Native American Games

Games were a popular form of entertainment among the Native Americans. Not only the younger boys and girls but also the adults played games as a popular pastime.

The games for adults were particularly meant to foster physical strength and skill, tribal unity and healthy interaction between members of the tribe. Following were some of the popular games played by the Native Indians.


Lacrosse was a kind of stick-ball game played by the Native Americans. The game involved catching a small ball using a stick with net attached at the end.

A large number of players participated in the game, sometimes even up to a thousand people. The game was played in a vast open area and could go on for many days from dawn to dusk.

It was a great way of fostering a healthy competition among the members of a tribe and giving them a chance to show off their strength. Sometimes, the game was also played to settle disputes between tribes.

The Moccasin Game

The Moccasin Game was a popular game among the children. In this game, Native American kids participated as two teams. One of the teams would hide a pebble in one of four moccasins.

The other team would then try to guess which moccasin held the pebble. If they guessed right, it was their turn to hide the pebble.

The Bowl Game

The Bowl Game was popularly played by children and adults alike. It was particularly popular with the Iroquois people and was often played at notable annual festivals.

In this game, a wooden bowl was taken and six nuts were placed inside the bowl. The nuts were painted white on one side and black on the other.

Then one of the players would strike the bowl against the ground painted into white and black sections. If five or the six nuts turned up with the same color as the ground, the player gained a point.

The Hand Game

This was a simple and fun game often played by Native Americans. In this game, a stone or similarly small object was quickly passed from hand to hand between members of one team.

The object was small enough to be easily concealed in a player’s hand. The other team had to guess which player had the object. If they guessed correctly, they got to hide the item.

Ring-and-Stick Game

Native American children played this game as a popular pastime. In this game, they would take a long stick and tie a string at its end. At the end of the string, a large ring was then tied.

Now, the children would toss the ring into the air and try to catch it with the stick. The game was fairly easy to play and children could play it for hours.

Double Ball

Double ball was a popular game played by the girls in Native American tribes. In this game, two balls were attached to the two ends of a string. The players would then use sticks to lift the balls using the string and pass it on to reach the opponent team’s goal post.