Winters can be rather bleak and harsh in the northern part of the United States, and this is especially true for the Amish people who make their homes in Ohio and Pennsylvania.
But once the snows subside and the temperatures begin to rise in Amish country, you can bet on the Amish making their way outdoors to enjoy the sunshine and warm weather offered by spring and summer.
Of course, work is big part of Amish life, and from a young age, Amish boys and girls are taught how to properly perform their outdoor chores. Once the daily chores and schoolwork are done, however, there’s free time, especially during the longer spring days. The Amish youth don’t typically waste this time away sitting indoors, and it’s quite common to see them enjoying the outdoors by taking part in fun-filled games.
While television and video games are all too popular with many American young people these days, things are quite different in Amish country.
Electronic devices are strictly forbidden, thus you won’t see Amish children crowded around televisions after school and spending hours playing X-Box or Playstation games. You also won’t find them scrolling away on cell phones, enthralled with the latest posts from their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram “friends.”
Instead, Amish youth get their recreation, as well as their exercise, the old-fashioned way: They go outside and play!
In spring and summer, Amish boys and girls enjoy numerous outdoor activities, including some popular American sports and games.
Of all the games they participate in, baseball and softball are among the most popular. Obviously, not much equipment is needed, other than bats, balls and gloves, and Amish children often receive such equipment as Christmas presents. Baseball and softball are also played at school recess.
Another sport that’s recently become quite popular is volleyball. Like softball, this is a game that boys and girls often play together, and the games can become quite competitive.
In the Midwestern parts of Amish country, basketball hoops are often seen mounted on the sides of barns. While not as popular as baseball or volleyball, basketball is still a prevalent recreational activity among the Amish in Indiana and Ohio.
Amish youth also participate in other games which aren’t nearly as common around the rest of the country. One of the more popular of these is an older game known as “cornerball.” Played mostly in Pennsylvania Dutch communities, this exciting team game is similar to dodge ball, and at times, it’s even played in front of spectators. The participants often get a chance to use their athleticism in their attempts to avoid being hit with the ball by their opponent.
A game known as “cornhole” is also enjoyed by the Amish. This well-established outdoor activity involves tossing a bean bag into holes on a raised, slanted board. Comparable to horse shoes, youth and adults alike play this popular game, as it doesn’t require nearly the same amount of intense physical exertion as does “cornerball.”
It must be noted that not all Amish communities approve of playing sports, as some groups view them as placing too large an emphasis on pleasurable activities. The games mentioned above are generally accepted by most communities in spring and summer time, however, particularly when they’re enjoyed by children and younger adults.