Osceola County Historical Society Blog

Outdoor Games of the Early 1900s that You Can Play Today!

Posted by Miranda Herbert Ferrara and Kayleigh Heister on Jun 7, 2018 12:28:51 PM

With the opening of our Totally Tots! Temporary Exhibit that runs through September 2 at the Osceola County Welcome Center and History Museum, we wanted to take a look at a few of the games that a child would have played on a lazy summer day in 1900 that you can play today.





The children’s game that most of us played on the schoolyard has a very unlikely beginning. During the Roman Empire in ancient Britain was the birthplace of Hopscotch. The game was originally expanded more than 100 feet and was used by the Roman foot soldiers. The soldiers would run the course as a military drill, while wearing full armor and field packs, the game would help improve footwork. The children soon copied the soldiers and made their own smaller hopscotch and added a score system. This version eventually spread across Europe. There are many different versions of the game but they all come from the same beginning in ancient Britain.


Hoop Rolling


Hoop rolling is also called hoop bowlingor hoop trundling. It involves rolling a hoop made of metal or wood by hitting it with a curved metal piece called a crookor a piece of wood or a stick. The game dates back many centuries, but most recently came into its own in Victorian times (1837–1901) as a pastime mostly for pre-teen boys.


To roll a hoop, children would take a metal barrel hoop or a wooden hoop and stand it on its edge. They would then give it a push with their crook, stick, or hand to get it rolling, then control the movement of the hoop as they ran along beside it. The object of hoop rolling is to see how long, how far, and how straight you can keep the hoop rolling. Hoop rolling could be done by one person or as a race with several children.


If you want to try hoop rolling, you can take a hula hoop and try to roll it using your hand or a stick to keep it upright and rolling. Remember to stay on the sidewalk to be safe.


Touch Wood


Touch Wood is a version of “tag” where touching a wooden object keeps players safe.


One player is selected to be “it.” The other players touch something that is made of wood. As the players run from wooden object to wooden object, “it” tries to catch another player who is not touching something made of wood. If “it” catches someone, that player becomes “it.”


If you want to play this game, but don’t have a lot of wood around, you can vary the game to Touch a Tree, Touch a Rock, Touch Something Yellow, and the like.




These are just some of the many games from the turn of the last century that can be played today. For more ideas and an enjoyable outing, come on over to the Totally Tots! Temporary Exhibit.

 And remember: Have a fun, safe and happy summer playing!



 “Antique Toys: Rolling Hoop.” Victoriana Magazine. http://www.victoriana.com/antiquetoys/rollinghoop.html

 Greenaway, Kate. Kate Greenaway's Book of Games, with twenty-four colour plates. London and New York, F. Warne, [1927]. Reprinted New York: St. Martin's Press, 1987.

 Smithfield, Brad. “Hoop Rolling: a popular game which dates back to the 5th century BC.” The Vintage News, April 3, 2017. https://www.thevintagenews.com/2017/04/03/hoop-rolling-a-popular-game-which-dates-back-to-the-5th-century-bc/

Whiteman, Susan. “Hopscotch: A History.” Bibliography of American Women Writers, 1 Nov. 2005, www.albany.edu/~sw7656/.


Photo Courtesy

 Children playing hopscotch, June 17, 1891. Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, LC-USZ62-54755.

Topics: Summer Activities, Osceola County Welcome Center and HIstory Museum, Totally Tots! Temporary Exhibit, Games, Outdoor

About this Blog

The Osceola County Historical Society is focused on preserving Osceola County’s rich, cultural history while sharing it with others. This blog is perfect for just that. 

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