DIY Pioneer Ring Toss Game

In Utah the 24th of July is a state holiday known as Pioneer Day.  We celebrate the day  Mormon Pioneers first arrived in the Salt Lake Valley much like Independence Day: parades, fireworks, picnics, time outdoors. Because our kids have been playing Pioneers for much of the summer (thanks to their love of “The Laura Books” ) I thought it would be fun to make a game that was commonly played during pioneer times.

Gather the Supplies:

a 10″ wooden or plastic ring (I used the inside of a plastic embroidery hoop that was lying around)
4- 1/2″ by 36″ dowels
fabric scraps
a darling assistant (optional)

Start by cutting or tearing the fabric scraps into strips about 1.5 inches wide. We tore 4 strips of varying lengths. (This project is not very exact, which makes it perfect to do with kids.)

 Tie fabric strips together.  We liked the look of leaving tails of fabric at the ties.

Tie one end to the wooden/plastic ring and begin wrapping the fabric around the ring.  We found it easier to wrap once we rolled the tied-together fabric strip into a ball.

 Wrap, wrap, wrap the fabric around the ring, overlapping as you go.

When you come back around to the starting point, tie the ends securely together.

 Now you’re ready to play!

How to Play:
It’s tricky to describe how to toss the ring, but hopefully (with the help of my darling assistants) we can make it clear.

This game is for two players.  Each player holds two dowels, one in each hand.  The first player places the dowels through the ring and crosses the dowels like so:

  Now quickly pull the dowels apart.  (Imagine a movement similar to unsheathing two swords at once).  You do not throw the ring. It is the act of pulling the dowels apart which tosses the ring.  Miss Ellie will show you how in this short video:

We had a blast playing this game as a family last night.  Even the adults had a hard time handing over the dowels when their turn was over (…ahem…). The promise of more ring-tossing fun in the morning was the only way we could get our kids to go inside and get ready for bed with smiles on their faces.

Additional Pioneer Day Resources:
Salt Lake City Pioneer Day Events