The Joy of Jacks

jacksWhen I gave my 2 oldest grandsons the new box of jacks, they both looked at me quite puzzled. “What are these?” they asked.  I dumped the contents on the sidewalk and began to bounce the small red ball and pick up jacks. Their eyes grew big and they immediately were squealing, “I want to play!” “Let me try!”  After a few quick rules, Tyler and Evyn were hooked! They even begged to take the jacks home with them when it was time for them to go home.  Here are some simple rules to help you get started in enjoying your own game of jacks.

Playing Jacks: You throw the ball into the air … pick up one jack … then catch the ball after it bounces one time. Continue picking up the jacks one at a time. When you have collected all the jacks, throw them again and start picking the jacks up two at a time (twosies). When you get to threesies you have to pick up the three sets of three first, then pick up the left over jack. Continue on until you are at tensies. You can then declare the winner as the first one to tens, or go back down again to onesies.

Your turn continues until you either: miss the ball, fail to pick up the jacks, move a jack, or drop a jack that you have picked up. Your turn is then over and the next person goes.

Kissies – If after you throw the jacks and two (or more) jacks are touching you can either leave them, or pick up the jacks and drop them to spread them out.

Who goes first
Throw the jacks up in the air and trying to catch as many as possible with both hands together (your palms have to be face down – thumb to thumb). Whoever catches the most jacks goes first.

Variations
Black Widow
You have to play from ones to tens without missing. If you miss then you have to start again at ones.

No bouncies
Go from one to tens without letting the ball bounce before you pick up the jacks.

Double bouncies
Pick up the jacks and then catch the ball after it bounces twice.

Cherries in a basket
Cup your hand and throw the ball with the opposite hand. You have to then place the jacks in your cupped hand – one through tens.

Pigs in a Pen
Place your hand slightly cupped on the ground with the side of your hand resting on the ground. Then throw the ball with the opposite hand and slide the jacks into the “pig pen” ones through tens.

Over the fence
Place you hand on the ground straight and you have to place the jacks on the other side of the “fence” – ones through tens.

Mary Kline

Mary Byrne Kline

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