Chinese Jackstone Revisited

CJ Title picI just realized I have amassed quite a basket full of fabric scraps after so many dresses and other stuff I’ve been sewing. The garbage dumper and the hoarder in me were battling over them. Good thing the make-something-out-of-it-ter in me acted fast. I gathered up the cute ones and decided to make… Chinese Jackstones!


I got some scraps from my Pinafore Denim Dress and left overs from an old curtain turned pillow case. I also got some scraps from my Charlie Bag.


But wait. How do you play that again?

I think the last time I played this game was when I was only 9 or 10. I searched online for some tutorials. I didn’t know it was a popular game around the world in the 70s and 80s, and there are so many versions. However, I couldn’t find one that showed how we used to play it. We played it so differently and with so much more flair in Bacolod City where I grew up.

Chinese Jackstones are not the same as the more common Jackstones (bouncy ball with 10 jacks). This version is made of 5 pillows filled with mung beans (or rice or sand). One of them serves as the BALL and it usually comes in a different color. There are several levels, each one increasing in difficulty. To win, you will need to work yourself up to the final level without making any mistake. If you touch the other jackstones, or if one slips off your hand, you lose your turn. When it’s your turn again, you have to start over. So it can be very tricky. I remember we used to spend many hours on the school corridors playing this game during recess.


I went around asking some of my high school classmates and asked what they can remember of it. Some have a vague memory of some levels, but none can remember the whole thing. After all, it’s been 30 years! I decided to tap my muscle memory, so I just played and played until it all came back to me. Anyway, if it’s wrong, then it’s my own new version! : )

I want to share it with you and your daughter (my boys said it’s too hard). It would be impossible to describe every step, so for the first time in my blogging history, I will be sharing with you a video tutorial. YAY!

Here it is!CJ VID

Click on the pic above and it will take you to my YouTube video. Or you can click here.


If you have any question about the game, leave me a note and I’d be glad to help you out. It’s a great game to play with your 10-year old daughter. Guaranteed no connections or WiFi required. Go sew up some little pillows and start playing!

Thanks for stopping by today. Enjoy!



12 thoughts on “Chinese Jackstone Revisited

  1. I’m trying it out with my friends’ little girls, too. I really don’t know how kids today would respond to non-electronic games, you know what I mean? : ) Anyway, let me know how it turns out. Have a great day! : )

  2. Stumbled upon this cause i was looking if anyone has ever drawn up a diagram. Then I did realize youtube vids will make all the difference! Hay technology! :) great job! I’m using polyfil beads in mine, but i remember the old school ones used mung beans — cant get those wet :P

  3. Gee…this is blast from the past! I’m passing time with my 10yr old daughter and decided to teach her hand games I played while in primary school (SSAM ’84) and she loved it. She asked for more and so I started to tell her all about my lunch games such as jackstone and chinese jackstone. With handy Google, and finding your website, it was easy to show her what the jackstones looked like. I’m so happy to find your video. Now she wants me to make her some….beads are a great idea, but I think I’ll stick to mung beans for now as I have some in my pantry and for ol’ times sake:-)

    Thanks… daughter thinks I’m the best….coz mum still loves to play around:-)

    • Hey! I’m glad my video is helping people play this old-timer game again. I have to agree with your daughter. Moms who still know how to get on all fours and slap some pillows are the best! : ) Enjoy!!!

    • Good question. No standard size really. I think mine are 2 in x 2.5 in. If you watch the video, you can more or less estimate with your own hand how big you want it. The key is not to pack the bags too much so that they’re not too bouncy and easier to catch. Enjoy! :)

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