Salem to China: Life on Land and Sea  1784 - 1820

Jenny and Pauline’s Third Grade

Marble Games


PICKING PLUMS For a small number of players. A straight line is drawn on the ground and each player contributes one or more marbles, which are placed in a row on the line about 2 marbles widths apart. Another parallel line is then drawn about 6 feet away. Players sit behind this second line and take it in turns to shoot at the line of marbles (plums). A shot which knocks a plum out of line entitles the player to the plum, but not to a second shot. Play continues until all plums are picked.


RING TAW This is one of the best known and most popular of all marble games for a group of players. As with 'INCREASE POUND', two circles are drawn on the ground. The inner circle should be about 1' (30cms) in diameter, the outer should be about 7' (2m) diameter. Each player puts an agreed number of marbles into the inner ring. The order of play is decided and the players take turns to shoot their TAW from any point on the outer ring, at the marbles in the center. Any marbles knocked out of the center ring are pocketed by the shooter and he is entitled to shoot again from the spot where his TAW lies. When a shot is unsuccessful play passes to the next player and the TAW remains on the ground where it comes to rest, if that spot is within the outer ring. The next player may then shoot at the marbles in the center or at any of his opponents TAWS. If he strikes a TAW, the owner of that TAW has to pay him one marble and he takes another shot. The shooter may not strike the same opponents TAW twice in succession. The game continues until the ring is cleared.


INCREASE POUND A game for several players. Two circles are drawn. One circle 8" (20cms) in diameter known as the pound and around it another of 11" (3.5m) diameter called the 'bar'. Each player puts one or more marbles into the pound. The first player shoots a TAW, from any point on the bar, at the marbles in the pound. Any marbles he knocks out of the pound become his property. If he fails to capture even one marble, his TAW remains where it stops, even if that is with in the bar and outside the pound. If it stops within the pound it must be lifted and a marble paid to the pound. Subsequent players may shoot at the pound or at an opponents TAW. If a TAW is struck by another TAW the owner of the struck TAW must pay one marble to the pound. As well as this fine, the owner of the struck TAW must give any marbles he has captured so far in the game to the owner of the shot TAW that struck his TAW.

Fox and Geese


 Fox and Geese is a strategy game that has been popular for several hundred years.  Place the 24 red geese on the game board, following the picture above.  Put the two blue foxes anywhere in the nine spaces of the fortress.  The object of the game is to corner the foxes so they cannot move.  The blue foxes try to capture as many  red geese as they can.  They capture a red goose by jumping the game piece, just like in checkers.  A fox can make as many jumps as possible, as long as there is a free space to land on.  The fox can move in any direction, either by jumping or making a single move to an adjacent empty space.  The jumped red geese are removed from the board.  The red geese cannot jump.  They can move in any direction EXCEPT backwards.  The red geese cannot capture a blue fox or jump any game piece!  Keep taking turns until one side is forced to surrender.  The red geese win by trapping the blue fox so they cannot move.

Make A Top

Children in the 1700’s had few toys or games - and very little time to play with them!  When they did have time, they made the most of whatever toys or games they could make themselves or with the help of an adult.  Tops were easy to make.  The challenge was to make a top that would spin longer than any made by friends.  Try this with a friend and see who can make the longest spinning toy!  First gather a cardboard circle.  Draw a design on the blank side of the cardboard.  On the other side, lightly write your name.  Use markers or crayons to color your design.  Next, carefully stick a coffee stirrer stick into the small hole in the center of the top.  About ½ to 1 inch of the stick should be below the circle.  Make sure the stick is perfectly straight up and down so that the top will spin easily.  Put a few drops of glue around the stick where it goes through the hole.


Finally, spin the top by holding the top of the stick.  Watch the patterns and colors swirl.  How long will your top continue to spin?  What’s the record for spinning?  Time it to find out!


Here are some sample designs: