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More than a Game - How to Play Jacks

Updated on September 10, 2011
New larger plastic jacks and rubber bouncy ball
New larger plastic jacks and rubber bouncy ball | Source
Jacks thrown out in spread to play
Jacks thrown out in spread to play | Source
Playing jacks with pebbles or stones
Playing jacks with pebbles or stones | Source

Childhood games

Childhood memories at my house usually include lots of people getting together and having tons of fun. It also involved being told to go outside and play, which we did gladly sometimes staying out well past dark and the street lights coming on.

My mom was always great about getting outdoors with us to teach us how to do things and in turn i have done this with my own children. On top of being fun it gave me an opportunity to bond with them on another level that strengthens the trust in our relationship.

Which i completely understood as a child and wanted for my own kids!

My mom taught us to play jacks on the kitchen floor and the concrete walkway out front of our town house. She also got down in the dirt to teach us how to play marbles and beat us showing us that friendly competition is a great thing.

I remember all the lessons! They inspired me! And when i became a parent i had great lessons and teaching opportunities through what my kids consider old fashioned games. Thing is these games have to be done with others, creating a good appreciation for friendly competition.

They can be done alone but the enjoyment is when you are challenging another person, bragging about your skills and beating them or at least learning the skill of a friend.

These games were usually,

  1. Jacks
  2. Marbles
  3. Skipping rope
  4. Biking
  5. Hula hoop
  6. Scavenger hunt
  7. Hide and seek


Jacks rule

Jacks is one of the simplest games that can be taught and played. Like riding a bike once you learn it you never forget. All you need is 10 jacks, the new larger plastic ones are great for smaller hands, the older versions usually had smaller metal jacks to play with or if you were like me and my friends you used small pebbles or stones - if the jacks were lost.

There was no reason you couldn't play as long as you had a rubber bouncy ball. We even played with golf balls if we couldn't find a rubber bouncy ball. So, according to my mom there was no reason not to go outside and play, after your homework was done and before she was finished cooking dinner.

"Get outside and play something, the fresh air would do you good!" I only remember a few times in my childhood we had to be coaxed to do just that, otherwise we were chomping at the bit to get out.

Jacks was a favorite especially if a few of my friends were able to join me. Marbles was another.

The rules observed in jacks are simple, teaching a kindergarten student how as long as they understand how to count to ten, bounce a ball, catch a ball with one hand, can do it with a little more practice than an older child but it is still fun. You do have to be patient.

Rules for jacks:

  1. You have to take turns
  2. You throw up the ball, scoop up the count needed allowing the ball to bounce once
  3. You can't shake/touch a jack you do not need

That is basically it except you have to start by scooping up 1 at a time, then 2 at a time, then 3 at a time and so forth, only going on if you do this successfully.

You lose your turn if you miss the ball, it bounces too many times, you touch other jacks not intended to be scooped up.

Playing jacks is fun and can be used at any time, either outside or on the kitchen floor as long as the surface area is flat, level and a ball bounces on it with ease.

Another reason to play jacks, it encouraged us to count, understand eye / hand coordination and how to win or lose a game with a good attitude and behavior.

Enjoy!

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