Playing Games, Part 1: You Don’t Know Jacks

Well, maybe you do. But any little girl worth her salt could play jacks. You watched the older girls and one day you threw the jacks down, bounced the little red ball and tried to get through “onesies.”

Here’s what we used to do when we played jacks:
1. Onesies (picking up one jack at a time in the time it took for one bounce of the ball)
2. Twosies (picking up two at a time)
3. Threesies
4. And so on…usually up to tensies

Once you got all the way through onesies, etc. you moved on to the harder moves, such as:

  • Cherries in the basket (picking up the jack while the ball was on the bounce and putting it in your hand)
  • Pigs in the pen (making a “pen” with one hand and sweeping the jacks into the pen before catching the ball
  • Around the world (bringing your catching hand around the ball while it was mid-bounce)
  • Double bounces (doing all of the above, but letting the ball bounce twice)

If you threw your jacks down and two of them were touching (or kissing), you had to pick them up and drop them again.

If you wanted to, you could pool all your jacks and throw down a whole bunch, rather than the ten or fifteen that came in the set. But then someone would get bored or keep missing and the game would never finish anyway. We had a couple of ways to pick who went first — usually eenie meenie miney mo.

I looked online and you can still buy jacks, although they cost a great deal more today than they used to. Naturally, there is a jacks tutorial onYouTube. If you can still sit on the floor and get up again, you could play jacks. Great for rainy days and when there is nothing else to do.
I loved jacks. Wanna play sometime?

I know jacks. Now you do too!


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