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
a non-poisonous, flexible piece of vine about 12 inches long (Bittersweet works well)
A straight, somewhat thin stick about 8 inches long
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 piece of vine to make a circle about 1 ½ 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 the vine loop. You’re done! Now give it a try.
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 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 (see picture)
Piece of wood, canvas or paper for the game board
Pencil, marker, ink or paint to apply design to the game board
15 small game pieces for the geese, such as pebbles, buttons or beans
1 larger game piece for the fox
Transfer the design from the template to your game board with a pencil. Next, color or paint in the lines.
Gather your game pieces.
This is a game for two people, so find someone to play with. The object of the game is for the geese to corner the fox so that he can't eat them. If they do that, the geese win. For the fox to win, he must eat all the geese.
Put the fox and geese pieces on the board using the template as a guide.
Decide who will start first. The pieces move along the lines one space at a time. The fox can move in any direction while the geese can only move forward or sideways. The fox captures the geese by jumping over them to an empty space, just like jumping in checkers. Any goose that the fox jumps is taken off the board. The geese do not 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 cover him. The geese win if they have cornered the fox and he cannot move.
It takes a lot of skill to win. Good luck!