Native American Games, Toys

Most games played by Native American children taught them how to develop skills, make their  mental abilities and bodies strong to survive in their environment. Storytellers told stories handed down over centuries to educate the listeners and teach how to make wise decisions and good choices for the listener and the people. You will recognize modern games today from many of the games described below and on link pages. Many of today's toys and games are based on Native American inventions.

Doing a web search for Native American Games will bring up many pages worth checking out. Here are just a few that I found when I googled for the topic:,GGLG:2005-45,GGLG:en&q=Native+American+Games

"Lacrosse - ball game played on a field between goal posts with a ball and a racket of a three foot sapling, the end bent into a circular hoop and filled with a leather network.

Moccasin Game - guessing game where an opponent has top guess which moccasin an object is hidden in. Beans or markers are used to keep score.

Hand Game - guessing game where an opponent has to guess which hand an object is hidden in. Sticks and markers are used in scoring.

Double Ball - played only by women and resembling lacrosse - using two balls or sticks connected with a thong and each woman equipped with a stick.

Awl Game - a hoop from the leg bone of an animal was set out on the ground and an awl was thrown toward it, intending to stand upright in the ring.

Snow Snake - played in winter by men on frozen lakes using a carved stick a meter long, with a head resembling a snake. The snow snake, thrown on the run, races along the top of the ice, the farthest traveled being the winner. The track, pressed down into the snow with a log, could be a mile long.

Web Weaving - (like cat's cradle), played by children and adults using a long string tied in a loop to finger weave patterns of animals, tipi doors, and other designs like 'fish spear', 'bird's foot', and 'crow's nest'.

Sling Stick - Sling sticks about 2 feet long with a notch and a thong attached at one end. A stone is placed in the notch. The thong keeps the stone in place and is held down with the thumb by a loop at the other end of the thong. The stone is thrown great distance when the stick is whipped forward - releasing the thong and the stone.

Little Sticks - (like jack straws), drop from your hand a bundle of thin cedar sticks, two players try in turn to remove sticks from the tangled heap without moving any of the others. A basket splint is sometime used to pick up the sticks.

Top Spinning - a disk of bone, stone, or wood with a peg through it, sometimes painted or decorated on the upper surface, for divination of personal questions like 'who will marry first', etc. by spinning the top and seeing who it points to when it stops. Sometimes tops would be whipped with a stick to keep them in motion.

Marbles - made from fir balsam pitch or stones were either rolled down a board to see who's could go the farthest, or they may have been rolled into a series of holes about the size of the marbles."

Links that describe many games

Bowl and Dice -

Matching Games
Natural Dyes and Quills -
Design a Beadwork Pattern -

Board Games -
To Buy or use as a pattern

Running Games -

Toys -

Make a Cornhusk Doll - to Make Corn Husk Dolls

Games for Boys