Make It At Home
Kids love to play games, even Wampanoag and Pilgrim children!
Use these directions to make a traditional Wampanoag toy called Toss and Catch, and a board game that was popular in Pilgrim times called Fox and Geese. After you make them, give them a try.
This is an ancient game played among many nations of Native people. The game has different meanings to the different Nations that play it. It was made from a variety of materials, including deer bones.
Besides being fun, toss and catch is a great way to develop hand and eye coordination. When the hands and eyes work well together, people can perform exacting skills better; hunters have better control shooting arrows and people are better at jobs like weaving.
Easy to make and fun to play, here are directions for you to make your own toss and catch game at home!
- Thin cotton string or jute twine about 15 inches long
- One pipecleaner (to substitute with a material from the outdoors, find a non-poisonous, flexible piece of vine about 12 inches long. Bittersweet works well.)
- A straight, somewhat thin stick about 8 inches long
Making Your Game
Tie one end of the string to the stick, about 2-3 inches down from one end. Make sure the knot is tight.
Wrap the pipecleaner or piece of vine to make a circle about 1½ or 2 inches in diameter. Wrap it several times, and then twist the free end around the circle to hold it in place.
Tie the other end of the string to this loop. You’re done! Now give it a try.
How To Play
The object is to swing the loop out and up and try to catch it with the end of the stick you are holding. Once you master the toss and catch with one hand, try it with the other.
This two-person game was very popular in the 17th century. Although Pilgrim children had to work a lot, historians think that they were allowed to play sometimes. Games like Fox and Geese were good to play because they helped children exercise their “wits” (brains). Adults probably played games like this too.
Make your own Fox and Geese game, and then give it a try.
- Board game template Print Out Here
- Fifteen small game pieces for the geese, such as pebbles, buttons or beans
- One larger game piece for the fox
Making Your Game
Print the game template. To make playing easier, place the paper on a table or adhere it to a hard surface like a piece of cardboard to make a game board.
Gather your game pieces.
How To Play
One player is the geese, the other is the fox.
For the geese to win, they must corner the fox so that he can’t eat them.
For the fox to win, he must eat all the geese.
Put the fox and geese pieces on the board using the template above as a guide. The large, dark circle in the center is where the fox starts, and the dark smaller circles are where the fifteen geese start.
Either player can take the first turn. The pieces move along the lines one space at a time.
The fox can move in any direction (forward and backward, side to side, or diagonally).
The geese can move forward and backward or side to side, but cannot move diagonally.
The fox eats the geese by jumping over them to an empty space, just like jumping in checkers. A goose that the fox jumps is taken off the board. The geese cannot jump the fox, but move along the lines trying to corner the fox so that he cannot move. The fox wins if there aren’t enough geese on the board to corner him. The geese win if they have cornered the fox and he cannot move.
It takes a lot of skill to win. Good luck!