What Did Colonists Do for Fun?

Colonists often had contests, worked together in spinning or quilting bees, played the fiddle, and danced to music. Many colonies had common areas where residents gathered, much like a park.

Most of colonial life was spent doing work, but colonists did have some time for recreation. The common area of a village or town was the place where people gathered before and after meetings, and many times they let their cattle graze in the common. When families gathered, the children played games that included marbles, hopscotch, tag, and hide and seek. Theaters became popular in colonial times, as well as attending horse races.

Cribbage boards were popular for colonists, and card games such as whist and loo were played. An early version of poker, called put, was also popular. Public executions and court days became community festivals. These days included foot races, wrestling contests, horse races, games and cudgeling. Magicians were also popular at these festivities, as were jugglers, trapeze artists, acrobats and exotic animals.

Dancing was very popular in Virginia and South Carolina. Some dances were held in the Governor's place, while others were held in small gatherings in rural areas. Popular dances included formal minuets to country dances.