two bags are then well shaken and handed round to the company.

Every one draws a question and an answer, and must then read the two out to the company.

The result is sometimes very comical; for instance:


Do you like roses?

Where are you going to this summer?

Do you like beef?

Do you like spiders?


Yes, with mustard.

I am very much afraid of them.

Yes, without thorns.

To Switzerland.

Duck Under the Water

Each child chooses a partner and stands opposite to her, so that two long lines are formed. Each couple hold 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 [pg 89] 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.


It is necessary that two only 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 to name, through a closed door, 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, Rug, 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 skillful there is no need for the trick to be discovered.

"Mother, Mother, the Pot Boils Over"

A number of children choose one of their number to be "mother" and another to be the witch. One child represents the pot, and the others are named after the days in the week, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, etc. If there are too many children they might be called after the months.

The mother first names the children, next she takes the pot and pretends to put it on the fire. She tells the eldest daughter that she is going to wash, and that she must take great care of her brothers and sisters while she is away, and on no account to let the old witch into the house. She is also to look after the dinner and see that the pot [pg 90] does not boil over. The mother then goes away, and the eldest daughter pretends to be very busy.

The child who is supposed to be the witch knocks at the door, and asks if she may come in and get a light for her pipe. She must pretend to be very old and walk with a stick.

"Come in," says the eldest daughter; "what do you want?"

"To light my pipe at your fire."

"Very well, but you must not dirty the range."

"Certainly not; I'll be very careful."

While the eldest daughter pretends to look on the shelf for something, the witch puts her dirty shoe on the range, catches hold of Monday (the youngest child) and runs off with him. The child who is the pot now makes a hissing noise and pretends to boil over. The daughter calls out:

"Mother, mother, the pot boils over."

"Take a spoon and skim it."

"Can't find one."

"Look on the shelf."

"Can't reach."

"Take the stool."

"The leg's broken."

"Take the chair."

"The chair's gone to be mended."

"I suppose I must come myself."

The mother comes in from the washtub, drying her hands.

"Where's Monday?" she asks.

"Please, mother, some one came to beg for a light for her pipe, and when my back was turned she took Monday."

"Why, that was the witch."

The mother pretends to beat the eldest daughter, tells her to be more careful another time, and goes back to the washtub. The game then goes on as before, and each time the witch comes she takes away a child, until at last even the eldest daughter is taken. The pot boils over for the last time and then the mother, finding all her children gone, goes to the witch's house to find them, when this conversation ensues:

"Is this the way to the witch's house?"

[pg 91]

"There's a red bull that way."

"Then I'll go this way."

"There's a mad cow that way."

But the mother insists upon going into the witch's house to look for her children. The witch generally hides the children behind chairs. The mother stoops over one child: "This tastes like Monday," she says, but the witch replies: "That! it is a barrel of pork."

"No, no," says the mother, "it is my Monday, and there are the rest of the children." The children now jump out and they and their mother begin to run home; the witch runs after them, and whoever she catches becomes witch, while the witch becomes the eldest daughter.

The Ants and the Grasshopper

Lots are drawn in order to decide who shall be the grasshopper; the ants then seat themselves in a circle, while the grasshopper writes on a piece of paper the name of a grain or food which a grasshopper might be supposed to like. He puts this in his pocket and then addresses the ants:

"Dear friends, I am very hungry; would any of you kindly give me some food?"

"I have nothing but a grain of barley," says the ant spoken to.

"Thank you; that is of no use to me," replies the grasshopper, and goes on to the next player. As soon as any one offers the grain of food which the grasshopper has written down the paper must be produced, and the one who guessed the word pays a forfeit and becomes grasshopper. If no one guesses the word, the grasshopper pays a forfeit.

The game then goes on in the same way, except that a different question is asked on the second round.

"Neighbors," says the grasshopper, "I have eaten abundantly and would have a dance. Which would you recommend?"

A waltz, a polka, a quadrille, etc., are suggested, and when this question has gone the round, the grasshopper asks what music he can dance to, and the ants suggest the music of the violin, the piano, cornet, etc. Then the grasshopper says he is tired of dancing and wishes [pg 92] for a bed, and the ants offer him moss, straw, grass, and so on, to lie upon.

"I should sleep very comfortably," the grasshopper says, "but I am in fear of being pounced upon by a hungry bird. What bird have I most reason to fear?" The ants answer: The rook, the lark, the cuckoo, etc.

When the game is ended, the forfeits that have been lost must be called.

The Magic Whistle

All the players but three stand in two rows facing each other. One player sits at the end of the two rows, another leads a third player into the room and makes him kneel down before the player who is seated, and who is called the President.

The President then proceeds to make all sorts of "magic" passes over the kneeler's face, back, and hands. While he is doing this, the boy who led the victim in fastens a whistle to his coat. It must be slung on to a piece of string or tape, and fastened very loosely, so that it can be easily grasped and yet will not knock against the wearer's back.

The whistle is then blown by the boy who attached it, and the kneeling boy is told to rise and search for the magic whistle. The players who stand on each side must hold their hands before their mouths and pretend to blow whenever the whistle is blown, which must be as often as any one can get a chance without being found out.

The victim will search all along the rows trying to find the magic whistle, and it will be some time before he discovers that it is pinned to his own coat.

A Running Maze

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 [pg 93] 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 center, and can either wind the children up tightly or can turn them on nearing the center and run out again. For another change the long line can start running and so unwind the spiral.

The Coach and Four

Two children stand hand-in-hand, side by side. These are the front horses. Two others, close behind, stand also hand-in-hand and side by side. These are the back horses.

Slip reins over the left arm of one of the front horses, and over the right arm of the other. The two back horses hold on the reins, standing inside them. A driver must then be chosen, who gathers up the reins in his left hand and in his right hand holds a whip.

Running beside him, equipped with a horn and parcels and letters, is another child, who acts as guard or conductor. The rest of the children form village streets, by standing in rows facing one another.

The coach and four, with the driver and guard, gallop about the room and through the villages, the guard blowing his horn and tossing out a paper or letter here and there.

Change horses every now and then, so that all may have a turn at being horses. A change of driver and guard, too, is also much appreciated.

When the children have had about enough of this game, start a cheer as the coach dashes through the villages for the last time. Two coaches greatly add to the fun and enjoyment, as they have to pass and repass each other.

Malaga Raisins

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 [pg 94] 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.

Sally Water

This game can be played by any number of children. A ring is formed in which all join with the exception of one little girl, who kneels in the center of the ring. The children then dance round her, singing the following verses:

"Sally, Sally Water, sprinkle in the pan,

Rise, Sally, rise, Sally, for a young man;

Choose for the best and choose for the worst,

And choose the very one you love best.

"Now you're married I wish you joy,

First a girl and then a boy;

Seven years after, son and daughter,

Pray, young couple, come kiss together."

[pg 95]

When they come to the words, "Rise, Sally!" the child in the center rises and chooses another from the ring. The next two lines are then sung, and the two children in the ring dance round and kiss. Sally then joins the ring, the second child remaining in the circle, and the game is continued as before until all the players have acted the part of Sally.

Pigeon-House Game

Make a ring of children. In the center place five or six of the smaller children of the party. This forms the pigeon-house and pigeons.

Now choose one child (boy or girl) to open or shut this old-fashioned dovecote.

He runs round the ring outside and gently pushes the children in toward the center, and close to the pigeons, who are sitting on the ground softly cooing (or not, just as they please).

This done he moves back. Let him be called the farmer or the farmer's boy, if a name is wanted.

A pretty and lively tune is now started on the piano. Directly it begins, the boy runs forward and pulls open the ring of children, which widens out with raised arms, to form pigeon-holes.

The pigeons rise to their feet and fly out of these holes, round and round the room.

As the music begins to stop and die away, the pigeons should return to their dovecote, and when the last note sounds they should all be settled again. The farmer's boy now runs round the ring, closing it in and making all safe for the night.

This game can be played without music, and the elder children can take their turn at being pigeons.

Oats and Beans and Barley

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 [pg 96] to scatter seed; they 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 take 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 center joins the ring and the game is continued as before.

"Oats and beans and barley O!

Do you or I or any one 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 a 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!"


"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.

[pg 97]

"The miller he bought some peppermint,

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 verses. When it comes to the spelling part of the rhyme, the miller points to a child, who must call out the right letter.

Any one who makes a mistake must pay a forfeit.

Lubin Loo

This game can be played by any number of children. The players form a ring by clasping hands; they then dance round singing the first verse, which after the second verse serves as a chorus.

"Here we dance lubin, loo,

Here we dance lubin, light,

Here we dance lubin, loo,

On a Saturday night."

While singing the second verse, the children stop, unclasp their hands and suit their actions to the words contained in the verse.

"I put my right hand in,

I put my right hand out,

I give my right hand shake, shake, shake,

And turn myself about."

Each child while singing this first stretches her right arm toward the center of the ring, then draws the same arm back as far as possible, next shakes or swings her right hand, and when the last line is sung she turns right round. The children then once more join hands, and commence dancing, at the same time singing the chorus. The game proceeds as before until all the verses have been sung. Here are the remaining verses:

[pg 98]

"Here we dance the lubin, loo,

Here we dance lubin, light,

Here we dance lubin, loo,

On a Saturday night.

"I put my left hand in,

I put my left hand out,

I give my left hand shake, shake, shake,

And turn myself about."


"Here we dance lubin, loo," etc.

"I put my right foot in,

I put my right foot out,

I give my right foot shake, shake, shake,

And turn myself about."


"Here we dance lubin, loo," etc.

"I put my left foot in,

I put my left foot out,

I give my left foot shake, shake, shake,

And turn myself about."


"Here we dance lubin, loo," etc.

"I put my own head in,

I put my own head out,

I give my own head shake, shake, shake,

And turn myself about."


"Here we dance lubin, loo," etc.

[pg 99]

"I put my both hands in,

I put my both hands out,

I give my both hands shake, shake, shake,

And turn myself about."


"Here we dance lubin, loo," etc.

"I put my both feet in,

I put my both feet out,

I give my both feet shake, shake, shake,

And turn myself about."


"Here we dance lubin, loo," etc.

The Little Lady

For this game a number of pieces of rolled-up paper to represent horns are required. Whoever makes a mistake in the game has a horn stuck in her hair; or, if little boys are playing, the horns might be stuck behind the ears.

The leader of the game begins by saying to her right hand neighbor: "Good morning, pretty lady, always pretty; I, a pretty lady, always pretty, come from that pretty lady, always pretty" (here she points to the girl on her left), "to tell you that she owns an eagle with a golden beak."

The next player turns to her right-hand neighbor, saying: "Good morning, pretty lady, always pretty; I, a pretty lady, always pretty, come from that pretty lady, always pretty" (here she points to the last speaker), "to tell you that she owns an eagle with a golden beak and silver claws."

The next girl continues the story word for word, adding "a rare skin." The next adds "diamond eyes," and the next "purple feathers." If there are a great number of children, other charms must be added to the eagle, but each child must say the whole of the story, and for [pg 100] each mistake made she receives a paper horn, which must be stuck somewhere about the head. At the end of the game a forfeit must be paid for each of these horns.

"Birds Fly"

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 creates "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.

I Say Stoop

Teacher says to the class: "I say stoop."

Upon the word stoop all the children must stoop. If they do not they must be seated. The teacher must say "I say stand." The children must stand. If they do not they must be seated.

This game will cause the children to think quickly, and to act quickly.

The teacher can say: "I say fold the hands behind the back.

"I say take a deep breath of air."

"I say hands on hips."

"I say raise the arms over the head."

Anything else may be substituted; those who are slow to act and think must be seated.

The one who remains standing the longest wins.

Flag Race

Players seated at desks. Rows need not be full, but there must be same number in each row. Choose a player to stand in front of each row to hold the flag, and another to stand at the rear of each row. At the signal the rear player of each row rises, runs to the front, [pg 101] takes the flag from the one holding it, carries it to the one standing at the rear, and takes his seat. As soon as he is seated the next player goes and takes the flag back to the player in front. This continues till all have run. Be sure that no team has an unfair advantage because of the positions taken by the flag holders.

Squirrel and Nut

Players all seated, but one, heads on desks and eyes covered, one hand open on desk with palm up. The odd player is a squirrel and passes up and down between the rows and puts a nut in the hand of some player.... This one rises and chases the squirrel. If the squirrel is caught before he can reach his own seat, the one who caught him becomes squirrel; if the squirrel is not caught, he can be squirrel again.

Racing and Counting Scores

Make a scoreboard on the blackboard, indicating each row by a number of letter. Players run as in "Racing" (First Grade, First Half Year). Have front players run, tag front wall and return to seats, sit erect; mark score; others in a similar manner. Repeat, runners tagging rear wall. See which row has largest score.

School-room Basket Ball

Place a basket in the front seat of the second row and another in the front seat of next to last row. Draw a throwing line on floor 20 feet from each basket. At some time beforehand choose four captains and have these captains choose teams, choosing in turn. Teams stand at least two rows apart and behind throwing line, each team having a ball. Captains stand beyond baskets, two captains at same basket. Each captain passes the ball in turn to his players and they throw for the basket. Team throwing the most baskets in a round wins one point, first to get five points wins the contest.

[pg 102]

Last Man

Players seated at desks. Rows playing must be full rows. The game is much like "Fox and Squirrel" (see First Grade, Second Half Year). One player is "it," and there is one runner, besides the full rows of seats. The runner may come to the front of any row and call "Last Man," and then each player in that row must move back one place, leaving the front seat for the runner, who is now safe. The last one in the rear of the row will be out of a place and thus becomes runner. When a runner is tagged, he is "it," and the one who caught him becomes runner and must get out of the way at once.

Changing Seats

Players seated at desks. When teacher commands "Change right," all move one place to right and the right hand row stands. In like manner the command may be "Change front," "Change back," or "Change left." At first it is best to follow each change by the reverse, so as to allow those standing to get seats, but later they may be told that they must run to the vacant seats on the opposite side or end of the room. Leaders may be chosen to act in place of the teacher.

Huckle, Buckle, Beanstalk

The children close their eyes and put their heads on their desks. A small object—a thimble or button—is placed in plain sight. At a signal, the children move about the room, and when they see it, take their seats without making any sign of its whereabouts. The first one to see it may hide it the next time.

Blackboard Relay

This is like the blackboard relay played in the third grade, but instead of marks and letters, words must be written; these may be required to form a sentence, numbers may be written and afterwards added, subtracted, etc., by the succeeding players, or each player may [pg 103] write his own name. It is often interesting to have the last player required to erase all his team has written, or each child may erase his own writing, passing the eraser as he did the chalk.

Hide the Thimble

One child goes out of the room. A thimble or button is placed in plain sight by another child. The one who was sent out is then guided to the object by the clapping of the children—soft clapping for "cold," and louder for "warm."

Suggestive Breathing Work

1. March winds whistling through the trees. Inhale a deep breath and imitate the wind.

2. Keeping a feather in the air. Run with head back and blow short breaths, keeping an imaginary feather from falling to the ground.

3. Making Ocean Waves. By blowing the water in a large basin.

The Fox Chase

Four farmers are in their home in the country enjoying a quiet evening.

They hear a sound outside, they watch and listen and decide that the foxes are near the cabin. They wait until they are very close, then give chase—and catch as many as they can before the foxes have reached their home in the forest. All caught become farmers and help to catch the rest.


The players join hands to form a circle. About ten erasers are placed in the center of the circle, with spaces between them through which a player might step. The players then try by means of pushing or pulling their comrades by means of clasped hands, to make them [pg 104] knock over the erasers. Any player who knocks over an eraser or who unclasps hands must take his seat, the erasers again being replaced. The first players so leaving the circle form a scrub circle. The player wins who remains longest in the first circle.


All the pupils are seated except one. The odd player walks or runs through the aisles, touching some player, and runs around the room in the direction he is going. The one touched immediately leaves his seat, and runs around the room in the opposite direction. The first one back in the empty seat wins.

Dodging through the aisles to shorten the distance is not allowed. The run must be around the outside of the room.

Crow's Race

All players form in a straight line. Grasp just above ankles and on "Go," run a very short distance and return, keeping hold above ankles all the time.

Riding the Bicycle

Hands in position in front, as though grasping the handle-bars, running in place with lifting the knee high and pointing toe to the ground. The same movement, traveling forward with short, quick steps.

Cat and Rat

Children form a circle around the room, with hands joined. A "cat" is chosen to stand outside the circle, a "rat" to stand inside. The players are friends of the rat, and raise their arms to let him under, but keep them down when the cat tries to get through. The cat chases the rat in and out of the circle, among desks and over seats, till the "rat" is caught, when a new cat and rat are chosen.

[pg 105]

Jumping the Rope

This makes a splendid combination exercise. Swing the arms in a large circle, as though swinging the rope, and jump each time that the rope comes down. Travel forward with the same exercises, jumping and landing on one foot instead of both.


The children stand or sit in one line. One is teacher and he or she throws a bean bag or soft ball in rotation down the line, the child missing goes to the front. When the teacher misses he or she goes to the foot and the child at the head becomes teacher. No bad or swift throws are counted.


This game is a great favorite with all the children, even in the upper grades. Two players are chosen as bird-catchers, and stand in one corner of the room. The "mother-bird" is chosen to stand in another "nest" in the other front corner of the room. The other players are named in groups (those in one row of seats usually) for various birds, "robins," "wrens," etc. As the name of each group of birds is called, they go to the back of the room, and, at a signal, run to the "mother-bird's nest." The bird-catchers try to catch them before they reach it. The "birds" dodge in and out among the desks, jumping over the seats, etc. The mother-bird and bird-catchers count their birds at the end of the game, and all "fly" back to their seats; that is, wave their arms and skip to their seats.

Tag Me, or Heads Up

The pupils, upon the command of the player who is the leader and stands in front of the class, fold their arms upon the desk and lower the head upon the arms. The leader has an eraser or other article which he places upon one of the desks. He commands "Heads up" and the [pg 106] pupils raise their heads. The one finding the eraser on his seat rises and chases the leader. If he catches him he becomes the leader; if not, the first one is again the leader. If they fail to catch him after two trials he chooses another leader.

An Eraser Game

A boy places a rubber eraser, or any small object, on the desk of a girl. She takes the eraser and chases him around the room to his seat. If she tags him, he goes to the corner to stand, with others who are caught, till the end of the game. The girl then puts the eraser on a boy's desk, and the game continues.

Circle Ball

Children stand in a circle around the room; one stands in the center, with a bean bag or ball, and makes quick throws to children in different parts of the circle.

Seat Tag—A School-room Game

The one starting the game runs and tags someone near and gets to that child's seat as quickly as he can. The child tries to tag him on the way. If he tags him the one tagged must go in the mush pot, that is, to go to the front of the room and sit down. The one who caught him continues the game, and when another one gets in the mush pot the first one is permitted to take his seat. The game continues until all have had a run.

The runs should all be very short to make the game go quickly.

Dead Ball

Children stand by desks. A tennis or soft rubber ball is thrown among the players. The child hit sits and is out of the game. The child standing near where the ball falls throws it the next time.

[pg 107]

Preliminary Ball

Children stand in rows, facing each other, two rows of desks between them, those on one side having bean bags. On the teacher's counts they throw to those in the row opposite, throwing and catching with both hands. After a given number of throws, they put the left hand behind them, throwing and catching with the right hand; the same with the left hand. This is good muscular training.


Players divide into equal groups. One group forms a circle, the other within. Outside group has a volley or an outdoor baseball with which they try to hit the one's (players) within. As soon as one is hit he must immediately join the circle and help hit the others. When all have been tagged in this way, groups change places and repeat. The two players who were last to be hit in the two games are captains to choose up for the next time.

Third Man

Played much like "Three Deep." Players stand in couples, facing each other, couples scattered in any way around the room. The runner is free from being tagged when he steps between the two players of any couple, and the chaser must chase the one toward whom the runner turns his back.

Fox and Chickens

Choose a player to be fox and another to be the mother hen. The players are the chickens and all form in a line behind the mother hen, and each one grasping the waist of the one in front. The fox tries to tag the last chicken; the line, led by the mother hen, turns and tries to keep between the fox and that chicken. When the last chicken is tagged he becomes fox, and the mother hen chooses another player in her place.

[pg 108]

Eraser Relay

Place an eraser on the front desk of alternate rows. At a signal to start the first child in each row takes the eraser in both hands and passes it over his head to the child behind him. This continues till the last child receives it. The last child runs forward with it, running down the right aisle. On reaching the front seat, his entire row moves one seat backward, so as to leave an empty seat in front. The runner then sits down in the empty seat and passes the eraser backward with both hands as before stated.

The changing of seats should be on the left side.

The game ends when each child is returned to his own seat.

School-room Tag

Mark a circle on floor in front of desks. Choose a player to be "it." He stands near but not in the circle and calls the names of three players. The players must rise and try to reach the circle without being tagged. They run in any style in either direction.

The first one tagged is "it" and the game continues as before. If none are caught, three more are named. Encourage naming players who have not been called.

The Serpentine Maze

Players all in single file, teacher leading. Each player reaches right hand forward to player next in front and left hand back, grasping hands. March forward, circling to left and winding up into a spiral. When tightly wound, last player should lead, all turn about to left and wind up, circling to right. Several variations should be used later:

1. Same as first method without grasping hands.

2. When wound as far as possible and leave enough space, teach circles right from center of spiral and line follows, passing out in a reverse spiral; this is done first grasping hands and later without.

3. When leader reaches center of spiral, tight wound, she signals [pg 109] to players in some direction and they lift arms, forming arches, under which the line may pass, teacher leading, hands are kept grasped in this case.

Teacher and Class

Similar to "School Ball." A leader is chosen for each group of eight or ten players, the players in a line and the leader eight or ten feet away at the side. A row in the school-room may be taken as a group, with a leader standing in front. The leader tosses the ball or bean bag to the players in turn, beginning at the head. Any player missing goes to the foot. If the leader misses he goes to the foot and the one at the head becomes leader. If the ball goes twice around and the leader does not miss, he goes in the line just above those who have missed and the head player becomes leader.

Blackboard Relay

The competing rows must be placed where there is a blackboard at the front of each row. First player of each row has a piece of chalk. At the signal he runs to the board and makes a mark with the chalk, then he returns to his seat, and hands the chalk to the next player, [pg 110] who runs and marks in his turn. Later, players may be required to make a cross, circles, capital letters, small letters, add columns of numbers, write words, construct sentences. The teacher is the judge as to whether the marks come up to the requirements, and each team is charged with a foul for each defect.

Tag the Wall Relay

This is like "Racing" (See First Grade), but more continuous. Two or more rows compete. The player in the back seat rises at a signal from the teacher, runs forward down the aisle, tags the wall at the front of the room, and returns to his seat. As soon as he has reached his seat the player next in front of him does the same, the relay being complete when each player in turn has run. The line whose front player is seated first wins.

Slow Poke (Indoors)

Alternate rows of children are chosen. On a signal from the teacher, the last children in the alternate rows, run down the aisles, turn to their left; run down the other aisle, turn on reaching their seats, and tag the person who sits in front of them. The person tagged does as the first person did, tagging the person in front only when he reaches his starting place. Each person running when tagged. Equal numbers should be chosen for each row. The object of the game is to see which row is the winner, depending entirely upon alertness, quickness of mind and honesty in playing with fellow students.


Any one who wishes to play a trick or show off a puzzle should test it privately, before attempting to show it before company, for often, owing to some slight error, the trick may at first prove a failure, whereas a little practice will soon make one perfect.

[pg 111]

The Dancing Egg

Get a hard-boiled egg and place it on the reverse side of a smooth polished plate or bread-platter. If you now turn the plate round while holding it in a horizontal position, the egg, which is in the middle of it, will turn round also, and as the pace is quickened, the egg will move more and more quickly, until it stands up on one end and spins round like a top. In order to be quite sure that the experiment will succeed, you should keep the egg upright while it is being boiled, so that the inside may be hardened in the proper position.

The Magic Thread

Soak a piece of thread in a solution of salt or alum (of course, your audience must not know you have done this). When dry, borrow a very light ring and fix it to the thread. Apply the thread to the flame of a candle; it will burn to ashes, but will still support the ring.

The Swimming Needles

There are several ways of making a needle float on the surface of the water.

The simplest way is to place a piece of tissue paper on the water and lay the needle on it; the paper soon becomes soaked with water and sinks to the bottom, while the needle is left floating on the top.

Another method is to hang the needle in two slings made of threads, which must be carefully drawn away as soon as the needle floats.

You can also make the needle float by simply holding it in your fingers and laying it on the water. This, however, requires a very steady hand.

If you magnetize a sewing-needle by rubbing it on a fairly strong magnet and float it on the water, it will make an extremely sensitive compass; and if you place two needles on the water at the same time, you will see them slowly approach each other until they float side by side, that is, if they do not strike together so heavily as to cause them to sink.

[pg 112]

The Bridge of Knives

Three knives may be supported by their handles in the following manner: Place three glasses in a triangle, each side of which must be about the length of one of the knives. The blade of the first knife should rest on the blade of the second, by passing over it near to the point where the handle and blade are joined; the blade of the second passing in the same manner over the blade of the third, which is to be made to rest on the blade of the first. The handles being then carefully placed upon the glasses, a bridge is formed strong enough to bear a considerable weight.

To Balance a Coffee-Cup on the Point of a Knife

The articles necessary for the performance of this trick are very simple, a dinner-fork and an ordinary sized cork being all that are needed. Fix the cork firmly in the handle of the fork, then stick the fork into it so that two prongs shall be on each side of the cup handle, and slope the fork in such a way that its handle will come under the bottom of the cup. The heaviest weight being thus brought underneath, you can hold the cup on the point of a knife, if you very carefully find the exact place on which it will balance.

As the surface of the cup is usually glazed, the hand which holds the knife must not tremble, or the cup will slip off.

You may also obtain the same result by using two knives instead of a fork.

The Obstinate Cork

Take a small cork and ask some one to blow it into a fairly large sized, ordinary bottle that has a neck.

This seems to be quite an easy matter. The one who tries it will probably blow as hard as possible upon the little cork; but, instead of going into the bottle, as expected, it will simply fall down. The harder the puffs or blows, the more obstinate the cork will appear to be; and even if the effect of blowing gently be tried, it will be of no use; the cork will not go into the bottle, much to the amusement of those who [pg 113] are watching. The reason why the cork will not go in is this: The bottle being already full of air, when the cork is blown, more air will be forced into the bottle, and consequently the air inside will be greatly compressed and will simply force the cork back. The following is a simple way of overcoming the difficulty: Instead of trying to force the cork through the compressed air in the bottle, just the contrary should be tried, that is, some of the air should be sucked out of the bottle; this being done, the bottle will become partly emptied, and when the outside air rushes in to fill up the empty space, it will carry the cork with it to the bottom of the bottle.

Six and Five Make Nine

This is a simple little puzzle. Take eleven strips of cardboard, lay six of them at exactly equal distances on the table, and ask one of the company to add the five other strips and yet only make nine. It is done by placing six of them parallel to each other—the others are used to spell out the word nine.

The Vanishing Dime

Stick a small piece of white wax on the nail of the middle finger of your right hand, taking care that no one sees you do it. Then place a dime in the palm of your hand and tell your audience that you can make it vanish at the word of command.

You then close your hand so that the dime sticks to the waxed nail. Blow on your hand and make magic passes, and cry "Dime, begone!" Open your hand so quickly that no one will see the dime [pg 114] stuck to the back of your nail, and show your empty hand. To make the dime reappear, you merely close you hand again and rub the dime into your palm.

To Light a Snowball with a Match

Roll a snowball and put it on a plate. While rolling, contrive to slip a piece of camphor into the top of it. The camphor must be about the size and shape of a chestnut, and it must be pushed into the soft snow so as to be invisible—the smaller end uppermost, to which the match should be applied.

The Dancing Pea

For this trick, take a piece, two or three inches long, of a stem of a clay tobacco pipe, taking care that one end is quite even; with a knife or file, work the hole at the even end larger, so as to form a little cup. Choose the roundest pea you can find, place it in the cup, and blow softly through the other end of the pipe, throwing back your head while you blow, so that you can hold the pipe in an upright position over your mouth.

The pea will rise, fall and dance in its cup, according to the degree of force you use in blowing, but you must take care not to blow too hard, or you may blow it away altogether.

The Balancing Spoon

Place a half-opened penknife on the edge of the table and hang a large cooking-spoon by its hook on to the knife, just where the blade and handle join. Place the spoon so that its inner (concave) side is facing the table and, after swinging for a little while, the knife and spoon will keep still in perfect balance. Even if you fill the spoon with sand it will not fall, so long as the heaviest point is under the edge of the table.

The cooking-spoon is hung on to the half-opened penknife where the blade and the handle join, and you can now place the end of the [pg 115] knife-handle on the tip of your finger, on the edge of the table, or on the rim of a glass which is standing near the edge of the table, and your knife and spoon will balance perfectly, without falling over.

The Force of a Water-Drop

Get a match and make a notch in the middle of it, bend it so as to form an acute angle, and place it over the mouth of a bottle.

Now place a dime or other small coin on the match and ask any one to get the coin into the bottle without touching either the bottle or the match.

This is very easy to do. Dip your finger in a glass of water, hold it over the place where the match is notched, and let one or two drops fall on this point. The force of the water will cause the sides of the angle to move apart, and the opening thus become large enough to let the coin fall into the bottle.

The Sentinel Egg

This trick requires care and patience. You must lay a piece of looking-glass on a perfectly even table; then take a new-laid egg and shake it about for some time until the white is well mixed with the yolk. In this condition it is possible to balance the egg on its end and make it stand upright on the glass. This trick is more certain to be successful if you are clever enough to flatten the end ever so slightly and evenly, by giving it a gentle and unsuspected tap.

The Coin Trick

Take a coin in each hand and stretch out your arms as far apart as you can. Then tell your audience that you will make both coins pass into one hand without bringing your hands together. This is easily done by placing one coin upon the table and then turning your body round until the hand with the other coin comes to where it lies. You can then easily pick the coin up, and both will be in one hand, while your arms are still widely extended.

[pg 116]

The Wonderful Pendulum

If you fill a wineglass with water and place a thick piece of paper over it so that no air can get in, you will find that you can turn the glass upside down without spilling a drop of water, because the pressure of the air on the outside will keep the paper from falling off. It is on this principle that the present pendulum is to be made. Take a piece of cardboard larger than the mouth of the glass; pass a cord through a small hole in the center of the card, and fasten it by means of a knot on the under side, then carefully cover the hole with wax, so that no air may get in.

Place your cardboard over the glass full of water, and by making a loop in the end of the cord you can hang the glass from a hook in the ceiling without any fear of its falling off. In order to make sure that no air can get into the glass, it is wise to smear the rim with tallow before laying the cardboard on.

The Revolving Pins

Take a piece of elastic which is not covered with silk or wool, and through the middle of this stick a pin, which you have bent as shown in the illustration.

Now hold the elastic between the thumb and first finger of each hand and twirl it round, stretching it a little at the same time. The rapid movement thus caused will make the revolving pin look like a glass object, and if you have a strong light falling on the pin and a dark background behind it, the resemblance becomes very much stronger.

After a little practice you will be able to represent many things in this way—cheese dishes, vases, champagne glasses, etc.; and if the bent pin should fall into a horizontal position while revolving, on account of its shape, you can tie one end to the elastic with a piece of white thread, which will not in any way interfere with the working.

This trick looks well in a darkened room, when the pin is illuminated by a ray of sunlight coming through a hole in the window shutter.

[pg 117]

The Mysterious Ball

This seems to be a plain wooden ball with a hole bored in its center, through which a string is passed. The ball will move lightly up and down this cord, but let some one who knows the trick take the string in his hand and it becomes quite a different matter; the ball will move quickly, or slowly, at command, and, if told to do so, will stand still until ordered to move on again.

The reason for this peculiar behavior is that inside the ball there are two holes, one of which is quite straight, while the other is curved, and turns out of the straight hole.

It is through this curved passage that the cord is passed, and you can easily see that to regulate the movements of the ball, it is only necessary to hold the string more or less tightly. If you hold the cord perfectly tight, the ball will not be able to move at all. The ball can be purchased at any top shop.

The Man with His Head the Wrong Way

Put on a coat and vest so that they fasten behind. Then fix a mask over the back of the head and a wig over the face. The effect is very curious.

To Find an Object While Blindfolded

To play this trick, you must take one of your friends into your confidence. Borrow a watch and put it in your pocket, and then ask your audience to sit at the end of the room, blindfold your friend, and lead him outside. Now say: "Ladies and gentlemen, if you will give me some small object to hide, I promise that the blind man will find it, although I shall not even tell him what he is to look for, and I shall lower the gas, so that if the bandage should slip, he will still be unable to see." A key, pencil, or any small thing having been handed to you, lower the gas and proceed to hide the object, at the end of the room, mentioning where you have put it, but not mentioning that you have placed the watch close beside it. You then request "Silence" and lead in the blind man and ask him to begin his search. He is guided, of [pg 118] course, by the ticking of the watch, and knows that whatever he finds close to it is the object hidden. When he calls "Found," he must slip the watch into his pocket. You then turn up the gas and quietly ask your audience if they do not think your friend is a very clever fellow?

Chinese Shadows

Here is a simple way of making shadow pictures: Place a candle on the table and fix a piece of white paper on the wall at the same height from the ground as the light is. Now place some non-transparent object, as, for instance, a large book, between the candle and the paper, and on one side of the table place a mirror so that it will reflect the light of the candle on to the paper on the wall. If you now put little cardboard figures between the candle and the mirror, a shadow will be thrown on the white paper and you can move your figures about just as you please.

Hand Shadows

It is very difficult to explain how these shadows should be made, but you must bear in mind the fact that it is necessary to stand between the lamp and the wall, and extend your arms so that the shadow of your body does not interfere with the picture shadows you intend to make with your hands. The illustrations given will show you how to make two very good shadow pictures, but the fun of the game is for several people to make up pictures of their own, and see who can succeed in making the best.

The Game of Shadows

For this game you require a white sheet to be hung up at the end of the room. Then the "shadow-makers" take up their places on low stools behind the sheet. There must be only one lamp in the room, which should be placed about six or seven feet behind the "shadow-makers." Then the "shadow-makers" drape themselves with shawls, or anything handy, and take their places so that their shadows are [pg 119] thrown upon the sheet. They must, of course, try to disguise themselves, so that the "shadow-seekers" may not be able to guess their identity. By loosening the hair and letting it fall over the face, a girl may appear like a man with a beard; bending the finger over the nose gives one a very queer-looking hooked nose in the shadow, and entirely alters the appearance of the face. Covering one's self up in a sheet and then extending the arms gives one the appearance of a large bat. As soon as a "shadow-maker's" identity has been guessed he must take his place as a "shadow-seeker," and the one who guessed him becomes a "shadow-maker." The penalty of a glance behind the sheet on the part of the "shadow-seeker" is to pay a forfeit.

Think of a Number

Tell some one to think of any number he likes, but not to tell you what it is. Tell him then to double it. When he has done that, let him add an even number to it, which you must give him. After doing this, he must halve the whole, then from what is left, take away the number he first thought of. When this is completed, if he has counted correctly, you will be able to give him the exact remainder, which will simply be the half of the even number you told him to add to his own.

Living Shadows

In order to make these, you must stand in the corner of the room, near a mirror. Let some one hold a light behind you, so that the shadow of your head and shoulders will be thrown upon the wall, and also that the reflected light from the mirror will fall at exactly the same spot as the shadow of your head.

If the mirror is now covered with a piece of thick paper, from which two eyes, a nose, and a mouth are cut out, the effect shown in the drawing will be produced. In order to make the shadow still more lifelike, cut out two pieces of paper, fasten one over the mirror, and move the other over it. In this way the eyes and mouth of the shadow may be made to move.

[pg 120]

To Guess the Two Ends of a Line of Dominoes

For this trick a whole set of dominoes is required, the performer taking care to hide one of the set, not a double, in his pocket. The remaining dominoes should be shuffled, and placed according to the ordinary rules of domino games, and the performer undertakes to tell, without seeing them, the two numbers forming the extremes of the line, set during his absence from the room. The numbers on the extreme ends of the domino line will be exactly the same as the numbers on the domino which the performer has in his pocket. If he is asked to repeat the trick, he should be sure to change the hidden domino, or he may chance to be found out.

To Tell the Age of Any Person

Prepare a set of cards by making a copy of the tables given here. Hand them to the person whose age you wish to ascertain, and ask him to name the cards on which his age appears.

If you then add together the first number on each of the cards he names, the total will be the age required.

No. 1 Card No. 2 Card No. 3 Card No. 4 Card No. 5 Card No. 6 Card
1 29 2 30 4 30 8 28 16 28 32 44
3 31 3 31 5 31 9 29 17 29 33 45
5 33 6 34 6 36 10 30 18 30 34 46
7 35 7 35 7 37 11 31 19 31 35 47
9 37 10 38 12 38 12 40 20 48 36 48
11 39 11 39 13 39 13 41 21 49 37 49
13 41 14 42 14 44 14 42 22 50 38 50
15 43 15 43 15 45 15 43 23 51 39 51
17 45 18 46 20 46 24 44 24 52 40 52
19 47 19 47 21 47 25 45 25 53 41 53
21 49 22 50 22 52 26 46 26 54 42 54
23 51 23 51 23 53 27 47 27 55 43 55
25 53 26 54 28 54
27 55 27 55 29 55


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