Heritage Gateways

Official Sesquicentennial K-12 Education Project
sponsored by the Utah State Board of Education, the BYU-Public School Partnership and the Utah Education Network

Life On The Trail

Previous | Next

Amusements: Games and Activities

Description: Young people sitting under a shade cover in camp playing a game.
Image courtesy of: Heritage Gateway Project Images, These images have been gathered to support the Sesquicentennial celebration of the immigration to Utah.

While moving along the trail, there wasn't much opportunity or time to play. Some activities could be indulged in, however, while moving along and include:

DISCOVERY: Virtually every emigrant or immigrant that crossed the plains on the way to Utah was doing so for the first time. For that reason, the game of discovery was participated in by everyone. Curiosity just led persons to wander off a bit (some even getting lost in the process), slow down, or stop in order to examine a new plant, animal (including insects), or geologic formation.

THROWING: This would include rocks, sticks, and buffalo chips (forerunner of today's frisby, of course). This was mostly a young male activity.

SOUVENIR COLLECTING: This was a young person's activity, generally connected with the discovery activities. Items were small, helped the owner remember events or places, and were fun to show to friends.

CHATTING: Slow travel made the journey seem endless. Walkers, especially, mated up with one or more friends, and chatted, gossiped, memorized or recited verse, just as people do today.

Once in camp and the chores were done there might be time and interest in singing, dancing, checkers, jump rope, tic-tac-toe, marbles (made of clay), jacks (pewter jacks and wooden ball), duck-duck-goose, hide and seek, horse shoes, stick pulling (start sitting down-feet together), arm or leg wrestling, stick and barrel hoop, visited friends, and a few wrote journals (fortunately).