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Monday, January 27, 2014

Jacks: You've Got To Be Nimble

A few days ago, someone asked if the old-fashioned jacks with which we played as children were still being made and sold. "You remember those, right? We used to play with them back in the day." Oh, yes, we most definitely remember them, and yes, jacks are still around. In fact, it's pretty amazing how long the game of jacks has been around. Some claim that the Roman god Hermes invented the game. He liked to play a few rounds with his half-brother/mentor Apollo (Bloomsbury).

Jacks has had several different names over the years. Some have called it knucklestones, doing so because jacks originally came from sheep knuckles and other various small bones. Checkstones and jackstones were two other popular names; checkstones is a similar game played with small pebbles, or checks (Collins).

Some of the best things about the game of Jacks, in our opinion, are its complete versatility and ease of play. It can be played by one person or a group. To play, one follows these simple steps:
  • Scatter the jacks
  • Throw the ball in the air
  • Pick up one jack with the same hand
  • Catch the ball with the same hand after it has bounced once
  • Repeat until all the jacks have been picked up
  • Graduate to a new round by picking up the jacks in groups of twos, then threes, etc... (Diagram)
We checked and found a plethora of jacks for sale. They're also available at many toy stores and drugstores. Have fun playing, and enjoy your blast to the past! 
Hermes. (1996). In Bloomsbury dictionary of myth. Retrieved from
Jacks. (2000). In Collins english dictionary. Retrieved from
The Diagram Group. Family Fun and Games. New York: Sterling Publishing Company, 1992. Print.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Elisabeth! I have thought long and hard about this game and never thought to look it up. I played this game a lot as a child and thanks to you I will be playing again.
    Never too old.


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