Dorothy Canfield Fisher.

What shall we do now? Over five hundred games and pastimes; a book of suggestions for children's games and employments online

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Online LibraryDorothy Canfield FisherWhat shall we do now? Over five hundred games and pastimes; a book of suggestions for children's games and employments → online text (page 1 of 22)
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Over Five Hundred Games and Pastimes




B * ' ' ' I







Copyright, 1907, 1922, by

All rights reserved



THIS book has been made in the hope that the question
which forms its title, ''What shall we do now?" may
come to be put less frequently. It is so easy for chil-
dren to ask it, so hard for grown-up persons with many other
matters to think about to reply to it satisfactorily.

In the following pages, which have something to say concern-
ing most of the situations in which children find themselves, at
home or in the country, out of doors or in, alone or in company,
a variety of answers will be found. No subject can be said to be
exhausted; but the book is perhaps large enough. Everything
which it contains has been indexed so clearly that a reader ought
to be able to find what he wants in a moment.

In this new edition an appendix of holiday games has "been
added, including games especially suitable for parties or picnics
on New Year's Day, Lincoln's 'Birthday, St. Valentine's Day,
Washington's Birthday , Easter, April Fool's Day, May Day,
Fourth of July, Hallowe'en, Thanksgiving and Christmas.

There are, of course, many fortunate girls and boys who do
not require any help whatever, who always know what to do now,
and do it. For them some sections of this book may have little
value. It is for that greater number of less resourceful children
who whenever time is before them really are in need of counsel
and hints, that it has been prepared.







EAINY-DAY GAMES . . . . , ill



PICNIC GAMES ...... 149

OUT FOR A WALK ...... 161

IN THE TRAIN ...... 171


AT THE SEASIDE ...... 195

IN THE COUNTRY ...... 201

DOLLS' HOUSES . . . . . .217




CANDY-MAKING ...... 305

GARDENING ....... 313

PETS ........ 337

BEADING ....... 367





A Pueblo Settlement Frontispiece


The Library and Furniture from " The House that Glue Built " . . . . 244

An Esquimau Sled (_ 9RA

Indian Costumes J ZDO



A Trussed Fowl 37

Five Dots 48

Outlines 49

Drawing Tricks 51

Picture- Writing 52-53

The Last Man Surveying the Ruins of the Crystal Palace 56

Patience Card 76

The Dancing Dwarf , . -. 106

Bean- Bag Board 114

Rope Ring 115

The Overhand Knot 117

Half-Hitch 118

Figure of Eight 118

Common Bend 118

Sailor's Knot 118

Running Noose 119

Crossed Running Noose 119

Bowline Knot 119

Dogshank 120

Shuffle-Board 121

Balancing Tricks 123



The Glass Maker 125

Electric Dancers 126

Daisy Chain 135

Ivy Chain 135

Hop-Scotch 144

Prisoner's Base 156

Tit-tat-toe 176-177

Hanging 179-180

Chinese Gambling 181

Spanish Cup 186

Cardboard Box Beds ' 223

Bead Chair 223

A Doll's Apartments 227

Cork Arm-Chair 228

Chestnut Chair 229

Fancy Table 230

Match-Box Bedstead 231

Match-Box Washstand 233

Towel Rack 233

Clothes Basket 234

Cardboard Dolls' House 239

Appearance of House When Complete 240

Dog Kennel 241

Kitchen Table 246

Kitchen Range 247

Kitchen Chair 247

Screen 248

Various Pots and Pans 248

Dining-Room Table and Cloth 249

Sideboard 250

Sofa 251

Arm-Chair 251

Wooden Bedstead 252

Wardrobe 253

Dressing Table 254

Washstand 255

Rocking-Chair 256

Towel Rack 256

Chair 256

Child's High Chair 257

Child's Cot 257



Walking Paper Dolls 259

Paper Mother and Child, with Clothes for Each 260

A Paper Girl with Six Changes 261

Shadows on the Wall 280

A Cocked Hat 284

Paper Boats ... 285

Paper Darts 286

Paper Mats 286

Paper Boxes 287

A Dancing Man 289

Hand Dragons 290

A Kite 293

Flying a Kite 294

Toy Boats 296-297

A Skipjack 300

A Water-Cutter . . . 300



Blind Man's Buff

MAN'S BUFF" is one of the best, oldest,
and simplest of games. One player is blindfolded, is
turned round two or three times to confuse his ideas
as to his position in the room, and is then told to catch whom
he can. If he catches some one, yet cannot tell who it is, he
must go on again as blind man ; but if he can tell who it is,
that person is blindfolded instead. Where there is a fireplace,
or where the furniture has sharp corners, it is rather a good
thing for some one not playing to be on the lookout to protect
the blind man. Sometimes there are two blind men, who add
to the fun by occasionally catching each other. But this is
rather dangerous. There is also a game called " Jinglers "
where every one is blind except one player with a bell, whom
it is their object to catch. But this is more dangerous still.

A good variety of " Blind Man's Buff " is the silent one.
Directly the man is blindfolded, and before he begins to seek,
all the players take up positions in corners, on chairs, or wher-
ever they think most prudent, and there they must stop with-
out making a sound. The task for the blind man is thus not
catching the others, but, on finding them, deciding upon who
they are. As chuckling or giggling is more likely to tell him
than his sense of touch, it is tremendously important to make
no noise if you can help it. Sometimes this game is played
(without any standing on chairs) by a blind man armed with
two spoons, with which he feels the features of those whom he
runs against. In this case it is practically impossible to avoid


laughing. The sensation produced by the bowls of two spoons
being passed over the face in the attempt to recognize its
owner is overwhelming.

French Blind Man's Buff

In French " Blind Man's Buff " the hands of the blind man
are tied behind his back and his eyes are left uncovered. He
has therefore to back on to the players before he can catch
them, which increases his difficulties.

Blind Man's Wand

Here the blind man has a stick, one end of which is grasped
by the other players in turn. The blind man puts three ques-
tions to each player, and his aim is to recognize by the voice
who it is that replies. The aim of the players, therefore, is to
disguise their voices as much as possible. Sometimes, instead
of merely asking questions, the blind man instructs the holder
of the wand to imitate some animal a cock or a donkey, for


The player who is blindfolded is first placed in the middle.
The others walk from him to various positions all around, care-
fully measuring the number of steps (long or short) which take
them there. The blind man is then told how many steps will
bring him to a certain player, and he has to guess the direction
toward him, and the length of step. This player, if found, be-
comes blind man.

Still Pond ! No More Moving

The player who is blindfolded is placed in the middle and
all the other players touch him. He counts out loud as rapidly
as possible up to ten, during which time the players rush as
far away from him as possible. Directly he reaches ten he


ttries out " Still Pond ! No more moving 1 " and the players
must stand perfectly still. He then says "you may have three
steps," or any number beyond three which he wishes to give.
The players save these steps until he comes dangerously near
them and then try and use them to the best possible advan-
tage, to escape. It is not a step if one foot remains in the
same place. After a player is caught and identified by the
one who is " it " he in turn is blindfolded.

Shadow Buff

A sheet is stretched across the room. One player stands
on one side, and the rest, who remain on the other, pass one
by one between the sheet and the candle which throws their
shadows upon it. The aim of the single player is to put right
names to the shadows on the sheet, and the aim of the others
is, by performing antics, to keep him from recognizing them.
If it is not convenient to use both sides of a sheet, the single
player may sit on a hassock close to it with his back to the
others, while they pass between his hassock and the candle.

The Donkey's Tail

A good-sized donkey without a tail is cut out of brown
paper and fixed on a screen or on a sheet hung across the
room. The tail is cut out separately and a hat-pin is put
through that end of it which comes nearest the body. Each
player in turn then holds the tail by the pin, shuts his eyes
honestly, and, advancing to the donkey, pins the tail in what
he believes to be the right place. The fun lies in his mistake.

The Blind Feeding the Blind

This is boisterous and rather messy, but it has many
supporters. Two players are blindfolded and seated on the
floor opposite one another. They are each given a dessert-
spoonful of sugar or flour and are told to feed each other.


It is well to put a sheet on the floor and to tie a towel or
apron round the necks of the players. The fun belongs chiefly
to the spectators.

Deer Stalking

This is a game in which only two players take part, but
it is exciting to watch. Both " Deer " and " Stalker " are
blindfolded. They are then placed at opposite ends of a large
table, and at a given moment begin to move round it. The
stalker's business is, of course, to catch the deer, and the deer's
to avoid it ; but neither must run out into the room. Ab-
solute silence should be kept both by the audience and players,
and if felt slippers can be worn by the deer and its stalker,
so much the better.

Blowing Out the Candle

A very funny blind game. A candle is lighted and
placed in position about the height of a person's head. A
player is then placed a few feet from it, facing it, and, after
being blindfolded and turned round three times, is told to take
so many paces (however many it may be) and blow the candle


Another amusing blind game to watch is apple-snapping.
An apple is hung from a string in the middle of the room about
the height of the blind man's head. The blind man's hands
are then tied, or he holds them strictly behind him, and he has
to bite the apple.

The same game can be played without blindfolding, but
in that case it requires two players with their hands fixed be-
hind them, each trying to bite the apple.


Bag and Stick

A good blind game for a Christmas party is " Bag and
Stick." A fair-sized paper bag is filled with candy and hung
from a string in the middle of the room. A player is then
blindfolded, turned round three times, given a stick, and told
he may have one, two, or three shots at the bag, whichever it
may be. If he misses it, another one tries, and so on ; but if
he hits it the bag breaks, the candy covers the floor, and the
party scramble for it.

Puss in the Corner

Each player save one takes a corner. The other, who is
the puss, stands in the middle. The game begins by one cor-
ner player beckoning to another to change places. Their ob-
ject is to get safely into each other's corner before the cat can.
Puss's aim is to find a corner unprotected. If she does so, the
player who has just left it, or the player who was hoping to
be in it, becomes puss, according to whether or not they have
crossed on their journey.

Hunt the Slipper

The players sit in a circle on the floor, with their knees
a little gathered up. One stands in the middle with a slipper,
and the game is begun by this one handing the slipper to a
player in the circle, with the remark

Cobbler, cobbler, mend my shoe,
Get it done by half-past two,

and then retiring from the circle for a few moments. The
player to whom it was handed at once passes it on, so that
when the owner of the slipper returns and demands her prop-
erty again it cannot be found. With the hunt that then sets
in the fun begins ; the object of every player in the circle
being to keep the player in the middle from seeing the slip-


per, from getting hold of it, or from knowing where it is, as
it rapidly travels under the knees of the players here and there
in the circle. Now and then, if the seeker is badly mystified,
the slipper may be, tossed across the circle. The player in
whose possession it is when at last secured changes place with
the one in the middle. Other handy things will do quite as
well as a slipper, but something fairly large should be chosen,
or discovery may take too long ; and it ought to be soft in
texture, or there may be bruises.

The Whistle

This is partly a trick. A player who does not know the
game is put in the middle of the ring, round which a whistle
is moving in the way that the slipper moves in " Hunt the
Slipper." The object of the player in the middle is to dis-
cover the person who blew the whistle last. Meanwhile some
one skilfully fixes another whistle on a string to the player's
back, and that is the whistle which is really blown. As it must
always be behind him when it is blown, nothing but the twitch
ing of the string is likely to help him to discover the blower
(and the trick) ; and in a small circle where every one is mov-
ing and laughing it takes some time to notice the twitching
at all.

He Can Do Little Who Can't Do This
This is partly a trick. The leader takes a cane in his left
hand, thumps on the floor several times, and passes it to a
player saying, " He can do little who can't do this." The
player tries to imitate him exactly, but if he takes the cane in
his right hand he is wrong, the leader says, " You can do lit-
tle, you can't do this," and hands the cane to the next player.
The game goes on until every one has guessed that it is not
the thumps which are to be imitated, but the holding the cane
in the left hand.



This is a very good game. All the company leave the
room save one. He stays behind with a thimble, which he
has to place in some position, where, though it is in sight, it
will be difficult to discover. It may be high or low, on the
floor or on the mantelpiece, but it must be visible. The com-
pany then return and begin to look for it. As the players find
it they sit down, but it is more fun to do this very craftily and
not at once, lest a hint be given as to the article's whereabouts.
When every one has found it, or when a long enough time has
been passed in looking for it, the thimble is hidden again,
this time by the player who found it first. The game sounds
easy, but it can be very difficult and very exciting, every one
at the beginning of each search wishing to be first, and at the
end wishing not to be last. Players often stand right over
the thimble, staring directly at it, and still do not see it.

Magic Music

One player goes out. The others then hide something for
him to find, or decide upon some simple action for him to per-
form, such as standing on a chair. When he is called in, one
of the company seats herself at the piano and directs his
movements by the tone of the music. If he is far from the
object hidden the music is very low ; as he gets nearer and
nearer it becomes louder and louder.

Hot and Cold

The same game is played under the name of " Hot and
Cold." In this case the player is directed by words ; as he
gets nearer and nearer the object he becomes " warm," " hot,"
" very hot," " burning " ; when quite off the scent he is


The Jolly Miller

The one who shall be " it " is decided upon by counting
out (see page 134), and he takes his place in the middle of
the room. The others, arm in arm, walk around him in
couples, singing,

There was a jolly miller who lived by himself.
As the wheel went around he made his wealth ;
One hand on the hopper and the other on the bag :
As the wheel went around he made his grab.

At " Grab," every one must change partners, and the one in
the middle tries to be quick enough to get one himself. If he
does, the one left alone must take his place in the middle and
be the "Jolly Miller."

Going to Jerusalem

Some one sits at the piano, and a long row of chairs is
made down the middle of the room, either back to back, or
back and front alternately. There must be one chair fewer
than the number of players. When all is ready the music begins
and the players march round the chairs in a long line. 3ud-
denly the music stops, and directly it does so every one tries
to sit down. As there is one player too many some one must
necessarily be left without a chair. That player has therefore
to leave the game, another chair is taken away, and the music
begins again. So on to the end, a chair and a player going
after each round. The winner of the game is the one who,
when only one chair is left, gets it. It is against the rules to
move the chairs. A piano, it ought to be pointed out, is not
absolutely necessary. Any form of music will do ; or if there
is no instrument some one may sing, or read aloud. But a
piano is best, and the pianist ought now and then to pretend
to stop, because this makes it more exciting for the players.


Stir the Mash

This is another variety of " Going to Jerusalem." The
chairs are placed against the wall in a row, one fewer f ,han the
players. One of the players sits down in the middle of the
room with a stick and pretends to be stirring a bowl of mash
with it, while the others march round crying, "Stir the mash,
stir the mash." Suddenly the player with the stick knocks
three times on the floor, which is the signal for running for
the chairs, and, leaping up, runs for them too. The one who
does not get a chair has to stir the mash next.


A circle of chairs is made, and all the players but one sit
on them. This player stands in the middle and his chair is
left empty. The game consists in his efforts to sit down in
the empty chair and the others' attempts to stop him by con-
tinually moving one way or the other, so that the empty chair
may this moment be on one side of the ring and the next on
the other.


This is a game for several little players and two stronger
ones. The little ones are the honey-pots, and the others the
honey-seller and honey-buyer. The honey-pots sit in a row
with their knees gathered up and their hands locked together
under them. The honey-buyer comes to look at them, asking
the honey-seller how much they are and how much they
weigh ; and these two take hold of the pots by the arms, one
on each side, and weigh them by swinging them up and down
(that is why the hands have to be tightly locked under the
knees). Then the buyer says he will have them, and the
seller and he carry them to the other end of the room to-
gether. Once there the seller returns, but quickly comes run-


ning back in alarm because he has missed his own little girl
(or boy), and he fancies she must be in one of the honey-pots.
The buyer assures him that he is mistaken, and tells him to
taste them and see for himself that they are only honey. So
the seller goes from one to the other, placing his hand on
their heads and pretending to taste honey, until at last, com-
ing to the one he has marked down, he exclaims, " Dear
me, this tastes just like my little girl." At these words the
little girl in question jumps up and runs away, and all the
other honey-pots run away too.

Nuts in May

The players stand in two rows, facing each other and
holding hands. A line is drawn on the carpet (or ground) be-
tween them. One row then step toward the other, singing

Here we come gathering nuts in May, nuts in May, nuts in May,
Here we come gathering nuts in May, on a cold and frosty morning.

They then fall back and the other row advance to them
singing in reply

Pray, who will you gather for nuts in May, nuts in May, nuts in May ?
Pray, who will you gather for nuts in May, on a cold and frosty morning ?

The first row, after settling on the particular player on
the opposite side that they want, reply thus

We'll gather Phyllis for nuts in May, nuts in May, nuts in May,
We'll gather Phyllis for nuts in May, on a cold and frosty morning.

The other row then ask

Pray, who will you send to fetch her away, fetch her away, fetch her away ?
Pray, who will you Bend to fetch her away, on a cold and frosty morning ?

The answer perhaps is

We're sending Arthur to fetch her away, fetch her away, fetch her away,
We're sending Arthur to fetch her away, on a cold and frosty morning.

Arthur then steps up to the line on one side and Phyllis on


the other, and each tries to pull the other over it. The one
that loses has to join the other row, and the singing begins

Old Soldier

All the players, except one, stand in a line. The other,
who is the old soldier, then totters up to the end player, say-

Here comes an old soldier from Botany Bay ;
Pray, what have you got to give him to-day ?

The player must then say what she will give him, but in do-
ing so must not use the words "yes," " no," " black," " white" or
" scarlet." The old soldier's object is to try and coax one of
these words out of her, and he may ask any question he likes
in order to do so. A mistake usually means a forfeit.

My Lady's Clothes

A color-barred game for girls is " My Lady's Clothes "
or " Dressing the Lady." The players first decide on what
colors shall be forbidden, perhaps blue, black, and pink.
The first one then asks the next, " How shall my lady be
dressed for the ball ? " and the answer must contain no men-
tion of these colors. This question goes round the ring, no
article being allowed to be mentioned twice.

Here I Bake

One player stands in the middle. The others join hands
and surround her, their aim being to prevent her from getting
out of the ring. She then passes round the ring touching the
hands, at the first hands saying " Here I bake," at the second
" Here I brew," at the third " Here I make my wedding-cake,"
and at the next " And here I mean to break through."
With these last words she makes a dash to carry out the threat.
If she succeeds, the player whose hand gave way first takes


her place in the middle. Otherwise she must persevere until
the ring is broken.

The Cobbler

The cobbler sits in the middle on a stool or hassock, and
the others join hands and dance round him. " Now then,
customers," says the cobbler, " let me try on your shoes," and
at the same time but without leaving his seat makes a dash
for some one's feet. The aim of the others is to avoid being
caught. Whoever is caught becomes cobbler.


The name of this game dates from the period when stiff
cylinder-shaped horsehair sofa-cushions were commoner than
they are now. One of these is placed in the middle of the
room and the players join hands and dance round it, the ob-
ject of each one being to make one of his neighbors knock
the cushion over and to avoid knocking it over himself. Who-
ever does knock it down leaves the ring, until at last there are
only two striving with each other. A hearth-brush, if it can
be persuaded to stand up, makes a good substitute for a
cushion. It also makes the game more difficult, being so very
sensitive to touch.

The Day's Shopping

The players sit in a ring, and the game is begun by one
saying to the next, "I've just come back from shopping."
" Yes," is the reply, " and what have you bought ? " The
first speaker has then to name some article which, without
leaving her seat, she can touch, such as a pair of boots, a
necktie, a watch-chain, a bracelet. Having done so, the next
player takes up the character of the shopper, and so on round
the ring. ISTo article must, however, be named twice, which


means that when the game has gone on for a round or two the
answers become very difficult to find.

Clap In, Clap Out

Half the players go out, and the others stay in and ar-
range the chairs in a line so that there is an empty one next
to every person. Each then chooses which of the others he
will have to occupy the adjoining chair, and when this is set-

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Online LibraryDorothy Canfield FisherWhat shall we do now? Over five hundred games and pastimes; a book of suggestions for children's games and employments → online text (page 1 of 22)