Playing area: Grass or concrete. 
Players: Usually you play as individuals in a group of 4 or 5 children. 
Equipment: 5 Jacks or 5 Knuckle Bones. 
Skills: Co-ordination, co-operation 


This game is very popular in countries all around the 
world. Some children use plastic Jacks or small metal 
Jacks or they use the knuckle bones from a leg of lamb 
and call the game knuckles.
  1. You sit in a circle. Decide who will go first and then in what order you will have your turns.
  2. The first player puts the 5 Jacks in one hand and then DUMPS them in a little pile in front of them.
  3. Move one Jack away without disturbing the other Jacks in the pile.
  4. Now throw this Jack into the air and pick up the other 4 Jacks in one go and catch the one that went up in the air as well.
  5. If you miss the next player gets a turn. The game of Dumps continues until one player is the winner.

Same as above except instead of picking a jack up and throwing it in the air, you have a rubber ball which you bounce then attempt to sweep up all the jacks before catching the ball. Can only be played on hard surfaces.

Normally a game of jacks will start with each player picking up one jack on the first toss, two on the second, and so on until on the last throw all the jacks are snatched up. Then the play moves on to the next player. The winner is the one who made it the furthest into the sequence.

Also, all throws and snatches should be made one handed, traditionally the right hand.

Most youth of today recognize jacks not as a game of throwing and snatching, but as bouncing an snatching; the modern jacks kit usually comes with a super ball; one bounces the ball and attempts to snatch up the jacks and catch the ball before it falls back to ground. This does not substantially change game play.

Jacks are also known as: fivestones, knucklebones, dibstones, hucklebones, checkstones, dibbs, dallies, and pentalithia.

A drinking game

You will need:

  • Deck of cards (must have all 4 jacks, the rest don't matter)
  • A nice big jug
  • A drink each (whatever you prefer - it's much more fun if you're not all drinking beer)

The deck is shuffled and placed face down on the table. Each player, in turn (starting left of the dealer) turns the top card over into the discard pile (face up). If the card is a Jack the player must:

  • The first Jack - pour half their drink into the jug.
  • The second Jack - pour half their drink into the jug and select a length of time.
  • The third Jack - pour half their drink into the jug and select a method of drinking (ie lying on your back or upside down)
  • The third Jack - pour half your drink into the jug, then chugg the jug within the length of time selected, in the manner selected.

If the drinker fails to finish the drink in the allotted time (and manner), then they should have to do some kind of dare / humiliating act / whatever.

A nice addition to the game is to make Aces 'rule cards'. Anyone turning over an Ace can make a rule (any rule), which lasts untill the next Ace is turned over. Rules can range from 'No using first names' (1 drink penalty) to 'No using the letter s' (1 drink penalty). One game I played a rule was 'Shaun has to play from in the dog's kenel'.

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