Jacks Game

(For Ages 5+)


  • A set of jacks which typically includes ten jacks
  • One small rubber ball

Recipe for Fun!

Your kids will be surprised at just how much fun - and how fast-paced - an old-fashioned game of jacks is to play! While jacks is fun with 3+ players, it is also a game that kids can practice and play alone - and it’s an inexpensive game kids can carry in their pocket or backpack.

Object of the Game of Jacks: The object of jacks is to be the first player to successfully move through all 10 rounds.

Tip for Game Play: Players must use the same hand to toss the ball, pick up jacks and catch the ball. An error in game play is called a foul. A foul result in the loss of a turn. If a player fouls mid-round, they return to the beginning of that round on their next turn.

Fouls in the Game of Jacks:

  • Picking up the incorrect number of jacks.
  • Failing to grab the ball after it bounces.
  • Grabbing the ball after it bounces more than once.
  • Using the wrong hand to catch the ball or pick up jacks.
  • Hitting jacks with the ball.

How to Play a Game of Jacks:

  1. Choose a player to go first.
  2. Scatter jacks in a small area.
  3. Player 1 tosses a ball in the air, then quickly grabs one jack before the ball bounces.
  4. With the same hand, the player grabs the ball just after the first bounce.
  5. If the player is successful, the jack is moved quickly to their other hand and they progress to the next round.
  6. The first player loses their turn if they don’t pick up the prescribed number of jacks for their round, do not grab the ball before it bounces a second time, or commit a foul.
  7. Players take turns until one player wins by successfully completes Round 10.

How Many Jacks to Pick Up in Each Round: The number of jacks each player attempts to pick up is determined by the number of the round. Starting at Round 4, the player picks up a sequence comprised of a specific number of jacks before moving on to the next round:

Round 1: 1
Round 2: 2
Round 3: 3
Round 4 - Foursies: 4, 4, 2
Round 5 - Fivesies: 5, 5
Round 6 - Sixies: 6, 4
Round 7 - Sevensies: 7, 3
Round 8 - Eightsies: 8, 2
Round 9 - Ninesies: 9, 1
Round 10 - Tensies: 10

Don’t Have Jacks on Hand? These are all great, DIY substitutes for jacks:

  • Tear up ten pieces of cardboard 1” square.
  • Have kids contribute ten tiny toys, like figurines, of similar size
  • Ten pieces of larger cereal will also do in a pinch!
  • And any small bouncy ball will work.

Benefits of Playing Jacks: The game of jacks is more than just fun; it is a mental workout! It’s a fast-paced lesson in physics and math - a great way to keep your kid’s cognitive and STEM skills sharp. It’s also a fine motor skill workout. Kids have to toss the ball just right to give themselves enough time to collect the correct number of jacks and use their pinscher grasp to quickly grab jacks.