The History of Hoop and Darts

What is Hoop and Darts?

Nero holding dartLong before the days of computers, phones, and tablets, different cultures made their own fun and created games by hand! Many of these games, such as the “hoop and darts” game, are still pretty fun today. Native Americans across North America had different ways to play the hoop and darts game, but they all involved sending a hand-made dart, javelin or arrow through a hoop.

The hoops could be made from many different things, including:

  • Corn husks
  • Rawhide
  • Yarn

The darts could be made from:

  • Corncobs
  • Sticks
  • Feathers

Where was the Game Played?

Where will Hoop and Darts take you? Our game’s backgrounds feature three subjects that are also on our coins: Chaco Culture National Historical Park, Effigy Mounds National Monument, and the Northeast United States.


2012 America The Beautiful Quarters Five Ounce Silver Uncirculated Coin Chaco Culture New Mexico Reverse

Chaco Culture National Historical Park in Chaco Canyon, New Mexico was a major center of culture between 850 and 1250 A.D. Three people groups can trace their ancestry to the park’s sites: the Pueblo Indian peoples of New Mexico, the Hopi Indians of Arizona, and the Navajo Indians of the southwest.

In the Southwestern United States, the hoop and darts game was often played by aiming darts at a hoop sitting on the ground.


2017 America the Beautiful Quarters Five Ounce Silver Uncirculated Coin Effigy Mounds Iowa ReverseEffigy Mounds National Monument in Iowa is one of the largest remaining concentrations of ancient American Indian earthworks in the United States.

In the Midwestern United States, the hoop and darts game was often played by suspending the hoop from a tripod made of wood.



2018 Native American One Dollar Uncirculated Coin Reverse

This background is based on the 2018 Native American $1 Coin, which features Olympian and all-around athlete James Francis “Jim” Thorpe (1888-1953), who attended college and played football in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

In the Northeast United States, the hoop and darts game was often played with the hoop suspended from a tree branch.


Featured Coins

Many Native Americans across the country played a version of Hoop and Darts. Here are the Mint’s Native American coins featured in the game.