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PE and IB Games from a 100 Years Ago

3rd grade at GIS had been learning about 100 years ago in their regular classes. 100 years ago people had a very different vision of what games, sport or physical education meant. People had very little and had to make the best of it. As far as entertainment went, the radio was just breaking through in living rooms and television sets were not even invented yet. Playing some simple games were the way to go.

Funny enough, many adults, will recognize a bunch of these games from their childhood. Some kids do too, but it seems that it is a very good idea to revisit these games with the kids and they were surprised how much fun they had playing these simple folk games and activities. I'll give you a short overview of some of the games we played and loved during PE classes.

Bikkelen. It’s more modern style of playing Jacks

Bikkelen is harder than Jacks. The goal is to grab 1 'bikkel' with 1 hand. Then grab a second 'bikkel' with the same hand, while throwing the first one up in the air, then catch both 'bikkels' still with 1 hand, until you have all 5 'bikkels' in your hand. It takes real skill to do this, the kids will let you know!

Here’s a video on how the modern game works.

Cheese rolling - Trabol

So the goal is to get your old cheese on the dot, like you see in the picture below. It`s a strategy game, but it takes real skill to roll these wooden cheese (curved roll) on the right spot. We even had a cheese on the loose during class.


This is actually how bowling started. The game has almost the same rules than bowling. However, Kegeln is played with a lighter ball, everything is made out of wood and was mostly played outside as you see in picture below were a German village is holding a Kegeln contest.  

The goal is to get the King Cone down (the one with the dot on top).


Bocce Ball/petanque with bean bags.

Bocce ball is an old game, really old. Ancient Greek old. People still play. I think people will still play in the future. Throw your marked bocce balls underhand, as close as possible to the small jack ball. Then discuss who got the closest. The discussions seem to be part of this game as much as the game itself, as we figured out: it was sometimes hard to tell who is closest.



This was once the most popular activity on my own playground. One kid found it resembled a computer game. I still wonder why we stopped seeing this on our playground.

Hit the wheel

Most popular game in the Middle Ages you ask? This:

You hit your hula hoop with a stick and make it roll. Speeds up to 25 miles/hour have been reported. Sadly we only go to about 5 miles/hour in our class. If that..We realized doing this that some of these skills are really hard and that we actually have less skills in these kind of activities then the kids 100 years ago…


This is basically like a similar game to the  American Shuffle Board. You have to try to shuffle these little wooden circles in the little holes and can socre 1, 2, 3 or 4 points when they actually go in.

For me, as an adult, it was a very weird realization, that most games we were playing were originally made out of wood or metal. For us at school though, it was actually way easier to use a plastic version to re-enact these old games. The feedback from the kids was that all these games were really fun to do. Which I guess, is why people did them in the first place a 100 years ago. It makes you wonder what we will be playing in 100 years...

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