Fourth of July Games for Children

An assortment of 4th of July games for children from an early 20th century book entitled Games for Everybody, by May C. Hofmann. Published in 1905, these games are a great old-fashioned educational way to celebrate the Fourth with little expense. Illustrated with an old line illustration from a Victorian fashion magazine (1874) that you may use as free Fourth of July clipart.

Victorian patriotic illustration of boy holding American flag with a girl.

Free Victorian patriotic clip art, click the image for a larger version.

Aside from the enjoyment of firecrackers, etc., there are a few games to amuse the children on this day. If a party has been planned for the Fourth, the rooms should be appropriately decorated for the occasion.

As soon as all the children arrive choose two leaders, who in turn select sides. A line is marked on the floor and the sides stand on each side of this boundary line. A few feet from the line on each side is placed an American flag. Any flag can be made to stand up by placing the end of the stick securely in the hole of an empty spool. Each leader guards his own flag.

The children endeavor to secure their opponents’ flag. If a leader tags anyone who crosses the boundary and comes too near the flag, that child is out of the game. However, if one does succeed in capturing the other’s flag, and carries it over the boundary into his side, that side is victorious.

Flags of All Nations

Flags of all nations are collected and displayed around the room. Each one is numbered. The guests are given pencil and paper with numbers down the left hand side.

Opposite each number the guest writes the names of the country which the flag bearing the corresponding number stands for. Allow a certain length of time for guessing, then collect the papers, read the correct list, and correct the papers. Prizes may be awarded, but the satisfaction of having guessed the most seems to be enough award.

Our Flag

Other games for the Fourth are as follows:

Each child is given a piece of white paper or cardboard 6 ½ by 3 ½ inches in size. All sit around a table on which are red and blue paper and a pile of stars by each one’s place. Scissors and a bottle of mucilage are handy. The children are given a certain length of time in which to make their flags, putting the blue field and stars and stripes correctly on their pieces of cardboard. The one who completes his flag first deserves a prize.

Suspend a bell in a doorway low enough for the children to reach. The children stand about ten feet away and each in turn throws a beanbag., endeavoring to make the “liberty bell,” as it is called, ring. Those who succeed in making it ring receive little bells as a reward.

Note: This last one is intriguing. Torpedoes for children? Is this ever a good idea? A safer alternative may be to construct mock torpedoes and fill them with candy or prizes. 

The contents of several boxes of torpedoes may be emptied and hidden around the room. The children hunt for them, and have a jolly time shooting them off after the hunt is over.

Christmas Games for Kids to Play

This assortment of old-fashioned Christmas games comes from the antique book Games for Everybody by May C. Hofmann, 1905. The illustration is taken from Here and There and Everywhere, Illustrated Stories and Poems for Little Folks, W. B. Conkey Co., 1895. Unfortunately, I found the book incomplete; not only is the cover missing, but the section on “Suggestions for Christmas Games” is missing as well. At least I only paid $2 for it, and the illustrations that remain are certainly worth more than the price.

Illustration of Victorian Children Playing a Christmas Game

I believe this illustration may be of children playing the old game “Blind Man’s Bluff”. Click on the image to download a larger picture that can be used as free clip art.

Christmas Tree

A novel amusement for children at Christmastime is to trim a Christmas tree when blindfolded. Stand a small tree at one end of the room, ready to be trimmed. Have all the ornaments on a table near at hand, ready to be put on the tree.

Blindfold the children one at a time, lead them to the table to take their pick. The first thing touched must be taken, and after turning the child around three times start him straight toward the tree.

When he reaches the tree, he must wire the ornament, or whatever he had, in place. Some older person can be ready to turn the tree around, as it will be trimmed only on one side, if not. The children can have as many turns as they wish until the tree is trimmed.

Christmas Guesses

Suspend a large bunch of mistletoe from one of the chandeliers. The children, one at a time, stand under the mistletoe, and guess how many berries there are on it. The berries are counted when all have guessed. The one coming the nearest receives a prize.

While watching the Christmas tree, after the presents have been distributed, some one says, “I see something on the Christmas tree which commences with T. What is it? Many guesses are given, the one who says “Tinsel,” has guessed correctly, and it is his turn to give a guess, which may commence with P and C. Pop-corn is easily guessed, and so on, until everything has been guessed.

Christmas Wreath

Suspend a large Christmas wreath in a doorway at a convenient height from the floor. Prepare in advance “snowballs,” made of cotton batting covered with white tissue paper.

The players stand about eight feet from the wreath, and take turns, one at a time. Each is given three “snowballs,” and the one who succeeds in throwing all three, one at a time, through the wreath, is given the prize.

To make it more exciting, sides may be chosen, and each one of the three snowballs numbered, one being 5, the other, 10, and the third, 20. If the ball numbered 5 goes through, it counts 5 for that player’s side. If it does not go through, it is a loss, and so on. The side scoring the most points is victorious.

Christmas Candles

A small tree is placed on a table. The candles are lighted. Blindfold the players, one at a time, turn around three times, and allow each to take five steps toward the tree. Then he must blow as hard as he can, endeavoring to blow out all the lights, if possible. The one who succeeds in extinguishing the most receives a prize.

Another amusement is playing “The night before Christmas” like “Stagecoach.” Give each child the name of some part of Santa Claus’ outfit, the sleigh, the reindeer, ect. The hostess then reads the well-known story, “The Night Before Christmas.” As she mentions the names, the players having them, rise, turn around, and sit down again. When she mentions Santa Claus, all change places, and she tries to secure a seat. The one left out continues the story, and so on, until completed.

A Game Within a Game

While the children are waiting on Christmas for their presents, or dinner, or whenever the time seems to drag, suggest that each one think up the best game he knows.

Give each child a pencil and a card on which the game and the name of the child who thought of it are written. Each one in turn tells his game and all the children play it.

When all have had a turn, and each game has been played, the children look over their lists and choose the game they liked best. The originator of the most popular one receives a prize.

Toss the Goodies

The children form a square, each one holding the sides of an old tablecloth or piece of sheeting. In the center of this is placed a pile of nuts, candies, raisins, fruits, and all sorts of goodies. When a signal is given, the children all together toss the cloth up and down, singing:

“Toss the goodies up and down,
Up and down, up and down,
Toss the goodies up and down,
Goodies for you and me.”

When the last line is sung, an extra large toss is made and thus all the goodies fly to all parts of the room. The children then all scramble around picking them up and having a jolly time.


A pretty idea for concealing Christmas presents for the children is to make a lot of snowballs out of white tissue paper and cotton batting, and concealing the gift inside.

Pile all these snowballs under the tree, and when the time comes for distributing them, the mother, or some older person tosses them, one at a time, to the children, who are standing at a distance eagerly waiting for them.

As the children catch them, they step out of line to leave room for others until all have received one. Then all the balls are opened and the presents disclosed.

Decking Santa Claus

Santa, who has been invited to the party, after being introduced to all the children, sits at the end of the room.

The children are blindfolded one at a time, and after being turned around three or four times, are told to walk up to him, and place on his head their own caps, which they have received in bonbons just before.

The child who succeeds in decking Santa Claus with his own cap may receive a little prize.

Thor Cruising the Cosmos in his Mighty Goat Cart

A free mythological clip art image for you, from Norse mythology: Thor in his chariot, pulled by the two goats Tanngrisnir and Tanngnjóstr, holding his mighty hammer Mjöllnir aloft.

Free Thor Clipart

19th Century Illustration of Thor. Click on the image for a larger version that you can use as free clip art.



Authentic Victorian Ice Cream Recipes from Cookery and Housekeeping, 1886

Authentic Victorian Ice Cream Recipes from Cookery and Housekeeping, 1886

I have not yet attempted the following recipes from my copy of Cookery and Housekeeping, by A Veteran Housekeeper. I have made, with satisfactory results, an old-fashioned vanilla ice cream from 1889 that was published in The Table: How to Buy Food, How to Cook It, and How to Serve it, by Alessandro Filippini, 1889

The one ice cream flavor that has caught my fancy here is the  fruit ice cream; I hope to adapt it to my more modern method (using the KitchenAid Ice Cream Maker Attachment). I have used a hand-crank ice cream freezer in the past, but mine never worked right from the start.

Vintage illustration of a Victorian Ice Cream Mold

Original illustration of an ice cream mold from Cookery and Housekeeping, published in 1886. Click on the image for a larger version of the same that can be used as free clip art.

Ice Cream Recipes

Source:  Cookery and Housekeeping by a Veteran Housekeeper
Published by M. T. Richardson, Publisher, 1886

While some housekeepers prefer the old-fashioned freezer, many others use with very satisfactory results the patent freezer, the best of which we have ever seen is the White Mountain Freezer; it is durable, easily managed and greatly expedites the process of freezing.

To freeze cream quickly have the ice pounded into small pieces, put a layer of ice and salt under the bottom of the freezer and back around the sides, cover the top of the tub with a blanket. When the cream hardens on the side of the freezer scrap down and beat with a large iron spoon.

It is best to freeze ice cream in a warm place (the more rapid the melting of the ice the quicker the cream freezes), be watchful that no water or salt gets inside the freezer.

Ice cream may be formed into fanciful and ornamental shapes by using moulds made expressly for the purpose. After the cream is frozen put it in the moulds. Set in pounded ice and salt, cover close with a blanket until ready to serve.

Ice Cream No. 1

Dissolve half a teacup of arrowroot in a pint of milk, beat the whites of six eggs and the yolk of one and stir in, sweeten with loaf sugar, half a gallon of milk, set on the fire and let boil, then pour over the eggs and arrowroot. When cool pour in a quart of cream. Flavor with extract of vanilla; freeze.

Ice Cream No. 2

One quart of new milk, one quart of thick cream, two eggs, one teaspoonful each of arrowroot and corn-starch. Flavor with lemon or vanilla; freeze.

Ice Cream No. 3

Half a gallon of new milk, three eggs, two tablespoonfuls of gelatine dissolved in cold milk; boil thick, let cool, sweeten and freeze.

Vanilla Ice Cream

One quart of rich cream, half a pound of sugar, whites of six eggs; beat all together. Flavor with vanilla and freeze.

Lemon Ice Cream No. 1

One quart of cream, eight ounces of sugar, three eggs; put on the fire and stir. Let cool. Flavor with extract of lemon, pour in freezer and freeze.

Lemon Ice Cream No. 2

Take three tablespoonfuls of corn-starch in two of fresh, unsalted butter. Dissolve in half a gallon of new milk; sweeten. Flavor with extract of lemon, beat in four eggs and freeze.

Lemon Ice Cream No. 3

Half a gallon of cream, two cups of white sugar, the juice of four lemons; the rind should be rubbed in lumps of sugar and put in the cream; beat to a froth and freeze.

Lemon Ice Cream No. 4

Three quarts of water, six lemons, whites of eight eggs, pound and a half of sugar, one quart of sweet thick cream; mix and freeze.

Orange Ice Cream

To one gallon of cream, squeeze in the juice of four oranges, rub lumps of sugar on the orange peels, and put in the cream. Sweeten and freeze.

Fruit Ice Cream

Half a gallon of new milk, one ounce of gelatine dissolved in cold milk and poured in, three eggs and four cups of cold milk and poured in, three eggs and four cups of sugar; pour in the freezer; as soon as it begins to freeze add a pound of raisins, one pint of strawberry preserves, one pound of chopped almonds, one grated cocoanut, one pound each of currants and citron; freeze.

Strawberry or Raspberry Ice Cream

Half a gallon of cream, half a gallon of ripe strawberries and three cups of sugar. Let stand two hours and strain; add another cup each of sugar, pour in the freezer and freeze.

Peach Ice Cream

Take very ripe soft peaches, to each quart after being mashed add a pint of cream and a pint of rich milk, with half an ounce of gelatine dissolved and mixed in. Sweeten to taste and freeze.

Pineapple Ice Cream

Half a gallon of cream, two pineapples, sliced and sprinkled with sugar two hours before using, then chopped very fine and with the syrup beat into the cream; freeze as rapidly as possible.

Caramel Ice Cream

Put two pints of brown sugar in a skillet and stir until dissolved; mix in one pint of boiling milk, cool and strain; pour it in half a gallon of cream and freeze.

Gelatine Ice Cream

Dissolve one ounce of gelatine in a cup of cold milk, pour it in half a gallon of new milk, beat in the whites of four eggs and the yolk of one. Sweeten, and flavor with extract of pineapple; freeze.

Chocolate Ice Cream

Half a gallon of rich cream, four eggs, one pound of sugar, two teaspoonfuls of extract of vanilla, six ounces of chocolate mixed smooth in a cup of milk; pour in freezer and freeze.

Cocoanut Ice Cream

Grate two large cocoanuts, mix in half a gallon of rich cream, sweeten, and flavor with extract of pineapple.

Note: This cookbook also includes recipes for other frozen delights, such as custards and ices. I will post them shortly–become a fan of Miss Mary on Facebook and follow the updates as they happen.

Making Ice Cream The Hard Way: The White Mountain Hand-Crank Ice Cream Freezer

This article was published in my old newsletter, Miss Mary’s Gazette, in July 2005. In the time since, the wooden barrel/bucket part of the White Mountain freezer has been used as a Christmas tree stand, a storage bin for potatoes, and most recently, as a waste paper basket. Needless to say, I’ve not attempted to make hand-crank ice cream since my first and only try. These days, I have the freezer bowl for my Kitchen aid mixer; and it’s been too long since I’ve used it.

White Mountain Ice Cream Machine

White Mountain Ice Cream Machine

Making Ice Cream the Hard Way, by an Old Crank

The White Mountain hand-crank ice cream freezer is an American classic, and after years of watching mine gather dust on top of the china cupboard, I can now say that I’ve successfully made a vintage ice cream recipe—the 1889 vanilla ice cream recipe by Alessandro Filippini.

My freezer is the six quart model, so I doubled the recipe, with the exception of the eggs—I used 9 yolks. Cooking up the ingredients was relatively painless.

Two bags of convenience store ice at the outrageous price of $1.79 each (thanks Dad!) and I was all set for the real fun.

I poured the cooled ice cream mixture into the cream can, already in the wooden tub, and set about assembling the can cover. No problem. And then …the gearframe! This is the device that, contains the gears that revolve inside the dasher (inside the can) with each turn of the crank; however, due to a defect or a design flaw, the gearframe would not sit on the dasher stem properly, and therefore, would not sit flush in the slots as described in the instructions.

After several frustrating moments involving every man in the house attempting to make the gearframe sit properly, I continued on, just holding on to the one end of the gearframe to keep the can from wobbling while cranking, although it was fairly steady once all of the ice and salt was packed in.

Ten minutes into working the crank in a hot kitchen and I came to the conclusion that I would need the help of another American classic.

Yuengling Lager.

Lager in one hand, crank in the other, I spent the next 30 minutes giving myself one heck of a workout.

The hardest thing, outside of the gearframe fiasco, was determining when the ice cream was ready (for packing, eating, or both!). According to the freezer’s directions, you’ll know when the ice cream is ready when the crank handle becomes difficult to turn. But was it only becoming difficult to turn because I was getting tired? A 10 year sedentary career in computers…need I say more?

I took a chance, removed the gearframe and cover, revealing the golden glow of my first batch of ice cream! The consistency of thick soft serve, creamy, rich and sweet; I packed most of it into a square half-gallon ice cream mold and served up what remained to the mooches in the house. Had I not run out of ice, I would have allowed the ice cream to harden in the traditional way, by placing the mold back in the icy brine, covering all with a blanket; but it was getting late.

The taste was sweet, almost too sweet for my taste, although my Dad thought it was great. The whole vanilla bean that I used made all the difference, I think. He suggested that I break up the bean the next time and keep it in the mix.

Next time? Not without a motorized gearframe!


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