Broom Game – If you can’t do this, you can’t do much

Kristy shared this broom game with us that she played with her family while growing up in Chicago about 50 to 60 years ago…

158px-Broom_(PSF)“We had a few games growing up that we played with children and guests that didn’t involve cards.

One was sitting in a circle in the living room and passing a broom. As each person passed the broom around they were to repeat exactly…

‘If you can’t do this, you can’t do much.’

As you said it, you tapped the handle of the broom on the floor a few times.   You could say it with any inflection, but the important thing was that you gave a little cough to clear your throat before you spoke.  As you went around, and the guests became more baffled when they didn’t do it right the family would emphasize more and more until the new people caught on.  Much fun, and though this seems like a rural game, we were Chicagoans, second generation English and Swedish…but working class, butchers and carpenters.”

Thanks for sharing Kristy!

Mama Lisa

This article was posted on Monday, June 18th, 2012 at 10:14 am and is filed under Broom Game, Countries & Cultures, Games Around the World, USA. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

3 Responses to “Broom Game – If you can’t do this, you can’t do much”

  1. Uly Says:

    That’s like scissors, where you take an object, name it “scissors”, and pass it around the circle saying “I’m passing these scissors crossed/uncrossed” and wait until everybody who isn’t in on the game catches on that crossed/uncrossed refers to how your feet are positioned.

  2. Kristy Says:

    Yes, we played that game too! I almost wrote about that game in addition to the broom game but thought the story would be too long, so stuck to one game. We still play these games along with “Round Ball-y” for the next generation of children…

  3. Taylor Says:

    Played a similar version of this tonight. In ours, instead of the small cough, we all started out with the word “okay.” So the leader started off and said “Ready? Okay. I can play the broom game,” While riding the broom like a horse. Then she pointed the handle at another and said “Can you play the broom game?” And the other players said, ‘Yes you can!” In response to the first person to go. If the person forgets to say ‘okay’ or isn’t in on the secret, before stating they can play the broom game, the circle answers with “No, you can’t!” It took me a while to get it. But it was a lot of fun. You have to do some sort of.movement with the broom as you state that you can play the broom game. For a while, I thought maybe it was hand placement, foot placement, switching hands… it’s great fun!

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