Hundred Year-Old Game Ideas for Picnics and Campfires

18-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Tuesday, August 12, 1913:  Am busy planning.

Photo source: Wikimedia Commons

Photo source: Wikimedia Commons

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

Grandma was helping plan a Sunday School picnic.  A hundred years ago picnics often included games and activities. Here are some activity ideas in a July, 1913 article in Ladies Home Journal.

Names and Topics Game

One game is to mention all the names participants can think of—either given names or surname– by topic.

For instance, “What names suggest occupations?” These include: Miller, Farmer, Tanner, Goldsmith, Mason, Weaver, Cook, Dean, Smith, Carpenter, Taylor, Cooper, Butler, Preacher, Sheppard, Crook, Baker, Painter, Bishop, etc.

“What names are colors?” White, Black, Green, Brown, Gray, Violet, Rose, Lavender, Pearl, etc.

“What names are flowers?” Lily, Rose, Daisy, Violet, etc.

Alphabet Game

In the Alphabet Game, it will be necessary for one in the party to be close enough to the firelight to read from a memorandum card. When he calls out a subject, it must be answered with a word or sentence beginning with the letter that was chosen throughout the complete list of questions: Suppose “C” is the chosen letter; the leader will say: “Beginning with C, name (1) An American city; (2) a foreign city; (3) an American river; (4) a foreign river; (5) a mineral; (6) a poet; (7) a poem ; (8) a book of fiction; (9) an author; (10)a vegetable; (11) a bird; (12) a fish; (13) an insect (14) a statesman; (15) an article of apparel for men; (16) an article of apparel for women.

An Illustrative of how the game works with “C”. The answers to the questions: (1) Columbus; (2) Constantinople; (3) Columbia; (4) Congo; (5) Cooper; (6) Coleridge ; (7) Charge of the Light Brigade; (8) Crossing; (9) Carlyle; (10) Cabbage; (11) Canary; (12) Cod; (13) Centipede; (14) Churchill; (15) Cap; (16) Cape.

11 Responses

  1. Great games. I know the second one but not the first.

  2. I like that alphabet game….
    Grandma’s excitement continues!

  3. Reminds me of the type of games played around a campfire. Always fun.

  4. I know I’ve played the second game. People don’t play those kinds of games like they used to…

  5. I wonder if Miss Muffly will meet up with the love of her life at the picnic?… :idea:

  6. Haha I love that crook is listed as an example for occupation! Is that the root of government office?

  7. Picnic games are so much fun. I like the names and topics games. That could be a game for adults or children.

  8. I like the fact that these games engaged the mind and exercised the brain. And they didn’t require any tech gadgets or externals.

  9. Wow, I didn’t know Churchill was well-known all the way back then.

    • Your comment sent me to Wikipedia:

      “At the forefront of politics for fifty years, Churchill held many political and cabinet positions. Before the First World War, he served as President of the Board of Trade, Home Secretary, and First Lord of the Admiralty as part of the Asquith Liberal government. During the war, he continued as First Lord of the Admiralty until the disastrous Gallipoli Campaign caused his departure from government. He then briefly resumed active army service on the Western Front as commander of the 6th Battalion of the Royal Scots Fusiliers. He returned to government as Minister of Munitions, Secretary of State for War, and Secretary of State for Air.”

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