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: http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=navclient&ie=UTF-8&rls=GGLG,GGLG:2005-45,GGLG:en&q=Native+American+Games
- 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
- guessing game where an opponent has top guess which moccasin an object is
hidden in. Beans or markers are used to keep score.
- guessing game where an opponent has to guess which hand an object is hidden
in. Sticks and markers are used in scoring.
- played only by women and resembling lacrosse - using two balls or sticks
connected with a thong and each woman equipped with a stick.
- 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.
- 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.
- (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 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
- (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.
- 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." http://www.nativetech.org/games/othergames.html
Links that describe many games
Bowl and Dice - http://www.nativetech.org/games/bowl&dice.html
Natural Dyes and Quills - http://www.nativetech.org/games/porcupinequill/index.php
Design a Beadwork Pattern - http://www.nativetech.org/beadwork/beadgraph/index.html
Board Games -
To Buy or use as a pattern http://home.cshore.com/waaban/games.html
Running Games -
Toys - http://www.civilisations.ca/aborig/stones/toys/tymenu.htm
Make a Cornhusk Doll - http://www.proteacher.com/cgi-bin/outsidesite.cgi?id=6801&external=http://www.teachersfirst.com/summer/cornhusk.htm&original=http://www.proteacher.com/090018.shtml&title=How to Make Corn Husk Dolls
Games for Boys http://www.inquiry.net/outdoor/native/games/index.htm