Children Games in the Elizabethan Era

By Lindsay Howell

Updated September 22, 2017

The Elizabethan age, as history has come to call it, was the time during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, from 1558 to 1603. It was considered a "golden age" in England's history because the arts and sciences flourished in Elizabeth's time, particularly within the realm of the theatre. William Shakespeare composed many of his plays during this time period. Entertainment was important to people of all social classes, and to their children. Children in the Elizabethan era amused themselves with games when not attending school or working.


Playing marbles was a common children's game in the Elizabethan era. Marbles were made of glass or wood. The game was played much as it is today; a circle was formed using chalk or a piece of string, with the marbles placed in a group inside. Children used the shooter, or a larger marble, to shoot the other marbles out of the string. Prizes for winning often included the loser's marbles.


Another popular children's game in Elizabethan times was hopscotch. The game has not changed much in 500 years; children drew numbered squares with chalk and threw a pebble onto one of the squares, and attempted to alternate jumping on one leg to that square.

Blind Man's Bluff

A popular pastime for both children and adults in the Elizabethan era, Blind Man's Bluff involved blindfolding one person and having him stumble about trying to find the other people playing the game. This game was played mainly outdoors, in gardens for example, where children were kept out of the way of adults.

Ball Games

Ninepins was an early form of modern bowling and was played by children and adults. Ninepins was played on a bowling green. Balls made of leather or sheep and pig bladders were popular toys and served as a source of almost limitless entertainment for children in the Elizabethan age.