Fun and Games
Even though children had many chores to do during the 1830s, games were an important part of their lives. Children regularly tried to transform their work into play. For example, children might sing while churning butter. Singing could be used to teach lessons such as counting as in the case of “One, two, buckle my shoe.” Play also became a tool for showing children what roles they were expected to fulfill in society.
Children’s games in this time period involved a lot of physical activity. The game known as “hoop and sticks” involved wooden or metal rings that could be pushed along with simple sticks. The goal of this game was to see how far or fast the hoop could go before toppling over. Another pastime activity called “French and English” (now referred to as tug-of-war) only required a strong rope in order for children to have fun. A bowling game with wooden balls and pins called “ninepins” was a favorite too.
Children’s games were not as readily available in stores as they are today. This meant families often designed their own toys or games for children from nearby materials like wood, metal, or an object found around the house. At other times, games were a result of pure imagination!
More information about a variety of games can be found here. We encourage you to get involved in the games and toys available in 1836 Prairietown. Who knows, after a visit here you might try inventing your own game!