Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Games Around the World


One World, Many Stories. It's more than just a summer reading theme--it's also a principle that children must understand in order to grow into culturally competent adults.

An excellent way to familiarize children with this concept is to play games. Why? Because games are found in every culture, and that fact ties us together as one world. However, different cultures play different games, or play the same games differently, and that testifies to our many stories.

Games / Margaret C. Hall.

Play with us : 100 games from around the world / Oriol Ripoll.

Kids around the world play! : the best fun and games from many lands / Arlette N. Braman ; illustrated by Michele Nidenoff.

Acka backa boo! : playground games from around the world / Opal Dunn ; illustrated by Susan Winter.

Games / by Godfrey Hall.

Hopscotch is a perfect example; it's found all around the world but in numerous forms. This summer, why not host a Hopscotch Around the World program at your library? This program will show children how they hop in countries such as the Netherlands, Tanzania, and Bolivia and also give them a chance to work on their gross motor skills (such as hopping, balancing, kicking, and throwing), counting, and language skills.

Ideally hopscotch is played outdoors, but if your program must be held indoors you can draw the courts on butcher paper or mark them out with masking tape on the floor. Select as many different games as you want and let your patrons try them out. You can make it competative, or play just for fun!

There are many books available in the system about hopscotch. My personal favorite is Hopscotch Around the World by Mary D. Lankford, which is complete with the history of each country's brand of hopscotch, diagrams of the courts, and step-by-step playing instructions. Here are three examples adapted from that book:


USA: Hopscotch (Potsy)

1. Draw a pattern with eight squares, number them 1-8.

2. Toss the marker (or “potsy”) into square 1, hop into box 2.

3. Hop into box 3, then jump into boxes 4 and 5 with one foot in each box.

4. Hop into box 6 and then jump into boxes 7 and 8 with one foot in each box.

5. Jump up and turn around, landing again in boxes 7 and 8.

6. Hop and jump back to box 2. Lean down and pick up the potsy from box 1.

7. Hop out of the pattern.

8. Throw the potsy into each succeeding box. Never hop into the box with the potsy in it.

9. If you complete the whole pattern without making any mistakes, you can choose a box and put your initials in it. The next players cannot jump into your initialed box.


France: Escargot

1. Decide which foot you will be hopping with. If you decide on your left foot, you must hop in and out each time on that foot.

2. Hop through the snail pattern
a. Hop only once in each space. No player may touch a line when hopping.

3. In the center “home” space you may rest on both feet.

4. After resting, turn and hop back to the beginning. Repeat the pattern 1x.

5. After you have hopped in and out twice, choose one space for your “house”. Write your initials in this space. This becomes another rest space for you. No other player may hop into your house.

The game ends when it is impossible for anyone to hop into the center space or when all of the squares have initials in them. The player who “owns” the greatest number of squares wins.


Bolivia: La Thunkuña

1. Throw the puck into lunes (Monday). Hop over that space into martes (Tuesday)

2. Using your hopping foot, kick the puck out of lunes and back behind the baseline. Then hop out of the pattern.

3. Toss the puck into martes. Hop into lunes, then into miércoles (Wednesday). Kick the puck out of the pattern, then hop out.

4. Repeat for miércoles, then for jueves (Thursday). When you throw the puck into jueves, hop into miércoles, then jump into viernes (Friday) and sábado (Saturday), with one foot in each. Then hop on one foot into domingo (Sunday), and kick the puck back behind the baseline as before.

5. Do not throw the puck into viernes or sábado. Continue the pattern, throwing the puck into domingo, and the el cielo (heaven). Jump into el mundo (world) with both feet. Turn with a leap and then kick the puck back behind the baseline.

6. Always hop over the space where the puck lands. If your puck lands in the wrong
space on any toss or kick, you lose your turn. When it’s your turn again, start where your last turn ended. The player who gets through the entire pattern first wins the game.


Happy hopping!


~Eva, CLP-Allegheny

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