Art and Culture

Popular Traditional Games Kids No Longer Play

Children these days have so many things available to occupy themselves from boredom it seems that the days of hopscotch and tag are long gone. Rarely do you see children in a parking lot or out in a large garden chasing one another around until sundown. This article was first published in the spring 2018 edition of Casa de Campo Living Magazine-guide, in it we get nostalgic remembering the fun, old school imagination-based games in hopes of inspiring kids today to get back outside and chase each other around for some good old-fashioned fun! 

There are many traditional games that children of this generation do not know thanks to technology. Technology has its advantages when handled appropriately but in most cases, it has taken over the lives of our children it is important to have a healthy balance between technology and playtime. Most kids don’t know the joy of coming home, finishing up homework and going outside to spend time with friends. One of my best memories from growing up was playing with my cousins in the countryside. I grew up in Altos de Chavón in a time when there weren’t many kids living there and I didn’t have the opportunity to play outdoors very often, so going to my grandparents’ house in the countryside was heaven! I have always wanted my son to experience the same fun. Playing outside helps kids learn how to live and share with those around him. Now, every time we go to my families house, my son plays the same games with his cousins that I used to play with mine. Many of what we consider our traditional games are also played in various countries. Today, we will talk about three of the many games we used to play when we were kids!

Hopscotch

Called avioncito, placa or yun in the DR – is a backyard game played by children (and lighthearted grown-ups) all over the world. To begin, you must draw a hopscotch design on the ground. A very popular design is one that looks like an airplane. Nine squares are drawn with chalk and should be large enough to fit a foot and at the top you draw a large circle. These are then numbered from one to ten. The player must throw their chip, usually a flat stone, into the first square without touching the border. Then the player must hop over the square and through the board circling back to pick up their stone. You must always keep your feet inside the appropriate square(s); if you step on a line, hop on the wrong square, or step out of the square, you lose your turn. Once you finish, you pass the marker on to the next person. If you complete the course with your marker on square one (without losing your turn), then you must throw your marker into square two on the next turn. Your goal is to complete the course with the marker on each square. The first person to do this wins the game!

El pañuelo

To play this game, kids are split into two groups Both groups stand behind a line, face to face leaving a space between them. In each group, each kid is given a number. In the center of the field, equidistant from both teams, an independent player holds a handkerchief by its corner and then shouts a number at random. The player with that number from each group must run and try to snatch the handkerchief before their rival, and bring it to his group without being touched by the other player. If accomplished, the team scores a point; but if touched, the point goes to the other team. The first team to score ten points wins.

“Un, dos, tres, mariposita linda es”

This game is played with a group of children standing at a starting line. The person who is “It” stands at the other end, at the finish line, with their back to the group. They have to yell, “Un, dos, tres, mariposita linda es” and quickly turn around to face the group. When the person is facing away from the group, the players must run towards the finish line, but, as soon as the one who’s “It” finishes saying, “Un, dos, tres, mariposita linda es” and turns around the players must freeze. Any player caught moving must go back to the starting line. The game continues until someone reaches the finish line. That person wins becomes “It” in the next round.

  • Special thanks to the Chavón kids and parents for helping us with the pictures!
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