Heritage Village, East Grand Forks, Minnesota

Games from the Past


The name spud for a potato comes from the knife used to dig a hole prior to the planting of a potato. Around 1845, the name transferred to the potato itself, the first record of this usage being in New Zealand.

Each person is assigned a number (if there are 6 players the numbers are 1-6 but can be assigned randomly).


Everyone makes a circle around the person that is 'it'.


The person that is 'it' throws the ball up and calls a number. (Children that did not have a ball used a potato instead.)


The person whose number is called must catch or retrieve the ball. While the catch is taking place everyone else runs.


Once the person whose number is called catches or retrieves the ball they yell "Spud" and everyone must stop in place. The person who is 'it' takes 4 steps S P U D toward another player and throws the ball.

            If the person is hit with the ball they are given one letter of SPUD and become 'it'. Everyone forms a circle around the new 'it'. The person who is 'it' throws up the ball and calls a number.

            If the ball misses no letter is assigned and the person that was 'it' throws up the ball and calls a number.

            Once a player has all 4 letters S P U D they are out of the game. The last one playing is the winner.

Make a Silhouette

Grade Level: K-3

Classroom Time: 45 minutes


            Masking tape                                    Glue

            Large White paper                           Lamp

            Black Construction paper               Scissors         



  1. Given instruction students will create a silhouette.
    1. Have your subject sit in a chair. Position your light source so it casts a shadow of your subject on a wall. Adjust your subject's head until the shadow is a pleasing profile.
    2. Tape a large sheet of white paper on the wall where the shadow appears. Position it so there is some room at the top and bottom and the shadow on the paper includes a portion of the subject's neck. You can also include the top of the shoulders.
    3. Instruct your subject to sit very still. Using a soft pencil, trace the outline of the shadow onto the paper. Be careful to stand to the side and position your drawing arm so your own shadow doesn't cover your subjects.
    4. Reposition your subject when necessary. He or she won't be able to sit perfectly still so you'll have to stop and gently guide your subject's head so the shadow fits within what you've already traced.
    5. Complete the tracing and remove the paper from the wall and cut it out carefully.
    6. Trace the silhouette onto black construction paper.
    7. Paste the black silhouette on a sheet of rectangular white paper and frame.


Teacher’s introduction to the material:

Silhouettes are outlines of a person in profile, filled in with black color and placed on a white background. The technique was developed by Etienne de Silhouette and, before photography was invented, it was a less expensive way of having a portrait made.

Silhouette art originated in France in the 1600s, moved through England and reached the height of its popularity in the United States in the late 1700s. Silhouette cutting began as an amusement for European royalty but in the U.S. became a popular way to capture portraits of both privileged and common people.



Skills: Art.


Vocabulary: Silhouette.


Variation: Take a photo of the subject posed sideways. Then cut out the head from the photo and trace unto black paper.


How to Make a Silhouette Art Piece. eHow.com. Retrieved from: http://www.ehow.com/how_2267239_make-silhouette-art-piece.html#ixzz27D5ePmZL

Wood Block Printing

Grade Level: 2-4

Classroom Time: 45 minutes (25 minutes Day 1, and 20 minutes Day 2)


Glue                                       Block Printing                                  Paper sheets

String                                     Tempura Paint

Sponges                                 Wood blocks (5” x 5”)



  1. Given instruction and reading material, students will describe for block printing.
  2. Given instruction and materials, students will make a block print and produce a picture made from the print.
  3. Given instruction and reading materials, students will name three methods of printing.
    1. Read Block Printing.
    2. Choose a design for your woodcut.
    3. Immerse the string in glue.
    4. Create the design with string on the wood block.
    5. Allow the glue and string to dry overnight.
    6. Spread tempura paint on the sponge.
    7. Press the string image on the block into the sponge.
    8. Press the wood block image onto paper.
    9. Repeat the print to make several images.


Teacher’s introduction to the material:

In this lesson students will experiment only with woodcut printing. If possible show students how lithography and intaglio printing are done.



10.  Draw other images to create a scene.


Skills: Art, History, Reading comprehension.

Vocabulary: Block-books, Grain, Intaglio, Lithography, Protrude, Relief, Ukiyo-e, Woodcut, Xylography.



Creative ways to cultivate agriculture. ND Department of Agriculture. Bismarck, ND.

History of Printing. Kidipede. Retrieved from: http://www.historyforkids.org/learn/literature/printing.htm

What is block printing? Answers. Retrieved from: http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_is_block_printing


Block Printing

"Woodblock Printing" is a method used to print text, images or patterns on textiles and later paper. This method was widely used throughout East Asia and originating in China. Somebody in Tang Dynasty China, about 650 AD, had the idea of carving wooden blocks with a page of text, then inking it and pressing paper on the block to print a page. Patterns and letters were carved into wooden blocks, so that the letter or pattern is chiseled and protrudes so to speak from the wooden block. These blocks are then coated with ink, and brought pressed firmly and evenly onto the paper or cloth. The content would print as a mirror-image.


Ukiyo-e is the best known type of Japanese woodblock art print. Most European uses of the technique for printing images on paper are covered by the art term woodcut, except for the block-books produced mainly in the 15th century. The wood block is carefully prepared as a relief matrix, which means the areas to show 'white' are cut away with a knife, chisel, or sandpaper leaving the characters or image to show in 'black' at the original surface level. The block was cut along the grain of the wood. The art of carving the woodcut is technically known as xylography, though the term is rarely used.


Printing is simply the transferring of ink from a carved surface to paper by means of pressure. The four basic types of printing are relief, intaglio, lithography and screen, in order of invention. Relief printing is the oldest from of printing and that is the method we are going to use in class today. In relief printing, ink is applied to a raised surface and then pressed onto another surface leaving behind an imprint. Examples of this would include wood cuts, potato prints and rubber stamps. With

intaglio printing, a surface is etched, then covered with ink. The ink on the surface is removed; the ink in the cracks is pressed onto paper. Money is produced through intaglio printing. Lithography printing involves the use of greasy inks that repel one another. A picture is drawn with one substance and then washed over with an ink. The ink only adheres where there is no repelling substance and the plate is then pressed to paper.

Maize Dollies


Green Maize leaves (8 per student) (not included)

            String 1 yard long

            Cotton balls

Legend of the Corn Doll

            The Iroquois have “Three sisters,” the sustainers of life; corn, beans, and squash. The Corn Spirit was so thrilled at being one of the sustainers that she asked the Creator what more she could do for her people. The Creator said that a beautiful doll could be formed from the husks. When the Creator was done forming the doll, with a beautiful face, it was sent to the children. The doll went from village to village playing with the children, and doing what she could for them. But, because everyone she met told her she was so beautiful, she became vain. The Creator cautioned her, and that if she continued, he would have to punish her.

            Well, one day the Corn doll glanced at the water and saw her reflection. She admired herself, because she knew she was beautiful. The Creator stepped in and sent a screech owl to snatch up her reflection. He punished her, and from then on, every Iroquois mother tells her child this story to remind them that it is wrong to thing they are better than anyone else; that the Creator has given a special gift to everyone.    

Eggs in a Spoon

Materials List:          Wood Eggs or hard-boiled eggs (6)

                                    Wood Spoons or serving spoons (6)

Classroom Time: 1 classroom period



1. The student will learn to play “Eggs in a Spoon” following correct procedures, with courtesy.

2.   The student will name 3 factors that effect keeping the egg in the spoon: (balance, concentration,

   kinetic ability, linear placement, poise, speed, terrain, wind, etc.)

3.   The student will understand the advantages of “slow and steady”.


Teacher’s introduction to the activity: This game was played at end of school picnics, where they also had sack races, and 3-legged races.



            1. Divide the class into 2 teams.

            2. Place your egg in the spoon as securely as possible.

            3. Walk as quickly as possible without dropping the egg.

            4. When you reach the goal line, the next student in your team may begin.

            5. If you drop the egg, you must place it on the spoon again, return to the spot

               the egg was dropped, then continue the race.

            6. When all team members have completed the track once, add the times for each

               team member, and team with the least time elapsed wins.


Variation: Instead of the wooden egg, use a raw egg! You could also use hard boiled eggs, or even jelly.


Evaluation: Students will be given a satisfactory if they participated willingly.

Have other team members check the score keeper’s math.


Materials:        12 Bags, each bag has 30 marbles & 1 shooter

                              Chalk or spade to make circle diagram


Classroom Time: 1 class period


Teacher’s introduction to the activity:  


Marbles is probably the 2nd oldest game ever played; by the Egyptians, the Aztecs, Native Americans, and even cave people. Marbles have been made by glass, china, clay, or even genuine marble. The “Cat’s eye” marble of Japan was extravagant, but when earth was described by Neil Armstrong from the moon as “a Big Blue Marble” it became living history.



      1. The student will learn the rules of Marbles.

      2. The student will play marbles observing the rules.

  3. The student will observe the geometric angles when one object hits another.

      4. The student will observe the power necessary to move objects a given distance.



       1. We will begin by “lagging”; whoever shoots closest to the lag line begins the game.

      2. With your “shooter” you must knock one of the marbles on the cross out of the circle.

       3. You must have one knuckle on the ground until the marble has been shot.

  4. Adjust the force you use, and remember the marble must not travel farther  than the lag line.


Variation: There are numerous variations in marbles, i.e. the Marble Game.



               Hopscotch Diagram                     Chalk

               Hopscotch bags (12)                    Foam Hopscotch Kit (10 squares, 2 circles)


Classroom Time: 1 class period



Student learns the rules and processes involved in playing hopscotch.

            Student develops coordination hopping on one foot, and into a specific area.

            Student learns that the game has a particular order, like many things in life.


Teacher’s introduction to the activity:

Hopscotch is a sequential, detail oriented game that involves problem solving, physical education, and promotes positive social interaction. Tell the students that hopscotch played many years ago in one room schoolhouses, mostly with a circle in the dirt. According to J.W. Crombie, Esq., it was a prominent game in England in the 1600s and later, handed down from generation to generation. However, it is even older than that! In Ancient Britain during the Roman Empire soldiers wore full armor while training on hopscotch courses over 100' long. They did it to improve their footwork, like football players today. Children copied what they saw and turned it into a game. Hopscotch has been given many names, among them “Potsie”, “Halliwell”, Piko”, in France “Marelles”, in Germany “Templehupfen”, the Netherlands “Hinklebaan”, Ekaria Dukaria” in India, “Pico” in Vietnam, and last “Rayuela “ in Argentina.



  • A starting line is drawn 6 inches behind square one.
  • A dome shaped space known as the “resting area" can be placed after square 10, where players turn around after square 10.
  • A player tosses a stone onto square one. The player follows the grid hopping (1 foot on the single squares and 2 feet one on adjacent square) and must hop over the square holding their stone.
  • The player then turns around, repeats the same hopping pattern, pauses on the square just before the square with the stone, picks up the stone and then hops on the remaining squares.
  • This process is repeated again, throwing the stone on the next highest numbered box, then hopping on the squares in the same manner.
  • The players turn ends; if the stone does not land on the appropriate square, a player loses their balance and place 2 feet on a single square, a line is hoped/stepped on, a wrong square is hopped, a square is hopped that has a stone, both feet were placed in a square or the stone was not picked up.



1. Instead of numbers, use letters, shapes, or colors.

2. Children often make up songs as they play; create a song used while children jump.

3. Play as a team.




Crombie, J. W. (1886). History of the Game of Hop-Scotch. Journal of the Antropological Institute of

            Great Britain and Ireland, vol. 15, 403-408.


Material List:        Jacks set (12)          

                                   Score sheet


Classroom Time: 1 class period


The student will (learn about/learn to):

1. Learn the rules of the historical games Jacks

            2. Play Jacks, with correct game procedure

            3. Learn the importance of practice in games

            4. Keep track of the jacks picked up on a score card or sheet & learn honesty.


Teacher’s introduction to the activity: Jacks, was first played with stones or bones, one version even called “knucklebones.” It inspired a song: “This Old Man”, and its complexity and variations are unique to children’s games. Today you may play “Trailer Jacks”, ”Aluminum Jacks”, “Electric Jacks”, Racing Jacks”, “Tongue Jacks”, “Swivel Jacks”, Automobile Jacks”, or even make up a new Jacks game.



1. Scatter the jacks from the bag on a table, or in good weather, outside.

           2. Toss the jacks up and catch as many as you can to be first to play.

3. “Onesies”- Throw the ball up, pick up one jack, and catch the ball before it lands.

4. If successful, proceed to pick up the next “onesie.”

5. After you have successfully picked up all 10 jacks, one at a time, scatter the jacks again.

6. “Twosies” – Toss up the ball, pick up 2 jacks, and catch the ball before it lands.

7. Continue sequentially picking up 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, & 10 jacks at a time before the ball lands.

8   The person who picked up the most jacks is the winner.



1. Bounce the ball 2 times before picking up jacks.

2. No bounces, just throw the ball up, pick up jacks, and catch the ball.

3. Throw the ball, make a circle in the air around the ball before it bounces, & pick up a jack.


Jacks Score Sheet

Name __________________                                      Name __________________   


Number of Jacks picked up                                     Number of Jacks picked up

Onesies          ____________                                                            Onesies          ____________

Twosies         ____________                                                             Twosies         ____________

Threesies       ____________                                                            Threesies       ____________

Foursies         ____________                                                            Foursies         ____________

Fivesies          ____________                                                            Fivesies          ____________

Sixies              ____________                                                            Sixies              ____________

Sevensies       ____________                                                             Sevensies       ____________

Eightsies        ____________                                                             Eightsies        ____________

Ninesies         ____________                                                             Ninesies         ____________

Tensies           ____________                                                            Tensies           ____________

Total               ___________                                                              Total               ___________


Name __________________                                      Name __________________

             Number of Jacks picked up                                                                      Number of Jacks picked up

Onesies          ____________                                                           Onesies          ____________

Twosies         ____________                                                            Twosies         ____________

Threesies       ____________                                                           Threesies       ____________

Foursies         ____________                                                           Foursies         ____________

Fivesies          ____________                                                           Fivesies          ____________

Sixies              ____________                                                          Sixies              ____________

Sevensies       ____________                                                           Sevensies       ____________

Eightsies        ____________                                                           Eightsies        ____________

Ninesies         ____________                                                           Ninesies         ____________

Tensies           ____________                                                           Tensies           ____________

Total               ___________                                                            Total               ___________



Materials    :           Thin paper 7˝x 7˝ (1 per student)            

                                    Straws (2 per student)       

                                    Color Markers (Not included)

                                    Spool of String (1)

Classroom Time: 45 minutes


Objectives (The student will (learn about/learn to):

1. Individuality can be a very productive and beautiful characteristic.

2. Describe the kind of wind that was best for kite flying.

3. Flying is an activity that needs flight plans to avoid deviation or destruction.


Teacher’s introduction to the activity:

For hundreds of years children have flown kites. Kites, thought to have originated in China, were predecessors of air flight. Many factors are important to flight: dray, lift, relative wind, balance, stability, weight and Newton’s Law of action & reaction.

Did you know that in Korea the birth of a child is announced with a kite? The Chinese even used them in battle because they shrieked in the wind. In Japan May 5th is a special day for flying kites called “Children’s’ Day”.



1. Decorate your kite in a way that lets people know who you are.

2. Form a diamond shape by crossing 2 straws behind the kite, to support it, a frame (see  

     kite diagram)

3. Attach a string at least 3 yards long to the bottom corner

4. On a windy day, keeping away from power lines, etc., fly your kite.

5. Keep a record of the kind of winds on the days you flew, and how well it worked.



            Make your kite larger; is it an improvement? Why?

          Try another shape; does shape effect airflow?

            Try different kinds of paper; in what way does texture, etc. effect airflow?

White Whitsun Bird

Material List:             Stiff paper 8 x 53/4 inches (1 per student)

                                          Hole puncher (1)

                                          Crepe paper 5” x 4” (1per student)

                                          Soft white paper 5” x 4” (1 per student)

                                          String 12” long (1 per student)

                                          Bird Pattern (1)


Student Time:            1 classroom period


Objectives (The student will learn about/learn to):


      1. Create from materials at hand unique and useful objects.

      2. Name the event Whitsuntide celebrated.

      3. Appreciate the timelessness of cultural celebrations by enjoying an

           activity children did over a 100 years ago.


Teacher’s introduction to the activity: (See page 3)

Instruction:   First cut out a bird pattern of stiff white paper. For the tail we glue on the crepe paper lengths, and for wings we will fold the soft white paper like an accordion. Then cut a slit ½ inch from the middle of the bird, and slide the wings through. Our final step is to punch a hole directly above the wings, put a string through this hole, and watch your dove fly in the breeze.


Variation: Make birds with different colors, styles of wings, etc.



     Children used to make White Whitsun Bird in association with “Whitsuntide”, and English event, celebrating the descent of the Holy Spirit to the Apostles after they had communed at supper. It is celebrated beginning on Pentecost. Whitsuntide was celebrated in Germany before the Reformation by lowering a large white wooden dove over the congregation through a gap in the loft above. It was followed by a bucket of water! Whoever the water fell on was “Whitsun Bird” for the next year.


     In the 19th and 20th centuries Whitsun birds were made from various materials; bread dough was said to be a good representation of Whitsun.

In England various parishes had “Whitsunale”, in the vicinity of a church, and played games, ate and drank ale. The White color is symbolic of the white garments worn by baptismal candidates.