and inside was the wonderful child's game of Jacks. As grade-school girls we practically wore out the seats of our pants playing Jacks on the porch at the back of the school during recess. I think I was fairly good at playing; wonder how quick I would be at catching the ball now?
There are several different games to play, including the most common ones I remember: picking up onesies, twosies, etc., where you throw the ball up, let it bounce once, and pick up one, two, or more and put them in the other hand. This picture shows an excellent throw for picking up one jack at a time since they are scattered far apart. As the game progressed upward in the number being picked up, the jacks would be thrown more carefully to make sure more could be picked up easily at one throw.
Pigs in the pen required one (or more) jack to be swept under a tent formed by the hand not throwing the ball:
Eggs in a basket meant picking up one (or more) jack and putting it in the palm of the hand not throwing the ball:
I wonder if jacks can still be purchased and would little girls find it a boring game compared to the electronic games of today. It takes a little skill and coordination to throw the ball up into the air and move the jacks without letting them touch or letting the ball roll away.
I don't feel like I've done a very good job of describing the game. Did you play Jacks as a child? Could you still play? If you want to renew your skills, or perhaps teach a child, google How to Play Jacks for a good YouTube video. There are other sites with rules for more games. If you do decide to play, be sure the child is over three years of age and doesn't put things like this into their mouths. AND, don't leave them out for Daddy to step on!!