How to Play Conkers (Horse Chestnuts)

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Playing Conkers (A Traditional British Game using Horse Chestnuts)How to Play Conkers

Playing Conkers (or Horse Chestnuts to the rest of the world) is a VERY British “school boy” game to play. I always imaging, boys in shorts (yes in Autumn), with scraped knees playing this games with the humble Horse Chestnut. But of course ANYONE can play conkers and I did too as a child. These days, it isn’t so well known anymore – as the toy mountain grows and schools get concerned about health and safety.

How to Play Conkers (and what is it?!)

To play conkers, each player needs one conker attached to a long ish piece of string. The aim of the game is to “flick” your conker so it hits that of the opponent and eventually break it. A champion conker will beat all the other conkers in the school playground.

I created a short video to show how to easily skewer your conker and thread it… as well as the boys demonstrating how to play it.

How To Play Conkers *Materials*

Fall Activities for Kids

Materials: one conker (horse chestnut), one piece of string, a skewer… make it easier with the aid of a lighter and some tape

How to play conkers and make them

1) Make a small hole at the top of your conker with the skewer. Then heat it with your lighter – the heated skewer will pass more easily through your conker. This is a top tip from KidsChaos‘s Mum!!

How to play conkers with kids

2) Use your tape to make a “shoe lace” end of your piece of string. This will make it SUPER easy to thread through.


How to win at conkers

The best way to hold your conker and string to get a good aim.

Playing conkers for kids

Practice makes perfect!

How to cheat  win at Conkers

Some say it is being innovative, other say it is cheating. In order to win, you need a harder conker than everyone else.

Old conkers

One such conker, would be to use last year’s stash…. however it will be harder to thread. And they usually look a little shrivelled, so you may be disqualified!

Vinegar conkers

Yes, apparently soaking them in vinegar, makes your horse chestnut tougher.. but as Me and My Shadow points out, the smell gives it away. Tired Mummy of Two went a step further and then varnished her conkers too. Clever lady!

Baking Conkers

Mummy Alarm all say “bake your conker”. Yes, it will make it nice and hard.

Some say to do both: Vinegar AND Bake!

The most EPIC CHEAT of all is that of  A Bavarian Sojourn.. she went as far as to make FAKE conkers from FIMO. Genius.

See our full set of Chestnut DIYs here:

This is one of my most precious childhood memories - crafting with conkers (also known as horse chestnuts or buckeye crafts) - I love the smooth texture and the fun chestnut crafts you can make. Here re 15 lovely ideas for Fall

Looking for more Nature Crafts for Autumn? Take a peak at these!
Nature Crafts for Fall