Play Croquet

CROQUET_SET
I have very fond memories of playing croquet at family reunions as a child, but as I started to write this post, I realized that I couldn’t really remember the rules. Of course, I turned the trusty internet to remind me. After reading a few articles on various websites, I now know why I couldn’t remember–the rules are really complicated! Well, that and I’m not so sure that we ever really played by the rules.

If you want the official rules, please visit croquet.com, as the order you are supposed to follow as you hit your ball through the wickets (metal arches) is too complex for me to explain here. However, if you read them and scratch your head, as I did, don’t worry–just make up your own order. Heck, you can even make up the shape of the course (my family did!).

For those who have played croquet before and remember the rules, playing with the official set-up and rules may be best, but for everyone else, just set up some wickets, grab a mallet and a ball or two and have fun taking turns trying to hit the ball through the wickets. Those with more moderate memory loss will likely do best if you only point out the next wicket to shoot for, rather than explaining the order of the entire course. If you need a solo activity, why not set up a croquet “putting course” and have the person practice hitting the ball through the wicket. You might find they have more fun and less frustration without the interruption that taking turns hitting the ball can bring.

Of course, no matter what rules you follow (or make up!), playing croquet can be a good jumping off point for reminiscing. You can ask if they’ve played before, what other summer games they played, or even if they remember the scene in Alice in Wonderland where they play croquet with flamingos and hedgehogs instead of mallets and balls!

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