What Kinds of Games Did Pueblo Indian Children Play in the Past?

Corn cobs and corn husks were used to make Native American games.

Like all children, Pueblo Indian children of the American Southwest loved games. Anthropologist Alice Cunningham Fletcher said these games "have been played in our land for untold generations, while traces of the articles used for them have been found in the oldest remains on this continent."

1 Corn-Husk Shuttlecocks

In the shuttlecock game, children made shuttlecocks out of bundled corn husk and feathers. Children of the Zuni Pueblo used their hands to bat the shuttlecock into the air, keeping it there as long as they could without missing.

2 Shuttlecock Variation

In another version, children stood in a circle and batted the shuttlecock around the circle to the right.

3 Corncob Darts

Boys fashioned a round hoop, either out of bundled corn husks or bent branches. They made darts of pointed sticks stuck through corncobs, with feathers on one end. Each boy tried to toss his dart into the hoop on the ground a distance in front of him.

4 Darts Variation

Often, the dart was tossed through a hoop hung from a tree branch or rolled along the ground.

5 Pa-tol Sticks

Three flat, wide sticks carved with different symbols were tossed into a wide circle made of stones. Children moved markers around the circle according to the toss.

6 A Hazard Game

The pa-tol sticks game is known as a hazard game. According to Pueblo Indian myth, these games of chance were played by the War Gods.

Based in Arizona, Kira Jaines writes health/fitness and travel articles, volunteers with Learning Ally and travels throughout the Southwest. She has more than 16 years of experience in transcribing and editing medical reports. Jaines holds a Bachelor of Arts in telecommunications and journalism from Northern Arizona University.