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Friday, January 31, 2014

How are Kids Games Different Around the World?

(CREDIT: craigland (Flickr))

Having grown up in Indiana, I grew up on the traditional games that we play here in the United States as children. Whether it was on the playground during recess, at the neighborhood playground, or just playing in the backyard at home with my siblings and friends, there was never anything better than playing outside as a child. When I was younger, some of my particularly favorite games were the classic games that we all know and love, such as dodgeball, tag, and kickball.

However, the "traditional games" that we're used to aren't exactly commonplace in other countries, as children around the world have their own favorite games that they play. Here on this blog, we recently took a look at some of the most unique playgrounds from around the world, to give an idea of how different cultures tackle different things. With actual games, it's no different.

Here are some games that are commonplace around the world, just not necessarily games that we may be particularly familiar with:

  1. Catch the Dragon's Tail (China) – This is a game that is commonly played in China, and is better suited for large groups, because with the more children there are to play, the more fun the game can be. To play, all of the children involved come together to form a human chain, by putting their hands on the shoulders of whomever is right in front of them. The child at the very front is known as the Dragon's head, while the child at the very end of the line is considered to be the Dragon's tail. The goal of this game is for the "Dragon's Head" to tag the "Dragon's Tail." It's definitely unique!
  2. Corre, Corre la Guaraca (Chile) – Typically played in Chile, translated, the name of the game means "Run, Run, la Guaraca," and all children need to have in order to play is a handkerchief. The game is very much like "Duck, Duck, Goose;" children need to sit on the ground and form a circle for the game to begin. With everyone seated, one kid runs around the circle with the handkerchief, while the seated children sing "Corre, Corre, la Guaraca." The runner tries not to be detected, draping a handkerchief on one's back while running by. If the runner can make it around the circle prior to being caught, the player seated is out!
  3. Semut, Orang, Gajah (Sumatra) – Played in Sumatra, "Semut, Orang, Gajah," which translates to "Ant, Man, Elephant," is similar to the game known as "Rock, Paper, Scissors." A fist-pump and a three-second countdown begins the game, The "ant" is signified by having the pinky finger out, the index finger out symbolizes the "man," and the thumb out is the "elephant." Now, we're used to paper defeating rock, rock defeating scissors, and scissors defeating paper. In this game, however, the elephant beats the man (because it's stronger), the man defeats the ant, and strangely enough, the ant defeats the elephant, which a bit of humorous reasoning – the ant can crawl into the elephant's ear and drive him insane!
  4. Statues (Greece) – Seeing as Greece holds claim to some of the most amazing statues in the world, it's fitting that they have a game for children named after them. To play, one child is selected as being "it," and then has to stand in the middle of a large space (such as a field) with their eyes closed, and must count to at least 10. Once they hit 10, then can either keep counting or stop completely, as there isn't any set number past that. Once "it" is done counting, the child yells "Agalmata!" which in Greek means "statue." Once this occurs, the children out in the field are to stop what they're doing, and get into a statue pose, representing one of the many famous statues in Greece. If "it" can make a statue laugh, they're out!

With that, some games are much different than what we're used to, while others are really quite similar, like Corre, Corre, la Guaraca, which is commonly played in Chile. What were some of your favorite games to play as a child, and are there any from around the world that you're aware of? Let myself and our readers know in the comments below!

Find more about the author: Kim Hart

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