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Indoor Games

Sometimes the weather prevents kids from enjoying the great outdoors. Other times, a family will get together and play indoor games as a pastime. Did you know that in Asia, they have the Asian Indoor Games? This is an event like the Olympics, but events include dance sports, inline swimming and electronic sports, where players play video games.


Backgammon has a rich and ancient history. There have been backgammon boards found in ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, Iran and at sites from the Byzantine Empire. There was even a wooden backgammon board recovered from the wreckage of the Swedish ship, Vasa, which sunk in 1628. The name backgammon is English and most likely comes from the words “back" and “game."


Charades is an acting game, where you act out a word or phrase without using words. Everybody else has to guess. There are rules to help you get your meaning across. If you're miming a book title, you open your hands like a book. If you want to say “sounds like" you have to pull on your earlobe.


Checkers also goes by the international name ‘draughts.' This game comes to us from ancient times. In the British Museum, there are specimens of a checkers board used by the ancient Egyptians. Every country has a different set of rules for checkers, with over 20 varieties named things like Canadian checkers or Brazilian checkers, according to their country of origin.


Chess originated in India. The game as we play it today originated in Spain in the second half of the 15th century. The first chess tournament was held in London in 1851 and since then, chess has become an international sport. Ben Franklin once wrote an article about the mental benefits of playing chess.

Chinese Checkers

Chinese checkers is played on a board that looks like a star. The point of the game is to get a fleet of marbles across the board. Despite its name, this game does not originate in China or anywhere in Asia. It was invented in America and marketed for the first time in Germany.


Dominoes and their white playing pieces, called bones or tiles, are named after Venetian Carnival masks that are white with black dots. The first recorded game of dominoes, which involves a lot of mathematical reasoning, was played in 1120 AD in China. A popular Chinese variety of dominoes is Mah Jong.


A guesser must guess a word, one letter at a time. If they miss a letter, a part is added to the picture of a hanging man. If the picture of the man is finished before the word, the guesser loses. This game came from Victorian times and, in the late 1800's, was called “Birds, Beasts and Fishes."

Jigsaw Puzzle

The jigsaw puzzle, named after the saw that cuts the pieces, was invented in London in 1760. Puzzles come with as few as 300 and as many as 24,000 pieces. To make the puzzle extra difficult, some puzzles have no picture on them. In the 1980's there were National Jigsaw Puzzle Championships held in Ohio.


Tic tac toe, also known as noughts and crosses in some cultures, is a pen and paper game. Since it is a very predictable game, a computer has figured out that there are 255,168 possible games of tic tac toe. The best way to win is to start the game off, because the player who starts wins about half the time, avoiding the dreaded “cats game," or tie.