Even with all those
responsibilities, kids did make time for play. Some forms of recreation
back then would be recognizable today in both name and content, such as
ice skating, kite flying, jump rope, marbles and bobbing for apples.
But some familiar activities had different names, and other games have
since been transformed or totally died off. These include:
Quoits - Wooden or rope circlets were thrown over
a post, similar to horse shoes.
Draughts - Another name for checkers.
Hoop and Stick - Boys would run, driving a wooden
hoop (two and a half feet across) with a nine-inch stick. Two girls
would use their sticks to pass the hoop between them.
Skittles - Also called ninepins. One ball was used
to bowl over nine pins with the goal of bowling exactly 31 pins.
Witch in a Bottle - Similar to Freeze Tag.
Growing Up to Be the New Americans
Usually beginning at fourteen,
boys could be apprenticed to a master craftsman who would, over the
next two to four years, teach him a trade. That could have been
anything from shoemaking, metal working or weaving to paper working,
glassblowing or surveying.
For girls, adulthood meant
marriage and kids of their own. Those children inherited
responsibilities that few people today could really imagine. After all,
how many of us have to make our own soap?