Family Time Calendar: Get Moving - iVillage

Thanksgiving celebrates the harvest feast between the Pilgrims and the Native American Indians. It's also a great time to learn about the important role of the Native American Indian in our heritage. Many popular sports, including lacrosse, racquetball and archery, were first played by American Indian tribes. Try your hand at a lesser-known American Indian game called "Snake Sticks." Traditionally, this game is played on snow, but it can be adapted for a hilly lawn or parking lot.

What you'll need:

  • Long, straight tree branches, three to six feet long and about two inches around. The branches should be as smooth as possible.
  • Permanent markers


What you'll do:

Traditionally, Snake Sticks are branches that are skillfully carved into snake forms. If an adult is handy with a pocket knife, branches can be carved into "snakes." An easier, kid-friendly alternative is to peel away some or all of the bark, then add "eyes" with a permanent marker.

To play, each participant hurls his Snake Stick down a snow bank. The game can be adapted to any season by playing on a small hill or an empty parking lot. The object of the game is to see whose stick travels the farthest. Traditionally, the winner takes all the Snake Sticks, although points can be collected instead.

To play a simpler American Indian game of chance, players hold their Snake Sticks above their heads and drop them, to see whose stick lands head side up. Points can be collected for each successful "heads up."

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