Thursday, April 11, 2013


Jackstones is a game we used to play as kids in the Philippines. It was sometimes called as "siklot" but we all called it jackstones and it is a traditional game for children in the Philippines. The game was considered as a "girls game" though there were a few boys who could play as good as any of the expert girl players (or better, even).

It is played using a ball and ten jacks. We would sit on the floor, determine who goes first by throwing up the jacks and catching them with the back of our hands. The person that catches the most jacks goes first. The small rubber ball is thrown and while it is in the air, a jack is picked up and the ball is caught as it falls after it bounces back up. 

The set starts with  picking up one single jack at a time until all jacks have been picked up. The game progresses to the next level where two jacks are picked up, then three for the next level... It goes on until all ten jacks have to be picked up all at once. When a jack is missed or the ball bounces a second time or the player is unable to pick up the required number of jacks, she loses a turn.
A set of jacks
A set of jacks (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After that, the game progresses to the "exhibition level" where each player shows off her skills doing complicated tricks while picking up the jacks. At times, we would play it with two sets of jacks (20 jacks in all) or more. 

It was our favorite game and we would try and play it as often as we could. We would play at recess, or when a teacher wasn't around. We would play in the few minutes before school starts and in the minutes after the final bell before our parents come to pick us up. 

The common type of jackstones featured colored plastic jacks with a small hard rubber ball. The more "premium" type was made up of small light metal jacks with a small soft rubber ball. 

A variation of the game is Chines Jackstones where four small cloth sacks of the same color filled with grain is used instead of jacks and a small cloth sack, in a different color, is used in place of a ball. It was more complicated to play as the "ball" is not allowed to touch the floor at all. 

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