“Jacks Anyone?”


In my childhood, boys played marbles and girls played jacks. These were a set of 10 little metal objects and one red rubber ball. While it was possible to play jacks alone, the only reason I ever did that was to hone my skill. The real fun was playing with an opponent.

Reading up on the subject, I learned that there were actually a variety of ways this game was played. All I remember was THE way jacks was played in my neighborhood. You would find a flat surface and drop the jacks from your hand onto the ground. Then you would bounce the ball, pick up one jack and then catch the ball as it came back. If you were successful at that you went on to pick up two, then three, and so forth. When you erred, the other girl got a turn.

Of course, the wider you scattered the jacks and the higher you bounced the ball, the more likely it was that you would be unable to achieve the perfect ten pickups. I mostly remember gales of laughter as the ball went flying or jacks went spinning.

A few years ago I tried to find a set to teach my granddaughter. I could only find plastic ones, which felt all wrong in my hands. I see that now they are available in very expensive “retro” packaging. Apparently they are after the “nostalgia” market. I am not particularly nostalgic about jacks. I just think they were a great inexpensive way to spend an afternoon.

25 thoughts on ““Jacks Anyone?”

  1. We have or had these, but I never played them much myself. They exist in my world as something others did, and that I didn’t really get around to much if at all. Plastic jacks…???!! Huh for plastic jacks. They wouldn’t even make good caltrops to stop enemies–well, maybe they would.


      1. A bad guy slowed down by stepping on a pointy plastic thing might be about all it’s good for–the whole thing about having them odd light weight would throw off most people’s jacks games, I would think.


  2. Yes! 🙂 I played Jacks with friends and siblings too and was pretty good at it. I have occasionally tried to teach the game to young girls and they have a harder time at it then I would have thought. But they are always eager to try.


  3. Plastic jacks do not cut it, not enough weight in comparison to metal ones. Gosh, retro? meaning, ‘old?’


  4. Can you believe I have never played Jacks before! I love that there are so many variations of the same game I need to play it soon! I’m sure they sell it on amazon or something 🙂


  5. Jacks were big in my small circle of friends because they were a game you could carry in you pocket, and play anywhere at anytime, with friends. Fun to remember playing them as a kid. Thanks for the trip down memory lane. 😀


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