So I planned a historical costume picnic this summer, and as part of the picnic activities I wanted to supply some fun lawn games for people to play. A little searching revealed a game from the early 1800s called the Game of Graces— involving throwing and catching a wooden hoop with crossed sticks. It was supposed to promote gracefulness.
Apparently the game was originally aimed at girls, not boys (what, boys don’t need to learn to be graceful?), but I thought it looked fun, easy, and appropriate for picnickers of both sexes.
The first thing I needed was a wooden hoop– easy enough, since embroidery hoops come in all different sizes and are relatively cheap. I purchased a 9″ hoop, which I took apart to make two separate hoops (so I would have two sets of the game). The outer hoop wasn’t solid, so I had to remove the metal screw hardware and hot-glue it back together. In retrospect, it was enough of a hassle to remove the hardware that if I were doing it again I’d just spend the $2 and buy another embroidery hoop…
Then I just took long lengths of 1/4″ satin ribbon in various colors and wrapped them around the hoops in a criss-crossing pattern, hot-gluing the ends. I could have covered the entire hoop with a denser wrapping pattern, but figured that this would be enough. I also made separate sets of ribbon streamers in matching colors to dangle on opposite sides of the hoop. Not sure what they’re for, but they look nice.
Once the hoops were done, I took four 3/8″ dowels and sawed them in half to make four sets of wooden sticks. I sanded the sawed-off ends, and I was done!
So there you are– a historically correct lawn game. Let’s hope people have fun playing with it!