What do Amish people do for fun?

Though they’re known to put in long hours, Amish life is not all work.  Today’s question for Pennsylvania Amishman John Stoltzfus:

What kind of things do Amish do for fun? 

John’s answer follows.  Do you enjoy any of these pastimes?

This is a very interesting question, however first I needed to look up the description of “fun” -enjoyment, amusement, or lighthearted pleasure.

Entertainment or amusements within the Plain Communities are probably pretty much the same, however there may be some districts that would frown on certain board games being played on a Sunday, primarily games using money, such as Monopoly.

Amish CroquetIn the summer, activities include pitch & catch in the backyard, croquet, badminton, shuffle board, flying kites, horse riding, hiking, swimming, etc.

In the winter there are all kinds of board games, with possibly the most popular being: Settlers of Catan, Construction, Monopoly.  Also putting together puzzles, card making and scrap booking, etc.

Of course how could I miss the most important “new fad”, – Can-Jam.  This game is played warm or cold.

There is also the enjoyment of spending time outdoors, hunting, fishing, hiking, going on extended trips.


John Stoltzfus is a father of five and member of a Pennsylvania Old Order Amish community. John works in product design for a local farm supply company. In his spare time he creates computer-generated art, which you can view at Stoltzfus Digital Abstract Art or on Facebook.

Croquet photo: Mark Walley/flickr

Get the Amish in your inbox

Join 15,000 email subscribers. No spam. 100% free

    Similar Posts

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


    1. Slightly-handled-Order-man

      Amish gaming

      I’d still like to know if Penn Dutch words get high scores in Scrabble 🙂

      1. Rich Stevick

        PA Deitsch would add another layer

        Dear S.H.O.M 🙂

        PA Deitsch was not a written language until the scholars did the orthography. Unfortunately, they could not agree on a single form, so there are spelling variations for many words. This would help one use up letters but would likely provoke controversy, admittedly benign but real, judging from our avid (rabid?) Scrabble-playing Amish friends. Hope this helps. Rich Stevick BTW, most Amish I know just scratch their heads and hand the article or poem back me if it’s written in PA Dutch. They could certainly learn to read it fairly quickly, but “Who cares?, they ask. Now, listening to a PA Dutch tape or CD while we’re driving is another thing. Rich

        1. Don Curtis

          Pennsylvania Dutch

          Some folks have asked Mark if getting the Pennsylvania Dutch translation of the New Testament would help them learn the Deitsch. He says that he’s not sure that it would. Mark says that you almost need to know the Deitsch, first, before you can read the New Testament translation and understand and pronounce what the words are trying to get across. Mark says he sometimes has to read a word several times and then it will come to him what the spelling of the word is trying to say in Deitsch.

    2. Erin

      I loved reading all of the ways Amish enjoy relaxing. I enjoy many of those same things, although I would have to add day trips to the list!

    3. Don Curtis

      Amish enjoyment

      I aksed my son, Mark about this. He agreed to all of them that are listed. Wintertime he added sledding and ice skating/ice hockey.
      Warm weather he added volleyball, especially among the youth. Also baseball. The boys really enjoy going camping and fishing.
      But, the girls will go camping, as well.
      The youth boys in Mark’s district got the chance to play tennis at a state park where they rented some cabins. The boys really learned to enjoy tennis but there are no tennis courts locally. I wouldn’t be surprised if one doesn’t show up someday.

      1. Sadie



        It looks like the boys in your son’s district will get a chance to do some more sledding soon, if the forecast there is the same as it is here, and if the forecasts are accurate! Last I heard here was 8-10″ I think, by Monday, and Bellefontaine usually gets a bit more snow than we do.

        It’s kind of sad to see that around here, kids rarely play outside anymore, and I couldn’t even tell you the last time I saw any children sledding. They won’t get the same experiences we did growing up (I am in my early 30’s), nor will they get to experience what it’s like to fly down a hill on a plastic “saucer” sled with a friend, and somehow manage to run right into the only tiny group of trees at the bottom of a huge hill. Not that that ever happened to me, of course…*puts on best innocent look*. Haha.

        I also just remembered this: walking around in the snow, in the dark, out in the country a ways, with my friend, her siblings, and her dad leading the way with his flashlight as he took us all out searching for – and finding – all sorts of deer, raccoons, and other little, silent animals whose eyes shone brightly in the light. It’s amazing our crunching in the snow didn’t chase them all away.

        Ah, see, your son’s mention of sledding to you got me started writing. Sometimes I just can’t stop!

    4. Sadie


      Hi! I’ve a couple questions that are at least somewhat related to this post! *smiles*

      Often in the “Showers” section of The Budget, I’ll see suggestions for sending things like stickers and scrapbook sheets.

      Now, the stickers are usually for the children, and I am guessing that means those little sheets with stickers on them, that you peel off?

      But, I am completely clueless when it comes to scrapbooking. When they ask for scrapbook sheets, do they mean actual pieces of paper that will become the pages of the scrapbook? I’ve seen some people say that sleeves are already provided. But I can’t imagine they would only want single pieces of paper? But maybe in scrapbooks, that makes sense?

      Does anyone know? Thank you so much!

      And see, this IS topic-related as it is related to something that some Amish people do for fun!

      PS: Don (not Ed), I always check the Bellefontaine letter for mention of your son.

      PPS: I may not be Amish or Mennonite, just a plain Quaker, but I enjoy that newpaper more than any other! For a while, it was taking close to or even a week to get to me, even though I’m in Ohio, but now, I usually get it the Saturday after it’s published, and am glad for that!

      1. Linda

        Hi Sadie,
        You are correct about the stickers to make children happy!
        When they ask for scrapbook sheets, they don’t mean a blank piece of paper. They want a paper filled with writings like poems or Bible verses or sayings or humor, or drawings, or stickers, or pretty pictures cut from magazines or greeting cards and glued onto the scrapbook sheet page, which will then fit into a scrapbook album. Sometimes the page size is specified. When sleeves are provided, that would be a clear page protector. It doesn’t have to be as fancy as the Creative Memories scrapbookers.

        1. Sadie

          Stickers, Scrapbooks, More = Thank You!

          Dear Linda,

          Oh wow, thank you so so much!! I didn’t think I was going to get an answer on this and really have been a bit nervous about it since I posted it, as every week I see more requests for scrapbook pages and I’ve just not known what that meant or what to do.

          Okay, the scrapbook pages make 100% sense to me now — I never got into scrapbooking so I just didn’t have a clue! But you know, that sounds like a lot of fun, both for the person who creates and sends it, as well as for the recipient who then will have something pretty, fun, or interesting to add to their scrapbook! I have noticed that, how often a certain size is requested, and now I understand why — if your scrapbook is 8 1/2 by 11, it would be much easier and convenient to get pages of the same size, grins!

          And thank you, also, for confirming what I thought about the stickers. I figured that is what was meant, but still wasn’t totally sure. I know how much I liked stickers as a child, but it doesn’t seem like there were nearly as many around then. It’s a good thing I still DO like stickers, since there are so, so many around now! It’s always more fun shopping or mail-ordering stickers, too, than using them, except for on envelopes, so that is a neat idea — because children seem to have such fun with stickers…sometimes putting them in all kinds of creative places, like my younger sister once did. I have no idea how she snuck past our mom, but my sister was about 3 or 4 ( now 23!) when she decided to cover the side of her dresser and the front of my mirror with every single, not-easy-to-remove, sticker she could find. I think this included some return address labels, if I’m correct.

          Thank you again, Linda! Your help is appreciated SO very much!!!

    5. Linda

      The morel of the story is ...

      Some Amish people enjoy searching for morel mushrooms!