Playing With Jacks

Birthday party goody bags–my girls love them! This past Sunday, they were both invited to a party. Inside their treat bags, along with assorted chocolates, stickers and other fun surprises, was a set of jacks!

Pink bouncy ball with multicolored jacks

Of course, Lily and Emmy had no idea what “jacks” are. It became my mission to teach them how to play as soon as we got home.

First, we had to find a suitable playing surface.

Not outside; the sidewalk is too rough and would scrape little hands.

Not in the living room; the ball wouldn’t bounce on the carpet.

Not in the the kitchen; the floor is too crummy and sticky.

But in each of their bedrooms, they have hardwood floors–perfect!

I scattered the jacks on the floor, like multicolored stars scattered across a shining amber sky. Sitting back on my heels, I tried to recall how I used to play. I showed Lily and Emmy how to bounce the ball, (let it bounce only once!) capture a jack and then catch the ball with the same hand.

This whole process was a little difficult for the girls. It was a little difficult for me. (It’s been a long time since my sister and I played jacks on our own hardwood floor in our shared bedroom.)

I told Lily to practice bouncing and catching the ball first, before trying to capture a jack and the ball. Then I started playing to see if I could catch each jack (the original onesies). SUCCESS!

So I tried the next level–twosies–grabbing two jacks at a time.

Those large plastic, multicolored jacks, perfect for little hands, were too big. The ball was too big. I couldn’t fit two jacks and the ball in my hand at the same time.

I wished for some small metal jacks with a small ball, like the kind my sister and I used to play with. (I wonder, where did that set of jacks go?)

Emmy deserted us after just a couple of minutes. Lily practiced bouncing the ball for a while, but soon they were both off playing somewhere else. At this age, Lily and Emmy would rather act out Tangled and take turns being Rapunzel and Mother. They are in a princess state-of-mind.

One day, I think they’ll enjoy playing jacks together, just like my sister and I did.

One day, maybe they’ll even let their ol’ mom join in for a game or two.

(One day, when both Emmy and Lily are at school, maybe this ol’ mom will find her own set of jacks and practice!)

Simple BPM

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What childhood game did you enjoy? What do you look forward to teaching your children?

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5 Responses to Playing With Jacks

  1. Ah, this reminds me of my summers at my grandmother's house! Of course she had all the "vintage" games a.k.a. didn't make noise and we ended up loving them! Your kids will too, it is just that being a princess comes first at this age!

  2. Plastic, really? I remember having the metal ones, too, but I suppose that's besides the point. I love watching my boys do things I used to love to do … it takes me back, makes me feel like I'm giving them little extra pieces of my life. Great BPM!

  3. Plastic jacks??? That just seems wrong! I suppose the smaller, metal ones may have been deemed unsafe somewhere along the way.Fun post…I really like your ending!

  4. I remember playing this! I think I need to find a set to show Sprite. She would love this! Of course, our dog Harry would probably go after the ball so rule #1 would be: Lock up Harry. 🙂

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