Each TOY or GAME has a STORY to share with kids.
Today, it’s the Game of Jacks’ turn to tell its story (with a little help from Grandma Sharon)…
WHAT is the Game of Jacks: Jacks (also known as Knucklebones, Jackstones and Fivestones) is an ancient childhood game of fun and skill that is still played today. The Game of Jacks involves Jack pieces and a small rubber ball.
WHO, WHEN & WHERE was invented Jacks: Drawings of games similar to modern-day Jacks have been found in prehistoric caves and depicted on earthenware, and children in ancient Rome, Greece and Egypt played the forerunner to our Jacks.
The original Game of Jacks was played with knuckle or ankle bones from animals such as sheep and goats. This is how the game came to be known as Knucklebones. Yikes! The object of the game was to catch the most bones after they were tossed into the air.
Over the centuries, the bone pieces were replaced by stones, seeds or other small objects. Some historians believe that the word JACKS comes from the word CHACKSTONE, meaning little stone. Interesting.
The modern set of Jacks with its pointy pieces is believed to have been created to imitate those original animal knuckle bones. Even more interesting! In colonial America, the Jack pieces were traditionally made of pewter and the ball was made of wood.
It’s safe to say that Jacks has been a popular childhood game for, well… forever.
WHY was Jacks invented: Fun. Skill. Competition. A wonderful way to pass time with friends (or alone) both indoors and outdoors.
HOW do you play Jacks: There are variations of the Game of Jacks. Some of these games are Scrubs, Upcast, Crack the Eggs and Eggs in the Basket. Each game, with different rules, involves scattering the jack pieces, bouncing the rubber ball and picking up the pieces.
One of the most popular Games of Jacks involves the onesies, twosies sequence that Grandma Sharon attempted in the video. Each player takes a turn attempting to pick up all the Jacks, in sets of onesies, twosies, threesies, etc., while tossing the rubber ball into the air, letting it bounce once, and then catching it with the same hand that also picks up the Jacks. Phew!
Building skill in your Game of Jacks is really what the FUN is all about.
Get your kids and grandkids a Game of Jacks today and experience the fun of this ancient game. See if you remember how to play it yourself! Tell your kids all about those original knuckle bones, too. This might even get the boys interested in this time-honored girls’ game.
Join me here each day in July for TOY STORIES on 365 Days of Literacy for Kids! A little fun, a little learning and a little “ta-dah”!