Old Fashioned Games

Search for "GCHS: Old Fashioned Games for Small Groups" on YouTube to find our fun and educational video with ideas to entertain small groups outdoors.

Under the state's Phase 1.5 guidelines, Geary County Historical Society is still not permitted to open to the public. Until it is safe to reopen, museum staff are working hard to come up with fun activities you can do at home or outdoors to learn more about Geary County history.

Our latest activity is the brainchild of Jennifer Dixon, our Director of Programs and Education. With the help of her whole family, she put together a YouTube video titled “GCHS: Old Fashioned Games for Small Groups.” Search for the title on YouTube.com and follow along as she and her daughters teach you about games like Two Square, Fox & Geese, Sardines, Hopscotch, and Annie-I-Over, all in less than 8 minutes.

Two-square only requires two players and a bouncing ball. Mark out a large rectangle on the pavement and divide it in two squares. Players can only strike the ball underhanded, and it is only allowed to bounce in your square once. If the ball bounces twice, leaves the bounds of the box, or is hit overhanded, the player at fault is out and another player rotates in. If you only have two players, you can play for points.

Fox & Geese was traditionally played in the snow. It calls for a large open area and multiple players. In Fox & Geese, one player, the fox, chases the other players, the geese, along lines marked on the ground. Typically the path is in the shape of a spoked wheel, with a “safe” zone in the middle, where “geese” cannot be tagged by the “fox.” If you get caught, you become the fox. “But you can't just hang out in the safe zone,” Jennifer warns, “You gotta keep moving along the lines.”

Sardines can be played indoors with a minimum of three people. While everyone counts to 10, one player finds a place to hide. Whoever finds them has to hide with them, until everyone is all packed tightly together in one spot, like sardines.

Hopscotch only calls for a hopscotch path and a puck (or a rock). The game starts by throwing the puck on the first number. “The key is, you only are allowed to hop on one foot into that square, like so,” Jennifer explains in the video, demonstrating, “and then kick [the puck] back out.” The player then hops back to the start of the path and throws the stone at the next number. You are not supposed to hit the puck on the outsides of any of the numbers, and you have to hop on the numbers in the correct sequence, then kick the puck out without leaving your square. So if a player makes it to the number 4, throws the puck, and it lands on the number 6, that player will have to go to the back of the line. However, on their next turn, they will get to try again starting with the number 4.

Annie-I-Over was traditionally played at one-room schoolhouses, so Jennifer filmed this segment of the video at our Spring Valley Historic Site. Some of our volunteers used to play this game in their one-room school days. The class would split into two teams, one on each side of the schoolhouse. The first team yells “Annie-I-Over!” and throws the ball over the roof of the schoolhouse. If the other team catches the ball successfully, they get to run around the side of the schoolhouse and throw the ball at the other team. Tagged opponents have to join the other team.

For more online content from your friends at Geary County Historical Society, check our Facebook page at Facebook.com/GearyHistory.

KATIE GOERL is the Executive Director of the Geary County Historical Society in Junction City.

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