The Jagiellonian Fair Playground

Traditional games and activities for families, bottle caps, knuckle bones, rubber band skipping, Mubabao Blocks and Lacelike Tales about Freedom. The Jagiellonian Fair Playground is a space for actively spending time and getting to know traditional patterns on wooden memory games or huge puzzle blocks. The Playground also brings back forgotten games that parents can play with their children, sharing the joy of spending time together.

Games you will find this year: 

Dragging on the barrel
The game involves dragging a person to the other side of the log using a rope. The person sitting on the barrel pulls the rope in order to move forward but because the barrel keeps rotating, you also need to try and keep the balance in order not to fall.  Please note: The Jagiellonian Fair’s barrel can hold children up to 50 kg.

Pick-up sticks
A standard pick-up stick set consists of 34 long sticks (either plastic or wooden) of various colours and shapes (23 pieces of straight sticks – spears, 2 pieces of sticks with hooked edges, 3 oars, 3 spades – harpoons, 3 forks. In the Jagiellonian Fair Playground, we are going to play with wooden sticks. Number of players: 4 is optimal (but any number possible)

RULES: The first player (randomly selected) holds the sticks in one hand, leaning their bottom tips against a flat surface (preferably a table). They drop the sticks and let them fall into a tangled pile. Then, the players need to remove as many sticks as they can without moving neighbouring sticks. The player chooses a stick to remove and uses either their hands or sticks they have already collected to remove the chosen stick without moving the remaining sticks. If any of the neighbouring sticks moves, the player’s turn ends immediately and they lose a turn. For wooden sticks that have no special tip shapes, only various colours, points need to be assigned to colours of given sticks. In a simplified version you can also play without points – the player who collects the most sticks is the winner.


  • The stick with blue stripes, 1 pc. – 20 points
  • Sticks with 5 stripes (red – blue – red- blue – red) – 10 points
  • Sticks with 3 stripes ( blue – red – blue) – 5 points
  • Sticks with 3 stripes (blue – yellow- red) – 3 points
  • Sticks with 2 stripes (blue – red) – 2 points

Additional rule, to be applied if needed:

  • limiting the possibility of collecting sticks up to max. 3 per round.

PENNY FOOTBALL A form of football played with a  comb and coins or bottle caps.

RULES We need 2 plasticine-filled caps or same-sized coins (our footballers) and one smaller coin (the ball) or an extra bottle cap. We put the ball in the centre of the field and players on both sides of the ball. The person to make the first move is selected with a counting-out game. The first player holds the comb and uses the spin to strike their coin-footballer (or a bottle cap) so that it hits the coin-ball. After one hit, the second player takes the turn and so on. This is how we move in the field until we reach the opponent’s goal.  We get a point for scoring. After a successful shot, we return the ball and the footballers to the starting position (centre) and continue the match. The game is played for an agreed upon number of points, for instance 10.   Number of players: 2

DOMINOES A game that uses tiles known as Stones. Each tile is divided into two square fields with pips. The most popular version consists of 28 tiles : all combination of numbers from 0 (blank, pale)  to 6/ The tiles which feature the same spotted suit marked on both ends are called doublets. GAME PLAY The game is played by 2-4 players. The tiles are turned face down and shuffled. Next, the starting player is selected – usually, it is a player who draws the tile with the largest sum of pips. The drawn tiles are returned to the boneyard and are reshuffled. The players draw the tiles starting from the first player and go clockwise, either one tile at a time or all at once (usually no more than 7), without showing them to the remaining players. The tiles that  remain on the table are the “boneyard”. The starting player downs one of their tiles and the next players take turns to add their tiles according to the rules.
Basic Domino The values of adjacent pairs of tiles must match. If a player is unable to place a valid tile, they must chose a tile from the stock. If the drawn tile still does not match the line of play, the player keeps picking more tiles until it does (or the stock is empty) or the next player makes the move. The winner is the player who is first to place all their tiles or “closes” the game by placing a tile whose one field matches one of the exposed ends of the chain and the second another. The game can be played for several hands, the pip count for stock tiles is added to the score of the player who ends the hand until one of the player gains an agreed-upon number of points. Number of players: 2-4.

HACELE / KNUCKLEBONES A game of skill, in which players throw up various combinations of 5 small, smooth stones, jacks or horseshoe nails (hacele in Polish). It requires good coordination, agility and perceptiveness; it’s an excellent way to develop reflex.
RULES To set up the game, the jacks are scattered loosely on the floor. We pick one and hold it in our hands. We need to throw it up in the air and in the meantime pick up another from the stock scattered on the floor – we pick the jack from the  floor quickly enough to catch the jack we have thrown up. The same hand is used for both actions. When we have two jacks in hand, we throw up one of them and grab another (third) from the ground. We repeat this until we have five jacks in one hand. When we pass through this stage, we begin to catch then in pairs.  We scatter four jacks on the floor again and throw up the fifth one. This time, however, while it is up in the air, we move 2 leftover jacks closer to ourselves (it’ll make it easier to catch them) and then catch the jack which has been thrown up. Now, we throw the jack up again and pick up the two from the ground and catch the jack that’s in the air. And once again, we throw up a jack, move 2 closer, catch the jack. All this time we hold all caught jacks in our hand and only throw up one. Then we pick three and then all four. In the last, most difficult stage we throw and catch the jacks with the back of the palm: we put out the hand, join and straighten fingers, put the jacks on the back of the palm on the metacrpus and then throw up all of them at once to catch them with the same palm. If we fail to catch a jack at any difficulty level, we lose a turn and the next player  gains a chance. We return to the game in order, to the same level where we left off. The winner is the person who is the first to beat all levels.  Number of players: 2 players and more,

JENGA  Jenga is a simple game of skill that requires a specific set of building blocks. They make up a tower, whose every level consists of three blocks. The task of the players is to take any block on a turn from any level of the  tower and then place it on the topmost level. You need to be careful not to destroy the whole structure. The tasks becomes harder with every block you move. However, the tower can remain balanced even when it becomes twice as high.

At the start of the game, one of the players builds the initial tower. A hard and even surface is required.  Every level of the building consists of three blocks placed next to each other and at a right angle to the previous level. Every player is required to place the block they took out on the tower’s topmost level, alternately to the previous level.  Players may use only one hand at a time. It is allowed to touch and move other blocks before taking out the selected block. You can check out other blocks before making the final decision but any blocks moved but not played should be replaced.  It is not allowed not to build higher levels of the tower if the current highest level is incomplete (if it doesn’t have three blocks) The player’s turn ends 10 seconds after the block is placed or after the next player touches the tower. The game ends when the tower falls.

BOTTLE CAPS Specially prepared and decorated bottle caps (plasticine-filled, marked with flags of various countries or symbols, e.g. car makes or football club colours) are used for races on a winding circuit or for football teams that play a football match on a drawn field.
We put bottle caps at the start line, one next to another, face down and we flick the cap to move it forward. Players take turns – this is how we race towards the finish line. If you flick your bottle cap outside the lines, you lose a turn. The winner is the player whose bottle cap is the first to overcome all obstacles and tricky bends and reach the finish line. It is forbidden to shorten the route of your bottle cap, but it is allowed to roll the cap on its teeth, move it in the air to put it back on the circuit.
We make two teams, each with the same number of bottle caps ( the optimal number is 11, like in a real match). One bottle cap becomes the ball. To start, we put the ball in the centre of the field and then toss a coin to decide who makes the first move: heads/tails ( the order can  also be determined with a counting-out game). We take turns to flick the ball so that it lands in the opponent’s goal – one turn is 3 flicks.  The goals are defended by goalkeepers – bottle caps. Scoring a goal gives us a point. After our goal, the other team begins their game in the centre field. Flicking the bottle cap of the opponent, instead of the bottle cap-ball, is a foul and a penalty in the penalty box. The game is played for a period of time – 30 mins, after 15 mins the teams change field sides.  Number of players – 2, we play 1:1, there can be more players –  in that case, within the teams we divide the number and order of flicks.

HOPSCOTCH A game in which players hop through 8 squares that stand for the 8 grades of elementary school in chronological order. In the game, you hop on one leg, maintain balance and toss a stone into the squares. The winner is the first person to “graduate”.

RULES The players (any number) draw the playing order – it can be done with a counting-out game. The first player launches the stone into square 1, then hops on one leg through all 8 squares and on the way back collects the stone and begins round 2 by tossing the stone to square 2 and so on.  Skucha / Miss – is when the player doesn’t hit the right square, steps on the line or loses the balance and lets the leg touch the ground – they lose the turn and the next player starts. The next round starts on the square where the “miss” happened.

The game field can take various shapes. The basic form is a rectangle with 8 squares and the starting square marked with an “X”. In the so-called chłopek, squares 1,2,3 are drawn one after another, whereas 4 and 5 are next to each other – they forms arms, then square 6 in the middle and 7 and 8 form a circle, the head. You jump into the arms on both legs, both on the way to the objective and back. You jump into the head on both legs, spin in the air and jump back. Heaven/Hellthe rules are similar to the basic rectangle game, but it needs a greater sense of balance. In the 5th square in a circle we draw the letter N – niebo (in English H- heaven) and behind 8, a rectangle with P – piekło (in English H – hell). We toss the stone to square 1 and, on one leg, try to move the stone to the next field but in such a way so as not to have it stop at the line or in hell – otherwise our turn ends. We also lose a turn when we lose balance. When we successfully hop onto N square, we stand on both legs and the continue hopping on one leg, holding the stone in our hands. Number of players: any number, optimal: 2-5 players.

TIC TAC TOE A game for two players. The players take turns in marking fields in a grid, aiming at getting three in a row, while preventing the opponent from doing the same. The most popular version of the game in Poland uses a 3×3 grid.

The game usually goes as follows:

  1. The board is drawn as a pair of horizontal lines and a pair of vertical lines. The intersecting lines create three evenly sized boxes in each row and column of the board.
  2. Players alternate placing Xs and Os on the board
  3. When either of the players has three in a row, they cross out the line and win. When all boxes are marked and no line is made, there is a tie.

MEMORY A card game, in which we turn over pairs of matching cards. The player chooses two cards and  turns them face up. If they match, they are removed from the board.  If they are not the same, the cards are turned face down again (after about 2 seconds). The object of the game is to remove all cards with as few flips as possible.  The winner is the person with the most pairs

TIDDLYWINKS A game of skill, in which we shoot winks into a pot. The Jagiellonian Fair tiddlywinks require 2-4 players. Each player is assigned winks of a different colour and we flick a “squidger” to shoot the wink into the pot. Each player has 4 winks. The youngest player begins the game. Each player has 3 attempts to shoot a wink into the pot during a turn. If the player manages to shoot one of the winks into the pot on the first or second try, then they use the remaining attempts on their next wink. After the third shot, the turn ends and the next player takes over.  The winner is the player who is the first to shoot all his winks into the pot

 PINWHEEL A game of skill in which we spin the pinwheel so fast so that the central hole locks the pinwheel on the wooden thread.