Amazing Mazes

“Amazing Mazes,” Friend, Nov. 1972, 26

Amazing Mazes

In the early 1800’s the New England settlers loved “maze games.” Some mazes were marked on paper, while others were carved into pieces of wood. But the mazes that were the most intriguing were those laid out on a field. Lines for these were formed by plowing furrows in the soil. If the puzzle were difficult, or plowing the soil would spoil a good hayfield the maze was constructed with small bundles (sheaves) of wheat laid end to end. Of course these couldn’t be traced with a pencil or finger; so people had to walk through these puzzles, many of which were eighty or one hundred feet across.

Some mazes were not really puzzles, but were one continuous path that twisted and turned until it ended in the bower or center of the maze. The real puzzlers had several entrances and many dead ends.

Why don’t you construct a maze game of your own! The lines could be made very easily on your lawn with yarn or string. You might even make a giant-sized maze on a playground or tennis court with a piece of chalk. In the fall, leaves could be raked into lines and patterns. A snow maze could also be formed in winter by stamping out the lines of a puzzle maze in fresh snow.